MAINE, USA — Avangrid, the parent company of Central Maine Power (CMP), has been fined $450,000 for failing to meet certain reliability standards set forth by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). NERC has now filed a Notice of Penalty because Avangrid has entered into a settlement agreement with the Northeast Power Coordinating Council.
CMP, New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG), and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E) have all been notified of the penalty. They are all subsidiaries of Avangrid Networks, Inc., a utility subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. that owns eight electricity, natural gas, or combination utilities in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New York. According to the NERC's report, Avangrid collectively serves over 2.2 million electricity customers.
“We take our obligation to provide a robust and reliable transmission system very seriously, which is why we self-reported these incidents. We have worked with our regulators to identify the root causes and have updated our processes and training to prevent future occurrences,” Central Maine Power told NEWS CENTER Maine.
CMP's violations occurred January 11, 2019, when a data entry error interrupted connectivity and resulted in the failure of CMP's Emergency Management System (EMS) capabilities. Although a system operator did immediately notice the failure and communicated it to both a supervisor and EMS technicians, the reliability coordinator was not notified. Notifying the reliability coordinator is required by reliability standards, and by the time CMP notified its reliability coordinator, which is ISO New England, the monitoring and assessment capabilities had returned.
Utilities must conduct real-time assessments every 30 minutes, but in CMP's case, 1 hour and 17 minutes passed before monitoring and assessment capabilities returned.
The violations involving NYSEG and RG&E were more drastic. In their cases, 9 hours and 20 minutes elapsed before a real-time assessment was performed in an incident that occurred on November 27, 2017.
The settlement must still be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
A Central Maine Power spokesperson told NEWS CENTER Maine that the company has fully cooperated with the investigators. A spokesperson said they self-reported violations and have fully accepted responsibility and made changes to ensure future compliance.
NEWS CENTER Maine has reached out to Avangrid and they were unable to immediately respond with a statement.