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…

U.S. Energy Department Engages Private Sector in Cyber-Attack Exercises to Strengthen Energy Sector Preparedness

The U.S. Energy Department is conducting exercises with the private sector to enhance the energy industry’s ability to withstand cyber attacks in keeping with the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month dedicated to protecting critical infrastructure, according to an Oct. 26 press release. The agency’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, launched in February, engaged…

FERC Approves Rules to Mitigate Cyber Threats Related to Supply Chain for Grid Systems

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 18 approved reliability standards to address supply chain risks in industrial control system hardware, software, and computing and networking services. The rule, developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation builds on existing critical infrastructure protection standards to allay cyber security risks associated with the supply chain for…

Trump Nominates McNamee to FERC as Agency Examines Crucial Issues of Pipeline Policy, Resiliency

President Donald Trump nominated Bernard L. McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the term ending June 30, 2020, to fill the vacancy resulting from Commissioner Robert Powelson’s resignation in August, according to an Oct. 9 release from the agency. McNamee currently serves as the Executive Director of the U.S. Energy Department’s Office of…

U.S. Energy Department Awards $28 Million to Enhance Energy Infrastructure Cybersecurity

The U.S. Energy Department announced the funding to support research partnerships that will facilitate next-generation technologies to advance cybersecurity and resilience of the electric grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure, according to an Oct. 1 press release. The projects will take innovative approaches such as redesigning existing architecture that makes the grid vulnerable to…