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Reps. Latta and McNerney Reach Across the Aisle to Introduce Grid Security Legislation

Washington, January 9, 2019 | Drew Griffin (202-225-6405)

To combat the increasing threat of cyberattacks and strengthen critical national infrastructure, Congressmen Bob Latta (R-OH) and Jerry McNerney (D-CA) introduced two bipartisan pieces of legislation to improve our nation’s grid security and resilience. H.R. 359, the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act, and H.R. 360, the Cyber Sense Act, aim to bolster America’s electric infrastructure by encouraging coordination between the Department of Energy (DOE) and electric utilities. 

H.R. 359 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. 

H.R. 360 would create a voluntary Department of Energy ‘Cyber Sense’ program that would identify and promote cyber-secure products for use in the bulk-power system. The bill also establishes a testing process for the products along with a reporting process of cybersecurity vulnerabilities. It would require the Secretary of Energy to keep a related database on the products. This would aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and their potential to cause harm to the electric grid.

“The need for a strong defense of our nation’s electric infrastructure has never been more clear,” said Congressman Latta. “As leaders of the Grid Innovation Caucus, Congressman McNerney and I have worked together to find the best ways we can increase the resiliency of our electric grid. Improving cooperation is key to ensuring the best information, products, and practices are being used to guard against cyberattacks, and these bills will foster a collaborative relationship between DOE and utilities that will help accomplish this goal.”

“The electric grid is the backbone of our economy and touches every aspect of our lives,” said Congressman McNerney. “Any vulnerable component or weakness is a threat to our physical and national security. It’s imperative that we invest in grid modernization and security, which is why Congressman Latta and I launched the Grid Innovation Caucus. These bills are the result of the work we have done to date, and will strengthen the electric utility system while building partnerships between DOE and industry. I thank Congressman Latta for his partnership and look forward to continuing to work to ensure a more secure and resilient grid.”

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.

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