On September 15, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order approving the Personnel Performance, Training and Qualification Reliability Standard PER-003-1 – Operating Personnel Credentials. The purpose of PER-003-1 is to ensure that system operators have demonstrated a minimum competency in the areas pertinent to their role. To that end, PER-003-1 requires that system operators who perform the reliability-related tasks of a Reliability Coordinator, Balancing Authority, or Transmission Operator be certified through the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) System Operator Certification Program prior to performing real-time operations. Alternatively, any non-NERC certified personnel performing a reliability-related operation task must be under the direct supervision of a NERC Certified System Operator stationed at that operating position. The cost of violations of PER-003-1 is set at NERC’s maximum base penalty level. A more detailed summary of FERC’s order is attached here.