FERC sets conferences on critical infrastructure, system reliability

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued an agenda and discussion topics for a technical conference April 29 on Critical Infrastructure Protection issues.

Additionally, the commission has scheduled a technical conference June 10 on reliability of the bulk power system.

FERC issued final rules in November updating Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards by expanding cyber security standards for the bulk electricity system, including hydroelectric projects. The rules are the result of a rulemaking proceeding (RM13-5) incorporating a proposal submitted to the commission in 2013 by the North American Electric Reliability Corp., constituting Version 5 of the CIP Reliability Standards.

The CIP Version 5 standards address cyber security of the bulk electric system, adopting new cyber security controls. The standards identify and categorize cyber systems based on whether they have low, medium, or high impact on reliable operation of the bulk electric system. The new rules may be obtained from FERC's Internet site under http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2013/112113/E-2.pdf.

FERC now has issued topics and questions to be discussed at the April 29 conference, convening at 10 a.m. in FERC headquarters in Washingon. Panels are to discuss adequacy of the CIP Version 5 standards, need for additional definitions or controls, and National Institute of Standards and Technology frameworks for security risk management and cyber security.

The agenda and topics may be obtained from FERC's website under http://www.ferc.gov/CalendarFiles/20140417152145-RM13-5-000Tech%20Conf.pdf. Those planning to attend are encouraged to pre-register at https://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/registration/04-29-14-form.asp.

June conference to address bulk power system reliability

FERC also announced a technical conference June 10 at FERC headquarters on reliability of the bulk power system.

The commission issued an order March 7 directing the North American Reliability Corp. to develop reliability standards requiring owners and operators of the bulk power system to address risks due to physical security threats and vulnerabilities. The order, No. RD14-6, requires physical security for the facilities most critical to reliable operation of the bulk power system. It held a similar conference on system reliability in 2013.

On April 9, the Energy Department's Office of Inspector General ordered FERC to take immediate steps to protect national security information pertaining to the bulk power system, which in some cases includes hydroelectric facilities. Citing lapses in FERC's control of sensitive power system information, DOE Inspector General Gregory Friedman issued a management alert recommending immediate steps by FERC Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur.

FERC said the June 10 conference will be to discuss policy issues related to reliability of the bulk power system. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register at the FERC Internet site under https://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/registration/06-20-14-form.asp.

For information on either conference, contact Sarah McKinley, Office of External Affairs, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First St., N.E., Washington, DC 20426; (1) 202-502-8368; E-mail: sarah.mckinley@ferc.gov.

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