FERC Opens Office of Energy Infrastructure Security
A smart grid is a safe grid. On September 20, 2012, FERC announced the opening of the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security. OEIS is designed to provide leadership, expertise and assistance to the Commission in identifying, communicating and seeking comprehensive solutions to significant potential cyber and physical security risks to the energy infrastructure under the Commission’s jurisdiction. OEIS will focus on four areas:
- Develop recommendations for identifying, communicating and mitigating potential cyber and physical security threats to energy infrastructure under FERC’s jurisdiction while using existing statutory authorities
- Offer assistance, expertise and advice to other federal and state agencies, jurisdictional utilities, and Congress for identifying, communicating and mitigating cyber and physical security threats to energy infrastructure under FERC’s jurisdiction
- Participate in interagency and intelligence-related coordination and collaboration efforts with appropriate federal, state agencies and industry representatives on cyber and physical security matters related to energy infrastructure under FERC’s jurisdiction
- Conduct outreach with private sector owners, users and operators of the energy delivery systems, regarding identification, communication and mitigation of cyber and physical threats to energy infrastructure under FERC’s jurisdiction
OEIS is an outgrowth of the growing potential for cyber security attacks and physical security risks and is intended to enhance FERC’s ability to ensure the reliability of the bulk power system. It will be interesting to see how OEIS meshes with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”), the agency certified by FERC as the national electric reliability organization. According to its press release, FERC will continue to work closely with NERC throughout the reorganization.