FERC today directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to study the effectiveness of the existing reliability standard for physical security of the Bulk Power System and determine whether the standard needs to be improved.
Today’s order cites the need for continued vigilance against physical threats to the Bulk Power System, considering the recent increases in physical attacks on electrical substations that, in some instances, have cut power to tens of thousands of customers.
“The security and reliability of the nation’s electric grid is one of FERC’s top priorities,” FERC Chairman Rich Glick said. “In light of the increasing number of recent reports of physical attacks on our nation’s infrastructure, it is important that we fully and clearly review the effectiveness of our existing physical security standard to determine whether additional improvements are necessary to safeguard the Bulk Power System.”
FERC approved the physical security reliability standard in 2014 to enhance physical security measures for those Bulk Power System facilities that are deemed critical, to lower the overall vulnerability of the grid to physical attacks.
Today’s order gives NERC 120 days to submit a report that examines the effectiveness of the current physical security standard, specifically how physical security protections are being applied, whether improvements to existing requirements are necessary, and whether some minimal level of physical security protections should be required for all Bulk Power System stations, substations and associated primary control centers.