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Bills proposed to enhance cybersecurity of US electrical grid [free access]

May 6, 2021

Lawmakers in the US Senate and House have introduced legislation designed to improve the nation's electrical grid in response to concerns that the country's power system is prone to cyberthreats. Largely, three Bills have been introduced pertaining to—the Cyber Sense Act; the Enhancing Grid Security Through Public-Private Partnerships Act and Protecting Resources on the Electric Grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act.

 

Both the Cyber Sense Act and the Enhancing Grid Security Through Public-Private Partnerships Act would direct the US Department of Energy (DoE) to work with private power utilities to improve cybersecurity across the nation’s grid.

 

Furthermore, a few US Senators on April 29, 2021 reintroduced the bill on the PROTECT Act, which enhances electric grid security by incentivising electric utilities to make cybersecurity investments. The Act also establishes a DoE grant and technical assistance programme to deploy advanced cybersecurity technology for utilities that are not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

 

In a related development, the Biden Administration had also recently kick-started a 100-day plan aimed at protecting the electric grid against cyber-attacks. The effort is being led by the DoE, in partnership with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the electricity sector.