U.S. FERC Proposes Revisions to Cybersecurity Incentives for Utilities

On September 22, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) regarding Incentives for Advanced Cybersecurity Investment, requesting comment on proposed revisions to regulations implementing the Federal Power Act (FPA). The revisions would provide incentive-based rate treatments for the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce and the sale of electric energy at wholesale in interstate commerce by utilities for certain voluntary cybersecurity investments. The NOPR was issued in response to a Congressional mandate set forth in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which directed FERC to establish cybersecurity incentives that would encourage investments by utilities in advanced cybersecurity technology and participation in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs. This NOPR replaces a prior cybersecurity incentives NOPR from December 2020.

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TSA Issues Directive to Enhance Pipeline Cybersecurity

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) issued a Security Directive, “Enhancing Pipeline Cybersecurity” on May 28, laying out new cybersecurity requirements for operators of liquids and natural gas pipelines and LNG facilities designated as critical infrastructure.

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Cybersecurity Regulations for the Energy Industry

The Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack shone a spotlight on the importance and potential vulnerabilities of U.S. critical energy infrastructure. Join our panel of energy industry and cybersecurity thought leaders for a discussion of the threats targeting the industry today, the state of the law when it comes to safeguarding against cyberattacks, and what to expect from Congress and the Administration as calls for increased regulation intensify.

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FERC Enhances Reporting Requirements for Cyber Attacks on Power Grid

On June 20, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) approved a North American Electric Reliability Corp. (“NERC”) petition to adopt Reliability Standard CIP-008-6 to strengthen the reporting requirements for attempts to compromise the operation of the United States’ bulk electric system.  The prior Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards only required reporting where an incident compromised or disrupted one or more reliability tasks.  The new standard applies to all registered entities subject to the CIP Reliability Standards.

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NERC $10,000,000 Fine of Public Utility Highlights the Need for Cybersecurity Preparedness and CIP Compliance Programs

On January 25, 2019, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) to approve a settlement issuing a record $10 million fine against an unidentified utility resulting from violations of critical infrastructure protection standards (“CIP”) occurring mostly between 2015 and 2018 (referred to hereafter as the “Settlement Agreement”).  Although none of the violations resulted in any reported outages, NERC concluded that the cumulative effect of the violations posed a serious risk to the reliability of the bulk U.S. power grid because “many of the violations involved long durations, multiple instances of noncompliance, and repeated failures to implement physical and cyber security protections.” Settlement Agreement at 12.

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