Sunday, September 14, 2008

'Cyber Security' Worries Spur Congress to Rethink Electrical Grid

Stephanie Condon writes on C|Net News:

The potential for "cybersecurity" attacks on the United State's electric power grids has spurred politicians to consider legislation to broaden federal authority over electric companies.

Congress already has been consulting with federal agencies and industry associations over how to craft such legislation. On Thursday, legislators sought further input at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on energy and air quality.

Industry representatives endorsed the idea of strengthening federal authority in the event of an imminent cybersecurity threat but cautioned against expanding the government's powers too broadly.

"We understand the seriousness of the issue and the need to deal with it," said Susan Kelly, a vice president for the American Public Power Association. "At the same time, we believe that such legislation must be carefully drawn."

The draft legislation under consideration would expand the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which already regulates the nation's bulk power system as allowed by the Federal Power Act. A final draft of the bill will likely be considered by the committee next week, following a classified briefing with intelligence agencies, said Rep. Rick Boucher, chairman of the subcommittee.

More here.


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