New NARUC leader vows attention to cyber security

Newly-elected National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Phil Jones told NARUC annual meeting in Baltimore Nov. 14 that he wants to focus on cyber security and critical infrastructure protection.

Jones, a member of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, noted a recent Department of Defense study reported cyber threats to the grid have grown.

Jones called for a partnership between federal agencies and the state commissions. The state authorities know the local geography and their utilities and are also tasked with allowing cost recovery of investments designed to enhance the grid, Johns said.

 “Hactivists are creative, smart, and nimble,” Jones warned. However, NARUC is ready having recently produced a primer on the topic as well as holding workshops on energy risk management and other initiatives.

 Jones urged state public service commissioners to assess the vulnerability to cyber-attack in both electric and gas infrastructure.