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Results Based Standards
Results based standards are standards that focus on required actions or results (the "what") and not necessarily the methods by which to accomplish those actions or results (the "how"). This concept was introduced to electric reliability standards in 2010, when it was included in the NERC Standard Processes Manual. Since that time, standard drafting teams have strived to draft standards with these concepts in mind.
 
The art of crafting an effective results based standard is in including the appropriate level of actions or requirements for which there should be accountability. The actions or results in a requirement should not be at too detailed of a level unless the detail is an action necessary for reliability and one for which there should be accountability. The actions or results should also not be at too high of a level; high level actions provide for accountability only when harm occurs and thus does not provide for prevention of harm occurring.
 
Additionally, each standard should employ a defense-in-depth strategy where each requirement in a NERC Reliability Standard has a role in prevention of harm. Defense-in-depth is created when there is an appropriate portfolio of performance-, risk-, and competency-based mandatory reliability requirements that complement and reinforce each other. Each requirement should identify a clear and measurable expected outcome, such as: a) a stated level of reliability performance, b) a reduction in a specified reliability risk (prevention), or c) a necessary competency, as described here:
 
a) Performance-Based—defines a particular reliability objective or outcome to be achieved. In its simplest form, a results-based requirement has four components: who, under what conditions (if any), shall perform what action, to achieve what particular result or outcome?
 
b) Risk-Based—preventive requirements to reduce the risks of failure to acceptable tolerance levels. A risk-based reliability requirement should be framed as: who, under what conditions (if any), shall perform what action, to achieve what particular result or outcome that reduces a stated risk to the reliability of the bulk power system?
 
c) Competency-Based—defines a minimum set of capabilities an entity needs to have to demonstrate it is able to perform its designated reliability functions. A competency-based reliability requirement should be framed as: who, under what conditions (if any), shall have what capability, to achieve what particular result or outcome to perform an action to achieve a result or outcome or to reduce a risk to the reliability of the bulk power system?
 
Results based standards is one filter that is applied across all standards development projects. For more information on standards development projects and other considerations, please refer to the current Reliability Standards Development Plan. For more information about results based standards, visit the Results-Based Standard Webinar that NERC held on October 20, 2010. If you have further questions, please contact sarcomm@nerc.com
 
 

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