The electric industry has voted to approve a cyber security standard that will help to ensure the continued reliability of North American bulk electric systems by reducing risks resulting from efforts to compromise critical industry cyber assets, including computers, software and the networks that support those systems. The standard, which was submitted as an urgent action request by a subgroup of North American Electric Reliability Council's (NERC; Princeton, New Jersey) Critical Infrastructure Protection Advisory Group, requires that critical cyber assets related to the reliable operation of the bulk electric systems are identified and protected.

“This standard is the first to be voted on and approved by the industry under NERC's new standards development process,” said Michehl R. Gent, NERC president and CEO. “This is a significant and important step in our ongoing efforts to ensure that the reliability and security of the interconnected electric grid is maintained in these challenging times.”

Charles Noble of ISO New England and leader of the team that developed this standard said, “We cannot emphasize enough the importance of a secure electric system to our national security, and this standard is designed to enhance and improve grid security.”

The cyber security standard has been posted for a 30-day notice period. It will then be presented to the NERC Board of Trustees for adoption. Once adopted by the board, it will be the first NERC standard to go through NERC's new ANSI-approved process for developing and implementing reliability standards. NERC intends to file the standard with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which requested that NERC work with the industry to develop a cyber security standard as part of its rulemaking on Standard Market Design.

NERC is a not-for-profit company formed as a result of the Northeast blackout of 1965 to promote reliability of the bulk electric systems that serve North America.
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