Comment: NERC is a 501(c)3 corporation that operates only in an advisory capacity. NERC’s funding is obscure. It has no enforcement powers or direct public policy influence but has been placed in the media spotlight for the purpose of raising the issue of electric grid reliability resulting from a catastrophic event and/or cyberattack. (Janet Napolitano, DHS)
The 107 page roster of participants shows Gainesville Regional Utilities represented by outgoing General Manager, Robert Hunzinger (P. 35) who’s last day on the job will be Nov 15, the day following the Nov 14th exercise.
Question: What is the current plan to protect GRU’s infrastructure and ability to provide service in case the exercise results in a prolonged disruption of power to GRU ratepayers?
- Promoting reliability of the bulk power system (BPS) through training and industry education.
- Delivering cutting-edge discussions on Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) security threats, vulnerabilities, and lessons-learned from senior industry and government leaders.
- Informing industry with security best-practice discussions on reliability concerns, risk mitigation, and physical and cybersecurity threat awareness. (Source)
As Worries Over the Power Grid Rise, a Drill Will Simulate a Knockout Blow
WASHINGTON — The electric grid, as government and private experts describe it, is the glass jaw of American industry. If an adversary lands a knockout blow, they fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11.
This is why thousands of utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, F.B.I. antiterrorism experts and officials from government agencies in the United States, Canada and Mexico are preparing for an emergency drill in November that will simulate physical attacks and cyberattacks that could take down large sections of the power grid.
They will practice for a crisis unlike anything the real grid has ever seen, and more than 150 companies and organizations have signed up to participate.
“This is different from a hurricane that hits X, Y and Z counties in the Southeast and they have a loss of power for three or four days,” said the official in charge of the drill, Brian M. Harrell of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, known as NERC. “We really want to go beyond that.” *** More (NYT)
“The drill is also being planned as conferences, studies and even works of fiction are raising near-apocalyptic visions of catastrophes involving the grid.”
“An attack using an electromagnetic pulse is laid out in extensive detail in the novel “One Second After,” published in 2009 and endorsed by Newt Gingrich. In another novel, “Gridlock,” published this summer and co-written by Byron L. Dorgan, the former senator from North Dakota, a rogue Russian agent working for Venezuela and Iran helps hackers threaten the grid. In the preface, Mr. Dorgan says such an attack could cause 10,000 times as much devastation as the terrorists’ strikes on Sept. 11, 2001.”
The outgoing Homeland Security Secretary has a warning for her successor: A massive and “serious” cyber attack on the U.S. homeland is coming, and a natural disaster — the likes of which the nation has never seen — is also likely on its way. (ABC News)