FERC opens new Office of Energy Infrastructure Security (OEIS) to focus on cybersecurity

  • FERC

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On September 20, 2012, FERC announced it was starting a new Office of Energy Infrastructure Security (OEIS) to focus on cyber and physical security risks to energy infrastructure. FERC Chairman Wellinghoff, in a statement, said that the OEIS “is designed to provide leadership, expertise, and assistance to the Commission in identifying, communicating, and seeking comprehensive solutions to significant potential cyber and physical security risks to the energy infrastructure under the Commission’s jurisdiction.”

Wellinghoff continued, “the Office will concentrate its efforts and resources in four areas. First, OEIS is charged with developing recommendations for identifying, communicating and mitigating potential cyber and physical security threats to Commission jurisdictional energy infrastructure using our existing statutory authorities. Second, OEIS will offer assistance, expertise, and advice to other federal and state agencies, jurisdictional utilities, and Congress for identifying, communicating and mitigating cyber and physical security threats to Commission jurisdictional energy infrastructure. Third, the Office will participate in interagency and intelligence-related coordination and collaboration efforts with appropriate federal, state agencies and industry representatives on cyber and physical security matters related to Commission jurisdictional energy infrastructure. Fourth, OEIS will conduct outreach with private sector owners, users and operators of the energy delivery systems, regarding identification, communication and mitigation of cyber and physical threats to Commission jurisdictional energy infrastructure.”

The Chairman also stated that “OEIS’ work will be complementary to, not a replacement of, FERC’s existing regulatory processes for reliability” i.e. NERC Crticial Infrastructure Protection (CIP) standards.

Gerry Cauley, President and CEO of NERC welcomed the move by FERC in a brief statement stating the move by FERC “reflects the importance FERC places on ensuring the security of our nation’s bulk power system, and NERC looks forward to coordinating our critical infrastructure program with this new office.”

Joe McClelland was chosen to serve as Director of this new office. Mr. McClelland has served as the Director of the Office of Electric Reliability (OER) since its inception in 2006. Ted Franks has been named Acting Director of OER.