APPA: electric utility industry is working to protect against cybersecurity threats
Recent cyberattacks on JBS and the Colonial Pipeline have highlighted vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid.
American Public Power Association President and CEO Joy Ditto says the electric utility industry is working hard to maintain a strong electric grid.
“The electric sector is subject to mandatory enforceable federal standards for cybersecurity for what we call the bulk electric system—the wholesale electric system,” she says.
She tells Brownfield standards have been mandatory and enforceable for many years, but more must be done.
“We know we have to keep evolving, managing, and mitigating this risk over time,” she says. “We continue to work with our other industry and government partners but also state partners as well to assess threats, share information, and evolve our collective response to match this evolving cybersecurity threat and risk.”
Ditto says the American Public Power Association has worked with the Department of Energy to help public power utility members improve cybersecurity efforts.
“That was possible through some funding opportunities and we’re thankful for this because it helps us hone in on some of the specifics of how to mitigate this risk over time,” she says. “To our knowledge a cyberattack in the US has not resulted in the lights going out to date, but we’re working very hard to maintain that track record in partnership with others in the industry.”
For both cyber and physical threats, APPA says that electric utilities develop contingency plans and employ risk management programs and defense-in-depth techniques.
Audio: Joy Ditto, APPA