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Regulatory Updates

NERC Releases Facilities Ratings Best Practices Report

Jim Whitaker, PE | December 19, 2022

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) recently published a report on best practices for utilities based on its compliance monitoring, enforcement, and mitigation activities, including direct input from utilities that have encountered facility ratings program challenges. Because facility ratings play a significant role in the reliable planning and operation of the bulk power system, NERC is emphasizing that this area of responsibility requires effective and efficient management to reduce system reliability risks. Facility ratings and system limitations also play a key role in modeling the power system for the purposes of operations and planning activity. Facility ratings is a topic which cuts across numerous NERC standards, including the system modeling standards and the system planning standards.

“To ensure a reliable and secure grid, it is vital that your company has a strong, effective, and sustainable facility ratings program — incorrect facility ratings can result in service equipment damage, long lead time to replace equipment, outages, and fires.” – Jim Whitaker

FAC-008 Governs Facility Rating Compliance

Maintaining reliability across the bulk power system is a complex, multi-pronged effort that is supported in utility companies by numerous internal groups and departments.

Facility ratings are often an area with elevated levels of non-compliance outcomes. NERC’s report noted that companies that are successful in establishing sustainable facility ratings programs have a positive and self-correcting cultural environment to ensure that involved personnel and departments are aware that they are essential to assuring overall reliability.

Facilities Rating Challenges

To support the utility industry, NERC identified four things in its report that pose challenges to utilities in the facilities rating programs:

  • Lack of awareness
  • Inadequate asset and data management
  • Inadequate change management
  • Inconsistent development and application of facility ratings methodologies

There are several best practices that help utilities implement facility ratings process improvements. NERC notes that the key attributes of successful facilities ratings programs include:

  • Robust and documented change management process
  • Inventory management tools, with required training
  • Checklists for new facilities or components to be added
  • Effective data capture processes
  • Single database for master record keeping
  • Access controls established for facility management tools
  • Built in quality assurance reviews, in concert with internal controls
  • Periodic in-field validation/field walk-downs
  • Identified facility ratings program owner
  • Management oversight

Next Steps

TRC clients are encouraged to review the NERC Facility Ratings Best Practices Report and examine the current programs in light of the findings and recommendations. TRC’s experts are available to implement an independent to review of your company’s Facilities Ratings management programs and compliance processes.


NERC Facility Ratings Best Practices Report

TRC Regulatory Update on NERC FAC-008 Guidance

TRC Compliance Services

Your Trusted Regulatory Advisor:

TRC closely follows the national and state regulatory trends in all regions of North America. Our approach to power system engineering, planning, design,  construction and commissioning testing, balances solutions that incorporate industry reliability risk trends, mandatory reliability standard requirements, regulatory guidance, compliance obligations, best practices, operational goals, and budgets. With expertise in  power system engineering, planning and operations, TRC supports public utilities and private energy providers in their efforts to stay ahead of the curve and to meet or exceed regulatory requirements as they evolve.

This regulatory update is provided as a service to TRC’s utility clients, helping to keep you informed of forward-looking issues that will impact your company’s electric system reliability risks along with related topics regarding regulatory developments to help you achieve your company’s business goals.

Jim Whitaker, PE

Jim Whitaker, PE is Supervisor of Power Systems Studies at TRC. He has over 30 years of experience in Transmission and Distribution Planning, and Substation, Transmission and Distribution Engineering. His Transmission Planning projects include coordinating joint/regional 10-year transmission plans, generator interconnections, regional system assessments, as well as NERC compliance studies. His projects have included studies for both Utilities and Project Developers across the United States in the Eastern and Western Interconnection transmission systems as well as ERCOT. Prior to joining TRC, Jim worked for Xcel Energy, Peak Power Engineering, Tucson Electric Power and Virginia Power. Contact Jim at

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