Washington Regulators Emphasize Customer Protection in New Advanced Meter Rules

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission on Aug 4 approved new rules for advanced meter infrastructure, following a two-year rulemaking process. The regulations require investor-owned utilities employing residential smart meters to focus on customer data privacy and service continuity. Customers are allowed to opt-out of smart meters. Smart meters are critical to grid modernization as...

Trump Signs Order to Protect U.S. Power System From Foreign Attacks

U.S. President Donald Trump on May 1 issued an executive order prohibiting the acquisition or installation of bulk-power system equipment in which a foreign country has an interest if the transaction raises national security concerns. The move aims to protect the system from foreign adversaries that are increasingly creating and exploiting the vulnerabilities of the...

Virginia Commission Denies Dominion’s $750 Million Smart Meter Proposal Over Cost Concerns

The Virginia State Corporation Commission on March 26 rejected portions of Dominion Energy Inc.’s grid transformation plan including a $752 million proposal to deploy smart meters over the next decade. The agency found that Dominion failed to justify its smart meter proposal with a well-crafted plan including rate design that would maximize the potential for...

U.S. Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Advance Innovative Energy Technologies

Senators Lisa Murkowski, a Republican representing Alaska, and Joe Manchin, a Democrat representing West Virginia, unveiled a bipartisan legislative package on Feb. 27 that compiles more than 50 energy-related measures reported by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year. The comprehensive bill supports innovative energy technologies covering a range of topics including energy efficiency,…

New Pathfinder Initiative Aims to Protect U.S. Energy Infrastructure From Cyber Threats

The U.S. Energy Department has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense on a new Energy Sector Pathfinder initiative to strengthen intergovernmental cooperation in proactively addressing cyber threats to critical energy infrastructure, according to a Feb. 3 news release. The initiative aims to advance information sharing, enhance training and education regarding…

FERC Approves Transmission Planning, Cybersecurity Standards to Strengthen Grid Reliability

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved two reliability standards developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to enhance transmission planning and cybersecurity, according to a Jan. 23 news release. The commission also accepted NERC’s performance assessment, endorsing the continued work of the corporation, now in its 13th year as the Electric Reliability Organization. In…

New York Regulator Issues New Cybersecurity and Privacy Protocols to Protect Customer Data

The New York State Public Service Commission adopted new cybersecurity and data privacy requirements for third-party energy suppliers and companies that electronically receive and exchange utility housed customer data, according to an Oct. 17 press release. The commission’s decision is directed at the state’s utilities and third-party energy suppliers with standards that ensure customer data remains…

Michigan Regulators Propose Overhaul of Natural Gas Standards Including Cybersecurity Rules

The Michigan Public Service Commission is proposing to amend rules governing the technical standards for gas service for utilities under the Commission’s jurisdiction, including cybersecurity measures, according to an Oct. 17 press release. The proposed rules reflect new technologies in the area of metering, equipment inspections and tests as well as removing references to obsolete…

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to Step Down This Year Amid Ukraine Scandal

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced his resignation on Oct. 17 amid a Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s actions to pressure the Ukraine government to investigate his political opponent Joe Biden. The Energy Department wrote to House Committees that it would not comply with a subpoena demanding Ukraine-related documents, arguing that the House…

FERC Cybersecurity Report Provides Recommendations to Improve Compliance With Reliability Standards

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a report on Oct. 4 finding that most of the cyber security protection processes and procedures adopted by registered entities of the bulk power system met the mandatory requirements of the Critical Infrastructure Protection, or CIP, Reliability Standards during fiscal year 2019. The report, based on audits of registered…

Watchdog Protests FERC Settlement Failing to Disclose Identity of Utilities Said to Violate Market Rules

Public Citizen Inc issued a protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requesting it release the name of utilities that violated reliability standards, according to June 24 filing with the federal regulator. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which is responsible for enforcing the nation’s cybersecurity and reliability standards for the electric utility industry, issued a…

Trump Signs Executive Order to Protect Nation’s Infrastructure from Electromagnetic Pulses

President Trump issued an executive order on March 26 directing federal agencies to assess and plan against the risks of an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, implementing the core recommendations of the decommissioned Congressional EMP Commission on an accelerated basis. An electromagnetic pulse is a high-intensity surge of energy that can disrupt or destroy sensitive electronics and electrical infrastructure…