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FERC seeking comment on foreign cybersecurity risks to U.S. bulk electric system

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is seeking power industry comments on potential risks to the U.S. bulk electric system from equipment and services produced in countries considered as threats to national security.

FERC announced late last week it was seeking comments on those potential risks. Among the topics sought from industry players include insights on the extent to which foreign equipment and services pose a risk; and whether the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) reliability standards are doing an adequate job of mitigating the risks.

The request for comments follows President Trump’s Executive Order earlier this year focused on protective measures for the bulk electric system supply chain. He declared a national emergency related to cybersecurity dangers to the grid from foreign risks.

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Since FERC approved the existing CIP Reliability Standards on supply chain risk management in Order No. 850, there have been significant developments in the form of Executive Orders, legislation and federal agency actions that raise concerns over the potential risks posed by the use of equipment and services provided by entities identified as risks to national security, according to the release.

Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. have been identified as examples of such entities because they provide communication systems and other equipment and services that are critical to bulk electric system reliability.

Comments on the Notice of Inquiry are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, and reply comments are due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Go to ferc.gov for more information on how to comment.

Earlier this month, Siemens led a free, one-hour webcast on securing the industrial control systems network in the modern digital grid. The webcast is archived and available for one year.