Electric Reliability Update - October 22, 2015

October 22, 2015

FERC

FERC and NRC Hold Joint Meeting - October 21 - FERC held a joint meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to discuss the current state of the North American bulk-power system (BPS).  NERC presented on the state of reliability highlighting that, excluding weather, the BPS remains within the Adequate Level of Reliability objectives, and no load loss was due to cyber or physical security events.  FERC gave an overview of Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) proposing 7 revised CIP Reliability Standards.  The NRC presented on the current status and implementation of their cyber security requirements expecting to complete inspections by the end of the year.

FERC Issues Order Eliminating Load-Serving Entity Function - October 15 - FERC issued an order accepting a NERC compliance filing proposal to eliminate the load-serving entity (LSE) functional registration category.  NERC made the compliance filing in response to a March 19 order in which FERC accepted NERC’s proposed Risk-Based Registration (RBR) Initiative, but found that NERC had not adequately justified a proposal to eliminate the LSE function.  In the order approving the change, FERC directed NERC to perform a follow-up analysis assessing impacts of elimination of the LSE function on the next-day studies of transmission operators and balancing authorities, and to report the results to FERC in informational filing within 15 months.

FERC Approves Amendments to TRE Bylaws - October 5 – FERC issued an order approving a NERC petition requesting approval of revisions to the bylaws of Texas Reliability Entity, Inc. (TRE).  The bylaw amendments reflect the elimination of the purchasing-selling entity function and the potential elimination of the load-serving entity function from the NERC functional model, but make clear that these types of stakeholders may continue to participate as members of TRE’s load-serving and marketing sector.

NERC

NERC Issues Statement on FERC Open Meeting Action - October 15 - NERC published a statement on FERC’s Open Meeting Actions highlighting FERC’s order on NERC’s July 17 compliance filing and praising FERC’s support of NERC’s Risk-Based Registration Initiative.  In the statement, NERC president and CEO Gerry Cauley commended outgoing FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller for his service and dedication to reliability issues.

NERC Grid Security Conference Highlights Cyber and Physical Security - October 14 - NERC hosted its annual Grid Security Conference in Philadelphia bringing together over 300 industry and federal partners to discuss key cyber and physical security issues relating to the North American bulk power system.  NERC’s president, Gerry Cauley, delivered the keynote speech highlighting the improvement of information-sharing practices between government and industry.  Conference presentations will be posted on NERC’s GridSecCon webpage.

Cybersecurity and Grid Security

Department of Energy Awards $34 Million for Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection - October 9 - The Department of Energy (DOE) announced the award of more than $34 million to develop new technologies that will help protect U.S. electric grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure energy infrastructure from cyber threats.  DOE awarded $12.2 million to the University of Arkansas and $22.5 million to the University of Illinois Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium.

Congress

House Subcommittees on Energy and Research and Technology Hold Joint Cybersecurity Hearing - October 21 - The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittees on Energy and Research and Technology held a joint hearing entitled “Cybersecurity for Power Systems.”  The hearing focused on the efforts of federal agencies, industry, and the Department of Energy to mitigate cybersecurity threats to the U.S. power supply, and witnesses discussed operating techniques and technology used to prevent electric sector vulnerability to cyber-attacks.

DHS Cybersecurity Strategy Act of 2015 Passes House - October 5 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity Strategy Act of 2015 (H.R. 3510) by voice vote.  The bill, which has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, would require DHS to develop a cybersecurity strategy that includes strategic and operations goals and priorities to execute DHS’s cybersecurity responsibilities and information on the cybersecurity functions of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

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The Van Ness Feldman Electric Reliability Update is published by Andrew ArtMalcolm McLellan with assistance from Ilan GutherzVan SmithGabe Tabak, Tyler Elliott, and Michael Weiner.  Van Ness Feldmancounsels, advises and trains a wide range of clients on reliability matters.  Please email us or call us at 202.298.1817 or 206.829.1814 for additional information.  Click here to sign up for the Reliability Update.  

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