Manchin Focuses On Cybersecurity Resources For Smaller Utilities

February 14, 2019

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, discussed the threat of cyber attacks on America’s energy industry and questioned witnesses about ongoing efforts to improve cybersecurity measures. 

“This hearing is particularly timely because just a few weeks ago our Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, publicly warned of two potential energy cybersecurity attack scenarios: a Russian cyber attack that could disrupt an electrical network for a few hours, and a Chinese cyber attack that could disrupt a natural gas pipeline for weeks. I cannot overstate how serious a threat this is…energy cybersecurity is national security. Period,” Senator Manchin said. 

Senator Manchin questioned James Robb, President and Chief Executive Officer at North American Electric Reliability Corporation, about how well electric utilities are complying with physical and cyber security standards and what role the government can play in aiding smaller utilities in complying with these standards. 

“The small utilities are required to be compliant for those functions that they are responsible for. One of the other initiatives that the industry has put in place is something called cyber mutual assistance. If an entity that is resource constrained suffers a cyber event or a physical event, in the same way that the industry will muster resources to help in storm recovery and so forth, we’ll also muster resources to help in cyber recovery,” Robb said in part. 

The hearing also featured witnesses from the West Virginia National Guard, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, U.S. Department of Energy and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc. 

To watch the hearing in full, please click here