ISO-NE head of cybersecurity speaks at FERC reliability conference

Rudolf “Rudy” Pawul, ISO New England’s vice president of Information and Cybersecurity Services, participated in the 2023 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Reliability Technical Conference. The annual conference, held this year on November 9, focuses on policy issues related to the reliability and security of the bulk power system.

Pawul was part of a commission-led panel called “Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards and the Evolving Grid.” The discussion focused on responding to changing cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats.

“The primary security issue that electric utilities face is maintaining reliable service on a round-the-clock basis in the presence of ever changing and increasing threats from adversaries who are intent on disrupting that service,” said Pawul in written remarks published prior to the conference. “ISO-NE has a strong focus on meeting these challenges.”

As the shift in types of resources used to generate electricity continues, utilities and grid operators must contend with the planning, operational, and security challenges that come with managing an increasing number of grid-connected devices. Chief among them is figuring out how these newer, digital assets will fit into the existing cybersecurity regulatory framework.

In his remarks, Pawul voiced support for accelerating the pace at which CIP Reliability Standards are developed, noting that the commission, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and industry stakeholders should make this a priority because it “is critical to allow the use of new technologies that can help increase the cybersecurity of energy industry entities, including ISOs/RTOs.”

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cybersecurity, FERC, future grid, ISO leadership