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Smart Grid Operators: Upgrades Not Equaling Better Security

Site: Energy.gov

Through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, organizations received $2.5 billion to upgrade the nation’s electric systems, NextGov reports.

However, a recent survey of 104 energy security practitioners indicated that many believe the smart grid modernization did not translate to improved security.

The Energy Department-funded group EnergySec, along with nCircle, found 67 percent of respondents believed smart grid projects did not adequately address security.

EnergySec CEO Patrick Miller suggested this figure is not because vendors are approaching security in the incorrect way but instead a difference in perception.

Miller said despite the flood of government funding, it remains difficult to keep pace with security when smart grid suppliers are innovating so quickly.

Energy spokeswoman Keri Fulton said DOE is working to effectively protect taxpayer funds as well as to ensure projects are effectively modernizing the nation’s electric grid, according to the report.

Fulton highlighted proposed legislation from the White House that would establish a rulebook that would clarify how government and energy operators can engage and share cyber information more effectively.

Sixty percent of survey respondents actually indicated they did not believe the government should regulate infrastructure operators, the report said.

A federal one-size-fits-all approach would slow down progress but a federal- or state-regulated system has pros and cons for both, Miller said in the survey report.

While privacy invasions, energy theft and terrorist-induced power outages are among concerns with the systems, Miller said one of the biggest challenges is delegating regulatory oversight.

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