Grid reliability depends on ‘reasonable business judgment’
The word “security” no longer means what it used to mean. “Security” once referred to comfort, stability and a sense of well being. It was a chicken in the pot, a crackling log in the fireplace and a well-funded pension plan. It was Linus Van Pelt’s blue-flannel blanket.
Now, “security” means gates, guards and guns. It means protecting critical assets with a multi-layered cyber and physical perimeter. It means exercising vigilance and caution, and accepting inconvenience as a matter of routine.
The price of security has gone up since September 11, 2001, and it continues rising as America faces growing threats from a range of ideological and economic opponents. As National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said in a recent press conference, “Welcome to the real world.”
In this context, industry leaders are putting forth an unprecedented effort to implement new security standards for the electric power grid. These standards inevitably will bring costs and compromises, but the industry’s leaders understand the importance of their mission—to secure what arguably has become the most critical piece of America’s infrastructure.
Utilities and their customers will pay a significant price for security in the real world of the 21st century. Whether that price proves to be too high (or not high enough) depends on how the industry responds to the challenge.