Texas Passes Grid Protection Bills to Enhance Cybersecurity

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Texas passed two grid protection bills -- Senate Bill 475 and Senate Bill 936 -- to boost cybersecurity monitoring and best practices. 

The Texas Electric Grid Security Council, composed of a governor's appointee, a member of the Public Utilities Commission and the chief executive officer of Electric Reliability Council of Texas, will be tasked with:

  • the development of educational programs or marketing materials to promote the development of a grid security workforce.

  • the development of grid security best practices.

  • preparation for events that threaten grid security.

  • amendments to the state emergency management plan to ensure coordinated and adaptable response and recovery efforts after events that threaten grid security.

Bill 475 says, "The council may prepare a report outlining grid security response efforts that do not involve classified or highly sensitive, company-specific information. If the council prepares the report, the council shall deliver the report to the governor,  lieutenant governor, and legislature on or before the December 1 immediately preceding a regular session of the legislature."

Bill 936 outlines what cybersecurity "monitored utility" means: 

  • a transmission and distribution utility

  • a corporation described in Section 32.053

  • a municipally owned utility or electric cooperative that owns or operates equipment or facilities in the ERCOT power region to transmit electricity at 60 or more kilovolts.

  • an electric utility, municipally owned utility, or electric cooperative that operates solely outside the ERCOT power region that has elected to participate.