Security and Resilience (Cyber and Physical)

DOE issues order aimed at reducing risks to bulk-power system from China-related entities

U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette on Dec. 17 issued an order designed to reduce the risks that entities associated with the People’s Republic of China pose to the U.S. bulk-power system (BPS).

The order only applies to utilities that have been designated as defense critical electric infrastructure (DCEI). The Department of Energy informed a small number of public power utilities that they had been designated as DCEI in 2019.

The order invokes the authority delegated to the Secretary of Energy by Executive Order 13920, “Securing the United States Bulk-Power System” (EO 13920) and takes effect January 16, 2021. 

The order prohibits utilities that supply critical defense facilities from procuring from the People’s Republic of China specific BPS electric equipment that poses an undue risk to the BPS, the security or resilience of critical infrastructure, the economy, national security, or safety and security of Americans, the DOE said in a news release related to the order.

President Trump issued EO 13920 on May 1, 2020 and granted implementation authority to the Secretary of Energy.

The DOE order provides a compliance grace period of several weeks to minimize potential procurement and supply chain disruptions.

The order specifically prohibits utilities that supply critical defense facilities at a service voltage of 69-kV or above from acquiring, importing, transferring, or installing BPS electric equipment, and is specific to select equipment manufactured or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of the People’s Republic of China.

The order applies from the point of electrical interconnection with the critical defense facility up to and including the next “upstream” transmission substation.

Utilities subject to the order will be notified no later than five days from the issuance of the order.

Additional information including a link to the order is available here.