Industries Electric Reliability
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Energy Policy Act) gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) authority to oversee the reliability of the bulk power system, commonly referred to as the bulk electric system or the power grid. This includes authority to approve mandatory cybersecurity reliability standards.
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which FERC has certified as the nation’s Electric Reliability Organization, developed Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) cyber security reliability standards. On January 18, 2008, the Commission issued Order No. 706, the Final Rule approving the CIP reliability standards, while concurrently directing NERC to develop significant modifications addressing specific concerns.
Additionally, the electric industry is incorporating information technology (IT) systems into its operations – commonly referred to as smart grid – as part of nationwide efforts to improve reliability and efficiency. There is concern that if these efforts are not implemented securely, the electric grid could become more vulnerable to attacks and loss of service. To address this concern, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) gave FERC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) responsibilities related to coordinating the development and adoption of smart grid guidelines and standards.