About the Standards process

ReliabilityFirst provides input during the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Reliability Standards development process to ensure that Reliability Standards adequately and thoughtfully mitigate the risks they are intended to address.  

ReliabilityFirst also maintains Regional Reliability Standards as needed to provide for the reliable regional and sub-regional planning and operation of the Bulk Power System. 

For any questions regarding ReliabilityFirst’s Standards activities, please visit our  Contact Us page and direct your question to the Standards group. 

Regional Standards

ReliabilityFirst Regional Standards provide for the reliable regional and sub-regional planning and operation of the Bulk Power System (BPS).  They go beyond, add detail to, or implement NERC Reliability Standards, or cover matters not addressed in NERC Reliability Standards. 

The ReliabilityFirst Regional Reliability Standards Development Process has the following characteristics: 

Fair process - The Standards Development Process shall provide for reasonable notice and opportunity for public comment. At a minimum, the procedure shall include public notice of the intent to develop a standard, a public comment period on the proposed standard, due consideration of those public comments, and a ballot of interested stakeholders. 

Openness - Participation is open to all Organizations who are directly and materially affected by the ReliabilityFirst region’s BPS reliability. There shall be no undue financial barriers to participation. Participation shall not be conditioned upon membership in the ReliabilityFirst region, and shall not be unreasonably restricted on the basis of technical qualifications or other such requirements. Meetings of Standards Drafting Teams are open to the ReliabilityFirst membership and to others. 

Balanced - The Standards Development Process strives to have an appropriate balance of interests and shall not be dominated by any two interest categories and no single interest category shall be able to defeat a matter. 

Inclusive - Any entity (person, organization, company, government agency, individual, etc.) with a direct and material interest in the BPS in the ReliabilityFirst area shall have a right to participate by: a) expressing a position and its basis, b) having that position considered, and c) having the right to appeal. 

Transparent - All actions material to the development of ReliabilityFirst Standards shall be transparent. All standards development meetings shall be open and publicly noticed on ReliabilityFirst’s website. 

Reliability Standards Developmental Procedure

Standard Type: Approved Standards (1)

Standard  RF BoD  NERC BoT  Regulatory   Mandatory   
BAL-502-RF-03   6/1/2017  8/10/2017  10/16/2017  1/1/2018   
SDP-501-RFC-04 12/1/2011  5/24/2012 10/24/2012

Standards archive

Regional Criteria

ReliabilityFirst Regional Criteria are board-approved good utility practice documents that are not Reliability Standards, and therefore are not enforceable and do not require NERC approval. Regional Criteria may include specific acceptable operating or planning parameters, guides, agreements, protocols or other documents to enhance the reliability of the regional Bulk Electric System.  

  • To date, all Regional Criteria consist of converted ReliabilityFirst board-approved standards with the compliance elements and enforceable language removed.  
  • ReliabilityFirst has received inquiries regarding auditing and the potential enforcement of Regional Criteria and fill-in-the-blank Reliability Standards that reference Regional Criteria.  ReliabilityFirst will not audit or enforce Regional Criteria separately or in connection with a fill-in-the-blank Reliability Standard. 

For any questions regarding ReliabilityFirst’s Regional Criteria, please visit our Contact Us page and direct your question to the Standards Committee. 


Registered Ballot Body

Entities may register in the ReliabilityFirst Ballot Body at any time during the Standards process. 

  • ReliabilityFirst will review all applications for joining the Ballot Body, and determine whether they qualify for any of the self-selection categories.  
  • To comment or vote, one must have an active membership in the Ballot Body. The contact designated as “Primary Voter” is the voting member, with the “Secondary Voter” as the backup. 
  • Registration for the Ballot Body is not the same as registration for the compliance registry. Registration in a Ballot Body goes beyond the compliance registry, in that entities smaller than those stated in the compliance registry guidelines are allowed to register in a Ballot Body. Entities must have evidence that they qualify for the Ballot Body category they register in. 

To join the Registered Ballot Body, please complete the ReliabilityFirst Ballot Body Registration Form (included on this page).  For any questions regarding the Registered Ballot Body, please visit our  Contact Us page and direct your question to the Standards Committee.