Committee Releases GAO Report Warning of Cybersecurity Risks Facing U.S. Electric Grid
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee Chairman Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) today released a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report outlining the cybersecurity risks facing the U.S. electric grid. The four Members first requested the study in 2015 and issued the following statement in response to today’s release, which is part of an ongoing examination of the challenges related to grid evolution and expansion:
“Today’s report confirms our concerns that cybersecurity risks to our electric grid are significant and growing. New technologies and products that rely on the grid and the internet expand consumer choice and services, but they also create new risks. ‘Smart’ appliances and electric vehicles, for instance, create vulnerabilities that could be exploited by bad actors. Meanwhile, the energy sector is struggling to identify and train a large enough workforce to stay ahead of these issues.
“GAO makes clear that these and other challenges present a clear and urgent threat to our electric grid, and Congress must act decisively to ensure these risks do not materialize. That’s why our Committee took up the Blue Collar and Green Collar Jobs Development Act, specifically designed to help train and recruit more and diverse talent for our energy sector. We also reported three bipartisan, electricity-focused cybersecurity bills to the full House of Representatives, each enhancing our security infrastructure and improving our ability to respond to grid emergencies.
“These legislative solutions are critical first steps and must be taken up without delay, but GAO’s report indicates that we must do even more. Risk assessment, information sharing, coordination of government and private sector entities, workforce training, and response planning to address cybersecurity risks must be improved nationwide. Americans are counting on us to get this right and protect their communities from cyberattack, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to do exactly that.”