The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued a final rule revising the definition of the bulk electric system. The revisions, proposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), should provide greater transparency and uniformity in defining the bulk electric system.

Key revisions to the current definition remove language allowing for broad discretion across the reliability regions and establish a “bright-line” threshold that includes all facilities operated at or above 100 kV.

The final rule also establishes a process for seeking a Commission ruling on whether facilities otherwise included in the bulk power system are used in local distribution as set forth in the Federal Power Act. The starting point for this case-by-case analysis will be Order No. 888’s seven-factor test for determining whether a facility is a local distribution or transmission facility; however, FERC will consider other factors based on the specific situation.

In other revisions, the final rule:

  • Identifies five facilities configurations that are included in the bulk electric system.
  • Identifies four facilities configurations that are not included in the bulk electric system.
  • Accepts North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s proposed exception process rules to add or remove system elements from the definition on a case-by-case basis.

The final rule takes effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.