Test gets major media hype, but SCADA vulnerabilities remain
A simulated attack, named the Aurora Generator Test, took place in March 2007 by researchers investigating supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system vulnerabilities at utility companies. The experiment involved hackers invading the plant’s control system to change the operating cycle of the generator.
Special Report on Cyber Security and CIP Compliance
Michael T. Burr, Lori A. Burkhart and Scott M. Gawlicki
Utilities are gearing up for compliance with the new CIP standards. NERC, however, has taken a flexible approach to implementation that leaves some companies confused. Can utilities comply by 2009, and will their measures be effective in securing the grid?
NERC’s new cyber security rules may minimize cost of compliance, but they leave utilities guessing on how to identify risks.
Liam Baker, vice president for regulatory affairs at US Power Generating, questions whether his company’s power plants and control systems in New York and Massachusetts must comply with the electric industry’s new mandatory standards for cyber security. Baker voiced his doubts in written comments he filed in October with FERC.
Tech experts weigh the options for improving power delivery.
We’ve heard it all before, but the issue isn’t going away: Reliability of power, from generation to distribution, remains a primary concern of the utility industry. But the current verdict is mixed, depending upon which experts you talk to. Aging equipment is a ticking time bomb—except when it isn’t. NERC CIP standards are driving reliability improvements—except when they aren’t. Maintenance is key—except where monitoring and automation are more important. And regulators should stand aside and let the market drive reliability improvements—but economic incentives wouldn’t hurt.
Armed with calls for gas price transparency, FERC takes aim at intrastate pipelines—the long-forgotten and largely private preserve of the Lone Star State.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has proposed to bring a modicum of federal oversight to the nation’s intrastate natural-gas pipelines. Given the historical structure and regulation of the nation’s natural-gas industry, it should come as no surprise that FERC’s proposal has polarized the industry in general and the state of Texas in particular.
A decision-maker’s checklist provide a starting point—but not an end-point.
Alison Silverstein and Richard Schomberg
Recent predictions suggest that the U.S. electric industry will invest $300 billion in new transmission and distribution (T&D) facilities (including advanced meters) over the next decade, and $400 billion in new power plants over the next 25 years to meet forecasted demand growth. If we start now, we can build interoperability principles and capabilities into those investments and hasten the improvements in reliability, costs, innovation and value that interoperability can deliver.
Utilities are learning how smart-grid data will interface with CIS and other back-office systems. Meters and middleware are rapidly evolving in this brave new world.
The manager of technology services for Phoenix-based Salt River Project (SRP) is tasked with implementing a revolutionary process for one of the most progressive public power utilities in the country. Specifically, he is working to integrate data from SRP’s smart meters (140,000 and counting) into the utility’s back-office processes—particularly customer service and billing.
IT officers are getting more efficient, but guess what keeps them up at night?
Ever-present security concerns are keeping utility chief information officers up at night. With their IT budgets under constraints in a back-to-basics era, four CIOs speak out about their concerns over funding, staffing, and the future.
The intelligent-grid vision is becoming clearer as utilities take incremental steps toward a brighter future.
Building the intelligent grid will require less technical innovation than it does strategic innovation—a characteristic not typically ascribed to U.S. regulated utilities. But the utility culture is changing—by necessity, if not by choice.
How reliability performance monitoring and standards compliance will be achieved in real time.
Carlos A. Martinez, Robert W. Cummings, Philip N. Overholt, and Joseph H. Eto
The North American electric power grid has suffered several significant outages in recent years. These events and other incidents around the world spotlight the need for enforceable grid-reliability standards, wide-area visibility of the health of the power system, and real-time monitoring of grid-reliability performance to prevent blackouts. Effective reliability management requires real-time tools and technologies that can detect standards violations so that timely corrective or preventive actions can be taken.