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Key Senate Democrats urge utilities to improve physical security of critical infrastructure


From the November 18, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published November 18, 2013

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the heads of three Senate committees and a subcommittee have asked the utility industry "to take immediate and substantial steps to better protect and defend infrastructure critical to power delivery." In a Nov. 12 letter to APPA President and CEO Mark Crisson and the CEOs of the Edison Electric Institute and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Senate Democrats said their goal is to help ensure that utilities and federal agencies have plans in place "to avoid, identify, and respond to physical attacks on their facilities before a major disruption occurs."

"Recent events have brought to our attention that critical transmission facilities around the country must be better protected," the senators said. "Our nation’s most critical and currently vulnerable electric facilities must be better secured, more difficult to access, easily repaired or replaced and guarded with around-the-clock security," the letter said.

The senators noted that the industry is working with federal agencies to identify physical security improvements. They asked the associations to work with them and said they want to meet with electric utility executives to discuss these measures.

APPA looks forward to meeting with the senators and is working to schedule a session to address their questions, spokesman Nick Braden said.

In addition to Reid, the letter was signed by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Select Committee on Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del.; and Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy Chairman Al Franken, D-Minn.

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Jeanne Wickline LaBella
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