- The Energy Policy Modernization Act currently under consideration by the Senate contains a number of provisions designed to protect the nation’s power grid from cybersecurity threats.
- Among other things, the bill would empower the Department of Energy (DOE) to take faster action in the event of a major hack. The bill would also authorize DOE to direct energy companies in the event of a cyber crisis.
- The bipartisan bill was derailed for now as lawmakers argued on providing aid for the Flint, Michigan water crisis, according to The Hill. Though voting on the package failed Thursday, legislators have vowed to continue working on the legislation.
The bill includes several cybersecurity provisions, including one that authorizes more cybersecurity research and one that directs DOE to work with other countries connected to the North American electrical grid.
“The Energy Policy Modernization Act is designed to defend our national energy grid from terrorist cyberattacks,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell added that the bill would also enable faster and more effective responses to threats.
The bill comes during a time of growing concerns about power grid vulnerability. A blackout in the Ukraine in December was the first such incident to have been caused by malware. The blackout impacted hundreds of thousands of homes and shut down at least three regional utilities.