Last week, officials from the Energy Department, the White House and the Department of Homeland Security met with senior leaders from across the electric sector to launch an initiative to better protect the nation’s electric grid. Over a dozen electric utilities and grid operators are expected to participate in the pilot program to test the maturity model, assess its effectiveness and validate results. This public-private partnership and pilot program will help develop a risk management maturity model that is expected to be made available to the electric sector later this summer. Over the next several months, the Department will host a series of workshops with the private sector to draft the maturity model that can be used throughout the electric sector.

Recently, PJM CEO Terry Boston stated in his interview with us that security of the electric grid is a critical issue. As cyber threats to the nation’s electrical grid become increasingly sophisticated and dynamic, the Department of Energy is continuing to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security, other government agencies and industry to reduce the risk of energy disruptions due to cyber incidents. Last September, the Department released the Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity and a Draft Cybersecurity Risk Management Process Guideline that seeks to establish frameworks and processes to help the electricity sector manage cybersecurity risk. Those looking to stay current on smart grid security issues should check out the Smart Grid Security Blog. Its author, Andy Bochman, provides a nice overview of these issues and provides a quick way to stay up to date. Given the importance of energy to our nation’s economy, it is nice to see cybersecurity and the electric grid get more attention.