Manchin Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Protect America’s Electric Grid

Increases Industry Investments, Supports Advanced Cyber Technology

April 29, 2021

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK ) – along with Senators James Risch (R-ID), Angus King (I-ME), and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) – reintroduced S. 1400, the Protecting Resources On The Electric grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act, which enhances electric grid security by incentivizing electric utilities to make cybersecurity investments. The bill also establishes a Department of Energy (DOE) grant and technical assistance program to deploy advanced cybersecurity technology for utilities that are not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

“The reliability and resilience of our electric grid goes hand-in-hand with the economic and national security of the United States, so it’s critical that we’re two steps ahead in planning for unexpected events and threats. The PROTECT Act would create incentives for utilities to enhance their cybersecurity efforts and increase their resilience to attacks. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this common sense, bipartisan legislation to ensure we’re keeping our grid – and our nation – safe,” said Chairman Manchin.

“The threat of cyberattacks by foreign adversaries and other sophisticated entities is real and growing and COVID-19 has not helped reduce the threat of cyberattacks on America’s networks, including our energy infrastructure. In Alaska where energy prices are already amongst the nation’s highest, the cost for small co-ops to properly secure their cybersecurity needs is continuing to rise. The federal government and industry have a shared responsibility to enhance the cybersecurity posture of electric utilities, municipal utilities, and electric utility systems owned by electric cooperatives to protect our electric grid from cyberthreats.” said Senator Murkowski. “The PROTECT Act will help ensure utilities across America, including municipal utilities and electric cooperatives, are able to continue investing in advanced, cutting-edge cybersecurity technologies, while also strengthening the partnership between private industry and the federal government.”

Bill Details:

  • Directs FERC to issue a rulemaking on rate incentives for advanced cybersecurity technology. This will enable and incentivize utilities to invest in new technologies that improve their cybersecurity defenses. 
  • Establishes a grant and technical assistance program at DOE to deploy advanced cybersecurity technology on the electric systems of utilities that are not regulated by FERC. Examples include cooperatives and municipal utilities, as well as small investor-owned utilities that sell less than four million megawatt-hours of electricity per year.

Click here for the bill text.