2014 was an active year for TAPS, including the following:


TAPS remains an active member of the electric sector cybersecurity coalition, which unites the North American electric sector under one banner and speaks with one voice to Congress and the Administration on issues affecting cybersecurity in particular, and grid security, generally.

In the 113th Congress, TAPS and other electric sector cyber coalition members again endorsed the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act” (H.R. 624) as a significant step forward in creating a culture of information-sharing and partnership between the federal government and the 16 critical infrastructure sectors.  The bill would authorize the government to provide timely, relevant information about cyber threats to non-federal owners and operators of critical infrastructure and create a process for providing security clearances for those owners and operators.  The House passed H.R. 624 in April, 2013, with a strong bipartisan vote.

A similar effort, S. 2588, the “Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014” sponsored by then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) was approved by the Committee on July 10, 2014 and placed on the Senate calendar.  However, the bill was opposed by privacy advocates, who objected primarily to the role the federal government would play in the information-sharing agreement, and it was never taken to the Senate floor for a vote.

S. 1353, the “Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014,” sponsored by then-Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) and endorsed by the electric sector cyber coalition, was signed into law and became Public Law No. 113-274 on Dec. 18, 2014.  The bill was designed to promote the partnership between the federal government and industry to develop voluntary cybersecurity “best practices.”  It was also intended to complement the on-going work being done in the electric sector and nuclear industry, without conflicting with or duplicating existing regulatory structures and related processes.

TAPS also participated in the deliberations over a revised charter for the Electric Sector Coordinating Council, the industry group that interfaces with the Department of Energy―the electric sector’s Sector Specific Agency―on policy matters relating to cybersecurity and related electric reliability matters.

In 2014, TAPS continued to engage in efforts to educate Members of Congress and staff about concerns with so-called “organized” electric markets, particularly limitations on the ability of utilities to self supply in mandatory capacity markets and the rationale for expanding mandatory capacity markets from the eastern markets to other parts of the country. TAPS’ overriding concern is that the markets are not functioning to provide value to end-use consumers.

TAPS also continued  discussions with members and staff on the issue of cost allocation to better understand legislative threats to the current legal authority of the FERC and states.  TAPS has generally aligned itself with the 2009 7th Circuit Court Illinois Commerce decision that grants FERC considerable flexibility to support a finding that benefits are “roughly commensurate” with anticipated benefits, with the important caveat that “FERC is not authorized to approve a pricing scheme that requires a group of utilities to pay for facilities from which its members derive no benefits, or benefits that are trivial in relation to the costs sought to be shifted to its members.”

Although no significant tax reform legislation advanced in 2014, TAPS continues to participate in a public-power wide working group led by the American Public Power Association to develop and implement a strategy to protect the tax exempt status of interest on municipal bonds used to finance generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure.  Tax-exempt financing is fundamental to the public power business model and to the ability of state and local governments to develop and improve essential infrastructure, including transmission facilities.

The TAPS Legislative Committee met with staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and with individual House and Senate member offices to discuss TAPS positions on capacity markets, cost allocation, and municipal bonds several times in 2014.  TAPS consultants  remained in regular contact with Congress throughout the year and briefed the Legislative Committee on pending matters and activities on a monthly basis.


NERC’s transformation into the Electric Reliability Organization authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to establish and enforce mandatory reliability standards, subject to FERC review, has enhanced the importance of the NERC standards development process and related NAESB business practices.  TAPS has worked to ensure representation at both NERC and NAESB with Bill Gallagher mobilizing and coordinating TAPS efforts to monitor and participate in activities at both organizations to protect the interests of TDUs.  Bill Gallagher served as chair of the NERC Member Representatives Committee (MRC) in 2011 and continues to serve as a member, and co-chairs the ERO Business Plan and Budget Group.  He also serves on the NAESB Wholesale Electric Quadrant Executive Committee, the NAESB Board of Directors, and the NAESB Special Board Committee on Gas/Electric Interdependency.  Ray Phillips (AMEA) and Chris Norton (AMP) also serve on the NAESB Wholesale Electric Quadrant Executive Committee.  Additionally, TAPS Executive Director John Twitty is a member of the MRC and the Reliability Issues Steering Committee (RISC).  Carol Chinn (FMPA), former MRC chair, holds one of the state/muni MRC seats.  (During 2014, Ray Phillips (AMEA) held one of the Regional Entity seats on the MRC, but he was required to vote as their representative, not on behalf of TAPS member interests.)  TAPS members have a presence on most NERC standing committees and on significant drafting teams.

TAPS has also made its voice heard on reliability issues through submissions to FERC in NERC and NAESB-related proceedings, as well as submission of comments to NERC.  TAPS attempts to maximize its impact by filing separate TAPS comments that reflect the distinct viewpoint of TAPS members, both as users highly dependent on the bulk electric system (BES) facilities owned by others and as entities subject to NERC’s mandatory reliability standards for our own BES facilities, or where appropriate, submitting joint comments with all or portions of the rest of the industry to emphasize the widespread support for a position.  Insiders have told us that seeing TAPS and EEI on the same submission to FERC sends a strong message.  While a number of these efforts are still playing out, there is no doubt that in 2014 TAPS played an important role in the ever-evolving relationship between FERC and NERC.

TAPS 2014 NERC and NAESB-related activities include:

  • Compliance Enforcement Initiative (RC11-6, RM13-8, RR15-2)
    • June 10, 2014 Carol Chinn speaks at FERC’s annual reliability technical conference, emphasizing the need for progress on cost-benefit analysis, completing P81, Risk-Based Registration, and details on RAI implementation.
    • September 18, 2014 FERC issues order approving continued expansion of FFT.
    • Bill Gallagher, Carol Chinn and Frank Gaffney (FMPA), and Cindy Bogorad appointed to RAI Advisory Group (first meeting September 22, 2014).
    • December 3, 2014, TAPS, with APPA, ELCON, LPPC, and NRECA, file comments with FERC supporting NERC’s November 3, 2014 RAI filing, but raising transparency issues.
  • Bulk Electric System (RM09-18, RM12-6, RM12-7, RD14-2)
    • January 17, 2014 TAPS intervenes and comments to FERC in support of prompt approval of BES Phase 2, as filed by NERC.
    • March 20, 2014 FERC approves BES Phase 2.
    • July 1, 2014 revised BES definition and procedures become effective.
  • Small Entity Initiative/Risk-Based Registration
    • January 15, 2014 TAPS proposes questions to Gerry Cauley for inclusion in NERC Risk-Based Registration questionnaire.
    • TAPS develops response submitted to NERC Risk-Based Registration questionnaire on February 28, 2014.
    • Bill Gallagher and Cindy Bogorad participate as members of the Risk-Based Registration Advisory Group, launched in early March, 2014; Frank Gaffney and Carol Chinn participate as members of the Risk-Based Registration technical Task Force.
    • March 18, 2014 TAPS, with APPA and NRECA, submits comments to NERC staff on draft outline of RBR white paper.
    • April 5, 2014 TAPS, with APPA and NRECA, at NERC’s request, develops strawman proposals regarding treatment of DP/LSEs, GO/GOPs, and TO/TOPs.
    • June 23, 2014 TAPS comments to NERC on first posting of RBR draft documents.
    • October 10, 2014 TAPS, with APPA, comments on the August 26, 2014 Posting of Draft Risk-Based Registration Documents.
    • October 27-28, 2014, Carol Chinn (FMPA), Joe DePoorter (MG&E), Dan Ebert (WPPI), Chris Norton (AMP), and Scott Tomashefsky (NCPA), with John Twitty, meet with FERC Commissioners and Reliability Staff on RBR and other issues.
    • Prepared joint comments on behalf of TAPS, as well as APPA and NRECA, supporting NERC’s December 11, 2014 filing of RBR Phase 1.  (The comments were filed on January 12, 2015 by APPA, NRECA, and TAPS.)
  • Physical Security (RM14-15)
    • NOPR issued July 17, 2014, regarding NERC’s compliance with FERC’s March 7, 2014 order.
    • TAPS files comments on September 8, 2014 (corrected on September 18).
    • FERC’s November 20, 2014 final rule addresses the key concern raised by TAPS.
  • State/Municipal and TDU Sector Policy Input to NERC Board of Trustees
    • The NERC MRC members from the State/Municipal and TDU Sectors (jointly, SM-TDUs) submit joint policy input to the Board of Trustees (BOT) in response to the Board’s quarterly request for such input.  APPA coordinates with TAPS and LPPC to develop this input, and APPA, TAPS, and LPPC typically submit a joint letter supporting the resulting input.
      • January 29, 2014 SM-TDUs provide policy input to the NERC BOT regarding RAI, COM-002-4, the 2014-2017 ERO Enterprise Strategic Plan and Performance Metrics and the 2015 Business Plan and Budget Schedule, the CIP v.5 Order 791 Response Plan, and RBR.
      • April 29, 2014 SM-TDUs provide policy input to the NERC BOT regarding physical and cybersecurity, RSAWs, RBR, and Potential Alternative Funding Mechanisms to Support Expanded Cyber Security Information Sharing and Associated Capabilities.
      • August 6, 2014 SM-TDUs provide policy input to the NERC BOT regarding RAI, RBR, CIP transition issues, Cybersecurity Risk Information Sharing Program, as well as the need for NERC undertake one or more special reliability assessments of potential resource adequacy and operational impacts on the bulk power system of EPA’s Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule.
      • November 5, 2014 SM-TDUs provide policy input to the NERC BOT regarding RAI, RBR, CIP v5 transition, and 2015-2018 ERO Strategic Plan and 2015 Corporate metrics, as well as NERC’s role in assessing reliability risks and uncertainties associated with EPA’s proposed rule prior to its adoption.

FERC (Non-Reliability Initiatives)

  • Transmission Planning Processes Under Order 890 (AD09-8)/Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities (RM10-23)
    • TAPS was an intervenor in the multi-party, multi-issue Order 1000 appeal process before the D.C. Circuit, which resulted in the August 15, 2014 D.C. Circuit decision affirming Order 1000 in all respects.
  • Centralized Capacity Markets (AD13-7)
    • TAPS attends and reports on September 25, 2013 technical conference.
    • January 8, 2014 TAPS submits follow-up comments.
    • February 10, 2014 TAPS joins APPA and 28 other signatories (publicly and cooperatively owned utilities, national consumer and low-income organizations, state public utility commissions, state consumer advocates and others) in letter showing broad agreement on key principles regarding capacity market.
  • Price Formation in RTO Energy and Ancillary Services Markets (AD14-14)
    • TAPS monitors and reports on the three FERC Staff workshops on September 8, 2014 (uplift), October 28, 2014 (scarcity and shortage pricing and offer price mitigation), and December 9, 2014 (operator actions).
    • Pat Connors (WPPI) speaks for TAPS at the October 28 workshop, expressing concerns regarding proposals to raise the $1000/MWh offer caps.
  • Refinements to Policies and Procedures for Market-Based Rates (RM14-14)
    • September 23, 2014 TAPS files short comments adopting APPA comments and highlighting key points, opposing in particular the proposed abandonment of MBR screen submissions for RTO areas.
  • Open Access and Priority Rights on Interconnection Customer’s Interconnection Facilities (RM14-11)
    • July 29, 2014 TAPS (joined by APPA) files comments opposing NOPR.
  • Third-Party Provision of Ancillary Services; Accounting and Financial Reporting for New Electric Storage Technologies (RM11-24/AD10-13/AD14-7) 
    • February 20, 2014 FERC issues order on rehearing and clarification of its July 18, 2013 order relaxing restrictions on market-based rate sales of certain ancillary services to TPs for OATT obligations and improving reporting of storage facilities and noticing a April 22, 2014 Technical Conference (Docket No. AD14-7) concerning barriers to creating a robust market in Schedule 2 (Reactive Supply and Voltage Control) and Schedule 3 (Regulation and Frequency Response).
    • TAPS monitors and reports on the April 22, 2014 conference.