Public Power Applauds New Federal Guidelines to Help Electric Utilities Strengthen Cybersecurity

April 28, 2014

Press Release

Washington, D.C., April 28, 2014 – The American Public Power Association (Public Power) welcomes the new guidance released by the U.S. Department of Energy to help reduce cyber risk to the nation’s energy delivery system. The guidance has been developed by a public-private partnership of energy infrastructure cybersecurity subject matter experts.

Public power utilities are well aware of the importance of proper protections and have been focused on cyber and physical security, assessing and addressing potential safety risks. “We’ve been upping our game since 2001, before we had any guidance or standards. The new guidelines from the Department of Energy will be helpful in advancing the security precautions of public power utilities,” said Sue Kelly, president and CEO of Public Power. “There are more than 2,000 public power utilities serving 48 million Americans and we know that grid security is paramount,” she added.

“The Energy Department is committed to building a stronger and more secure electric grid through partnerships with industry, state and local governments and other federal agencies,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “As we deploy advanced technologies to make the U.S. power grid more reliable and resilient, we must simultaneously advance cybersecurity protections. The cybersecurity guidance released today will help industry further strengthen these technologies and protect our critical energy infrastructure.”

Cybersecurity Procurement Language for Energy Delivery Systems guides the energy sector in defining cybersecurity requirements for suppliers to follow when providing new energy delivery technologies. The guidance focuses on the procurement of energy delivery systems to ensure that organizations purchasing and supplying such technologies make cybersecurity an integral requirement throughout the testing, manufacturing, delivery, installation and support phases of the product life cycle. This approach will help reduce cyber risks and improve the reliability of the energy delivery system.

“This guideline will help utility managers leverage the procurement experience of other utilities on the leading edge of grid technology," said Nathan Mitchell, director of electric reliability standards and compliance at Public Power. “Building a foundation of cybersecurity in collaboration with vendors will help reduce the risk of successful cyber attacks on next generation systems,” he added.

The North American electric grid is a complex machine with many interconnected parts, including thousands of transmission lines, generating stations and distribution facilities. Public power utilities are poised to initiate nimble responses as technologies and threats evolve.

Public Power is committed to enhancing cooperation and information sharing between industry and the federal government to protect the grid. The association works with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and numerous federal agencies to improve the reliability and resilience of the electricity sector by reducing cyber and physical security risks to the grid.

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