The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently issued a request for information (RFI) seeking public input on a new $250 million program to bolster the cybersecurity posture of rural, municipal, and small investor-owned electric utilities.
The Rural and Municipal Utility Advanced Cybersecurity Grant and Technical Assistance (RMUC) Program will help eligible utilities cyber harden energy systems, processes, and assets; improve incident response capabilities; and increase cybersecurity skills in the utility workforce, DOE said.
The RMUC program will provide financial and technical assistance to help rural, municipal, and small investor-owned electric utilities improve operational capabilities, increase access to cybersecurity services, deploy advanced cyber security technologies, and increase participation of eligible entities in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs.
Priority will be given to eligible utilities that have limited cybersecurity resources, are critical to the reliability of the bulk power system, or those that support our national defense infrastructure.
The Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) will manage the RMUC Program, providing $250 million dollars in funding over five years.
To help inform program implementation, DOE is seeking input from the cybersecurity community, including eligible utilities and representatives of third parties and organizations that support or interact with these utilities.
The RFI seeks input on ways to improve cybersecurity incident preparedness, response, and threat information sharing; cybersecurity workforce challenges; risks associated with technologies deployed on the electric grid; national-scale initiatives to accelerate cybersecurity improvements in these utilities; opportunities to strengthen partnerships; the selection criteria and application process for funding awards; and more.
DOE hosted a series of listening sessions for utilities and stakeholders to ask questions and provide feedback that will help inform the development and implementation of the RMUC program. The final listening session will take place on October 25, 2022. For more information and to register, go here.
Responses to the RFI must be submitted via email to [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. ET on December 19, 2022. Download the RFI to see the full list of questions, topics of interest, and submission guidelines.
The American Public Power Association plans to submit comments in response to the RFI and welcomes member feedback. Members can contact Bridgette Bourge, Senior Director for Cybersecurity at APPA, at [email protected] with thoughts on this RFI.
For additional information, visit the RMUC Program webpage on CESER’s website.