House passes three bills energy-related bills

Published on October 01, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

© Shutterstock

The U.S. House of Representatives passed three bills this week designed to enhance and secure the electric grid.

One is the Cyber Sense Act of 2019 (H.R. 360), introduced by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH). It requires the Secretary of Energy to establish the Cyber Sense Program – a voluntary program to identify cyber-secure products that could be used in the bulk-power system.

Another is the Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act (H.R. 359), introduced by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA). This bill directs the Secretary of Energy to implement a program to enhance the physical and cybersecurity of electric utilities. The bill also requires an update to the Interruption Cost Estimate (ICE) Calculator, an electric reliability planning tool for estimating electricity interruption costs.

The third is the Energy Emergency Leadership Act (H.R. 362), introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy subcommittee. It would create a new Department of Energy Assistant Secretary position with jurisdiction over all energy emergency and security functions related to energy supply, infrastructure, and cybersecurity.

“Right now, our aging electric grid is uniquely vulnerable to cyberattack, putting our communities at risk of being disconnected by bad actors or foreign governments seeking to sow chaos,” Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rush said in a joint statement. “Together, this legislation works to dramatically improve our cybersecurity and our readiness to combat potential attacks. These important bills will foster a much more reliable, safe, and cybersecure energy sector, and we’re proud that they passed today with such bipartisan support.”

All three bills passed by voice vote.