WASHINGTON, November 15, 2021 – Jim Cunningham, President of Protect Our Power, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to making the electric grid more secure and resilient, commented on today’s signing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684) by President Joe Biden:

“While there is more to do, the urgent need for a massive, multifaceted effort to improve the cybersecurity of the electric grid makes the passage of infrastructure legislation a welcome event.

“Protect Our Power applauds Senators Manchin, King and Murkowski, as well as Representatives Langevin, McNerney, Katko, Clarke Latta, and Pallone, among others, for championing the cybersecurity provisions that are included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Those measures are critical, and represent a notable step forward in pursuit of a more secure and resilient electric grid

“At the same time, because our nation needs the cybersecurity equivalent of a moonshot to effectively meet 21st century cyber threats to critical infrastructure and to our electric sector in particular, there is more work to be done. To that end, Protect Our Power has outlined a set of grid-oriented funding priorities and recommended that $22 billion be directed toward them over a five-year period, as follows:

  • Provide funding to municipal power companies and rural electric utilities to offset the cost impact on consumers that would be incurred by dramatically improving grid resilience programs in the near term. $12 billion
  • Build separate and more secure communications systems that control actual power system operations. $5 billion
  • Upgrade the quality and availability of financial and intellectual resources needed by government officials and state regulators to conduct the prudent oversight necessary to assure reliable electric power distribution systems. $3 billion
  • Provide funding for regional power grid operators to upgrade their systems to prevent, mitigate and recover from cyberattacks. $1 billion
  • Promote, facilitate, and provide incentives for developing a “Made in America” power industry supply chain. $500 million”

“This funding will be used, for example, to develop testing centers to ensure the integrity of critical grid hardware and software components prior to installation, support the rapid transfer of government-developed cyber protection technologies to electric utilities,  and to establish a supply chain protocol to ensure that the products and services used to build and maintain a reliable electric grid are not intentionally infected by foreign suppliers.”

“The electric grid is the underpinning of our economy and the essential system that other sectors comprising our infrastructure depend upon to function. Repeated intrusions just within the past few years have shown that our electric infrastructure is vulnerable and in need of significant security upgrades. The enactment of the bipartisan infrastructure bill is a good start towards improved grid cybersecurity, but the timing is now more urgent than ever for the federal government, the utility industry, and the states to come together to provide even more of a comprehensive solution to address this looming national priority.”

About Protect Our Power

Protect Our Power is a non-partisan, non-profit group, staffed by industry experts and advised by an active panel of advisors with extensive national security, military, utility and regulatory experience. The organization is focused on improving electric grid security and has been working with all aspects of the electric power industry since 2016 to build consensus on what needs to be done and how to finance a plan for upgrading our electric grid. The group has worked with key stakeholders, including power companies and federal and state officials, to drive needed physical and regulatory improvements and advocate for a national policy to address this national threat.