The Align Project

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​March 31, 2021

ERO Enterprise Launches Align Project and ERO Secure Evidence Locker

The ERO Enterprise is pleased to announce the Release 1 launch of the Align tool and the ERO Secure Evidence Locker (SEL) for MRO, NERC and Texas RE. The Align Project, formerly known as the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program (CMEP) Technology Project, is a culmination of strategic efforts that began in 2014 with the goal of improving and standardizing processes across the ERO Enterprise, enhancing the efficiency of ERO Enterprise operations and improving the effectiveness of executing statutory functions. 

Align moves all compliance monitoring and enforcement business processes to a common standardized platform, resulting in a consistent application of the ERO Enterprise CMEP and a more secure method of managing and storing CMEP evidence and data. The ERO SEL — a key component of the reimagined suite of CMEP work and data management tools — provides a secure, isolated environment to collect and protect compliance monitoring and enforcement evidence, significantly reducing risk of loss or exposure of evidence and harmonizing evidence collection processes.

“This is a giant step forward for consistency in our processes and security of the data we handle across the ERO Enterprise,” said Sonia Mendonca, NERC’s senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. “The Align project team — made up of staff from across the ERO Enterprise — has dedicated years to this project and spent the balance of 2020 developing and testing the ERO SEL and preparing training materials. I’m incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. Align will benefit all of industry and will enhance our CMEP efforts.”​

Release 1 includes self-reporting/self-logging, enforcement processing and mitigation functionality in Align, as well as the use of the ERO SEL to collect registered entity-provided evidence as part of the ERO Enterprise's CMEP activities. Subsequent releases will introduce new functionalities to the platform throughout 2021. This initial launch marks an important milestone for the project, and the team will continue Release 1 deployment across the ERO Enterprise between March 31 and May 24, 2021.

The ERO Enterprise shares a collective mission and vision to assure the reliability, resilience and security of the North American bulk power system. The launch of Align and the ERO SEL are the next step in the highly cooperative, mission-driven relationship that has been forged between NERC and the Regional Entities, eliminating unwieldy processes and improving efficiency and effectiveness.

“The Align Project is the most ambitious undertaking that NERC and the Regional Entities have ever collectively taken on. The project was initially developed to address the challenges registered entities faced in utilizing multiple platforms for reporting across the ERO. Developing and implementing Align took a significant amount of time and effort from stakeholders across the ERO Enterprise, but I am confident that the effort will pay dividends over the coming years through streamlined CMEP reporting. I'd like to thank the members of the Align project team for their dedication and hard work, it has been an honor to be part of such a tremendous group," said Jim Albright, chair of the Align Steering Committee and president and CEO of Texas RE.


Align and ERO Secure Evidence Locker Training Schedule 

Regional staff training dates are below. Dates for registered entity training will be announced separately by each region.

2021 Training Schedule Updated 3.jpg 

Submit questions related to the webinar to AskAlign@nerc.net


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 News and Communications

 Important Links

  
  
1-Align Registered Entity SEL Functional Requirements February 2021.pdf1-Align Registered Entity SEL Functional Requirements February 2021
1-Align-Program Business Case Updated April 2020.pdf1-Align-Program Business Case Updated April 2020
Align Governance Model 2020.pdfAlign Governance Model 2020
Align Project Change Agents.pdfAlign Project Change Agents
Align Technology Project Summary Sheet.pdfAlign Technology Project Summary Sheet

 Benefits

Benefits
The objectives and benefits of the Align Project are:
  • Single, common portal for registered entities, enabling consistency of experience
  • Real-time access to information, eliminating delays and manual communications
  • Improved capability to support the Risk-Based Compliance Oversight Framework
  • Enhanced quality assurance and oversight, enabling consistent application of the CMEP
  • Improved analytics, including visibility into compliance and reliability risks
  • Increased capability to implement audit best practices and processes (planning, fieldwork, reporting, quality assurance)
  • Standardization and implementation of common business processes and workflows, enabling increased productivity (estimated 15 percent gain for ERO Enterprise CMEP staff)