May 9, 2018
By Kevin Randolph
A new program aims to increase involvement and enhance collaboration and information sharing between member utilities of The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC).
E-ISAC, in partnership with the Large Public Power Council, began an initiative in January called the Industry Augmentation Program, which invites utility staff for multi-day visits to work with E-ISAC personnel.
The Industry Augmentation Program aims to raise awareness of E-ISAC cyber and physical security analysis processes, data protection and the separation from NERC’s compliance functions, provide an avenue for the E-ISAC to receive feedback from industry on tools and communications protocols and strengthen utility security programs and staff expertise.
NERC also said it aims to conduct an exchange program each quarter to E-ISAC members from investor- and publicly owned utilities as well as electric cooperatives and invited interested members to contact E-ISAC for more information.
“This program highlights the benefit of multi-directional information sharing between the E-ISAC and industry,” Bill Lawrence, director of the E-ISAC, said. “Having industry members work closely with E-ISAC personnel improves both organizations’ information sharing processes and gives each organization insight into the needs of the other, which strengthens security efforts across North America. It also builds trust in the safeguards the E-ISAC has in place to protect information shared from members.”
Eight utilities have so far participated in the augmentation program, NERC said in a press release.
To date, participants have included cybersecurity experts from publicly owned utilities and investor-owned utilities. JEA, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, the Nebraska Public Power District, the New York Power Authority, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and Salt River Project are participants from the Large Public Power Council. Consolidated Edison, Inc. and Southern Company are the first two investor-owned utilities to participate in the program.