Latta Bills to Protect Electric Grid From Cyber Attacks Approved by E&C Committee
The Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee has approved a pair of bills introduced by Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) and Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA) to protect the nation’s electric grid from cyber attack. Latta authored H.R. 5239, the Cyber Sense Act, which would create a voluntary Department of Energy ‘Cyber Sense’ program that would test cyber-secure products and technologies for use in the bulk-power system. This would aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and the potential of harm to the electric grid.
The other bill, H.R. 5240, directs DOE to facilitate and encourage public-private partnerships in order to improve cybersecurity of electric utilities. The legislation would improve sharing of best practices and data collection, along with providing training and technical assistance to electric utilities in order to address and mitigate cybersecurity risks.
Recently, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation released a report detailing a Russian hacking campaign aimed at infiltrating America’s critical infrastructure.
“There is a reason that bad actors have targeted the U.S. electric grid to try to undermine our energy sector,” said Latta. “Our energy infrastructure keeps the lights on, allows us to communicate, and helps keep our economy functioning. For those reasons and more, we need to ensure that we are modernizing and updating our grid with cybersecurity in mind. These two bills will help provide utilities with better information regarding products, technologies, and best practices that would protect our critical infrastructure and improve resilience in the face of increasing cyber attacks.”
McNerney and Latta co-chair the Grid Innovation Caucus, which was founded to provide a forum for discussing solutions to the many challenges facing the grid, and to educate Members of Congress and staff about the importance of the electric grid with relation to the economy, energy security, and advanced technologies being utilized to enhance grid capabilities.