Tuesday, March 27, 2018

NERC Standards for Bulk Power Physical Security: Is the Grid More Secure?

"A 2013 rifle attack on a critical electric power substation in Metcalf, CA, marked a turning point for the U.S. electric power sector. The attack prompted utilities across the country to reevaluate and restructure their physical security programs. It also set in motion proceedings in Congress and at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) which resulted in a new mandatory Physical Security Reliability Standard (CIP-014) for bulk power asset owners promulgated by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) in 2015. In the three years since FERC approved this new standard, security risks to the power grid have become an even greater concern in the electric utility industry. Reflecting these ongoing security concerns, legislative proposals in the 115th Congress include provisions directed at power grid physical security. Congress also continues its oversight of grid security and implementation of NERC’s security standards.

Three entities play key roles in standards oversight and support of implementation for bulk power physical security. NERC and FERC oversee implementation of the CIP-014 standards, while the Department of Energy plays a supporting role in helping bulk power asset owners to protect their critical infrastructure. The detailed findings of NERC’s compliance activities are not publicly disclosed due to their confidential nature. However, NERC has stated that the utility industry is making progress towards effective implementation of the CIP-014 standard and NERC has been “encouraged” by grid security measures put in place so far. NERC compliance audits as of February 2018 have uncovered no major failures to date..."
Electrical grid security

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