Due Diligence refers to an assessment or audit of risk of a potential investment and serves to confirm all material facts in regards to a sale. Likewise, Due Diligence also indicates the amount of care a reasonable person or entity should take before entering into an agreement or a transaction with another party. Until recently, the emphasis for any power acquisition was based primarily on the physical condition of the facilities and the financial payback of the investment which includes extensive risk assessment. One aspect of transaction risk that in many cases has not been identified is the due diligence associated with an analysis of NERC compliance and the potential penalties associated with non-compliance. Proven Compliance Solutions (PCS) places high emphasis on the need for buyers and/or sellers, along with bonding agencies to perform this same due diligence with respect to the status of an entity’s NERC compliance. Finding the right resource to perform NERC compliance due diligence services is essential and PCS is ready to show you why it is a NERC compliance services leader in the power utility industry.


As part of their “Asset Marketability Plan,” existing entities engage PCS to identify areas of non-compliance and to provide solutions and support in issue resolution, if any. When completed, PCS provides recommendations for improvement that will reflect a robust compliance program. This increases the marketability of the asset and is a key component to supporting a potential sale.


For Entities looking to expand their portfolio, often times in multiple regions or in regions that have are not part of their current portfolio, PCS represents their interests by determining the compliance status of the facility(s) under purview in the new region By compiling and analyzing the available documentation and supporting evidence, PCS can effectively and expertly opine on the current state of compliance while offering comment on the probable cost associated with achieving and sustaining auditable compliance.


Assurance that NERC Compliance risk is not transferred to the buyer, or is mitigated to a manageable level, is a component as defined by many Bonding Agencies and Financial Services Providers. Acquisitions involving high risk or high probability of violations can weigh negatively and carry costs.


PCS understands the value of high quality operational and engineering processes necessary to drive compliance. We apply a history of true compliance expertise to every aspect of the services we provide and draw upon decades of actual operating experience in delivering an accurate assessment of an entity’s state of compliance.

Contact us today to find out how PCS NERC compliance due diligence experts can become part of your strategic acquisition or sales planning effort.

Proven Compliance Solutions Inc. (PCS) has recently made donations to relief efforts on the east coast as a result of hurricane Sandy and encourages others to do the same.  PCS has many clients  that were affected by hurricane Sandy and our hearts go out to those that have lost family and friends or even their homes.   The east coast has had their share of storms the past couple of years and PCS wants to provide support for basic needs.  PCS has chosen the United Methodist Committee on Relief, part of the UMCOR global outreach ministry efforts and the Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Fund – Minnesota/Wisconsin division.  Our employees have ties to both these organizations. At PCS, we are a family and in times of need, our family  supports efforts where needs are the greatest.

PCS Consultants are committed to keeping up with the latest reliability compliance issues. Our consultants will be attending several upcoming events (listed below). Be sure to look us up and say hello. We’re excited to share how PCS can help you with your NERC Electric Reliability Compliance needs!

  • Ryan Carlson will be attending the December 12-13, 2012 NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee (CIPC) meetings in Atlanta, GA.
  • Francis Esselman and Dale Zahn will be attending the November 14-16, 2012 NPCC Compliance and Standards Workshop in Newport, RI.

As compliance programs continue to mature, the amount of data and the number of tasks required to sustain and maintain compliance can grow to become overwhelming. Different groups have responsibility for designated tasks, requirements dictate that evidence is generated, presented and preserved… so who’s keeping track of it all? And how often? How can you be sure that your internal controls are well-defined and producing desired results?  Let’s step back a bit and examine what we mean by internal controls and why they are fundamentally important to establish and monitor.

The concept of internal controls has been around for quite some time. In fact, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission, or COSO as it is known, was organized back in the 1980’s to study the factors that lead to fraudulent financial reporting. They have published frameworks and guidance documents in three key areas; enterprise risk management (ERM), internal control and fraud deterrence. The COSO framework has become widely accepted and is endorsed by Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS).

For more info on COSO and the latest projects underway, refer to their website at

Let’s take a look at the broad definition of internal controls and some other key elements foundational to the COSO Internal Control Integrated Framework.

“Internal controls are a process, effected by an entity’s board of directors, management, and other personnel, designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding achievement of objectives in the following categories: effectiveness and efficiency of operations, reliability of reporting, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations.”[i]

Additionally, the COSO Framework goes on to emphasize that internal control is:

  • A process consisting of ongoing tasks and activities
  • Effected by people, not just documentation and systems
  • Only able to provide reasonable assurance, not absolute assurance
  • Geared to the achievement of objectives in one or more categories
  • Adaptable to the business structure

Mapping internal controls to your ongoing compliance efforts can help provide your organization a clearer picture of your compliance program’s effectiveness and work for you to ensure your compliance goals are being met.

In future articles we will begin to explore the COSO model and its objectives, components and principles.

Please do on hesitate to Contact PCS if you or your organization would like to learn more about how to make internal controls work to enhance your NERC compliance program.

[i] COSO Internal Control – Integrated Framework – December 2011

PCS passes the two-year mark and continue their efforts as a premier consulting firm in the NERC Reliability Compliance arena. PCS has guided many entities through successful audits with “no findings” and assisted clients, having existing gaps in compliance, with their mitigation efforts offering a complete suite of services from mock audits to program development, including compliance management and strategies.

The Proven Compliance Solutions (PCS) team recently passed the two year mark as a company. Today they continue their efforts as a premier consulting firm in the NERC Reliability Compliance arena. The past two years have been exciting for this young company which is built on experienced industry leaders/now consultants. Whether assisting in preparation for an audit or assisting entities with compliance initiatives, PCS follows the latest industry developments. PCS remains step for step with the evolving TO/TOP registration requirements for GO/GOP entities, changes to the CIP standards Version 4 and pending Version 5, and the PER changes which are quickly approaching. PCS has increased both the awareness of, and has assisted with quality development and implementation of Internal Compliance Programs that address all the established criteria whether regional, NERC or FERC.

PCS provides expert compliance support to clients throughout all of North America. Basing its efforts on company registrations rather than organizational size, the team’s operations experience, expertise and the PCS approach to resolving compliance issues makes them the right choice and has their clients calling back time and time again. Company President Crystal Musselman said, “Thank you to all who have supported PCS these past two years. We strive to continue making a positive difference for entities choosing our support for any needs related to NERC Reliability Compliance.”

PCS has provided Subject Matter Expert Training and on-site support during several regional audits delivering both clarity and confidence throughout the audit. PCS has guided many entities through successful audits with “no findings” and assisted clients, having existing gaps in compliance, with their mitigation efforts. Said Vice President Francis Esselman, “PCS would be quite unhappy if an audit team provided an ‘unwanted surprise’ to our client’s staff, which is exactly why we do a true deep dive with regard to procedures and evidence."

Proven Compliance Solutions leads the industry for excellence in all aspects of NERC compliance support. Our clients and regional audit results provide the testimony! PCS is a recognized leader and one-stop-shop for any electric industry participant’s NERC Reliability needs. PCS offers a complete suite of services from mock audits to program development, including compliance management and strategies.

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