February 1, 2017

SPP’s Sugg testifies to lawmakers that electric utility industry is committed to security of the power grid

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — At today’s House Subcommittee on Energy hearing titled “The Electricity Sector’s Efforts to Respond to Cybersecurity Threats,” Southwest Power Pool (SPP) Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Security Officer Barbara Sugg testified on behalf of the ISO-RTO Council (IRC) — of which SPP is a member — an association of North American regional transmission organizations and independent system operators that ensure electric reliability and oversee wholesale electricity markets in their respective regions.

Sugg testified that IRC members are “focused and committed to continuing to advance the security of the power grid” and must “remain involved in the development and implementation of regulations and standards to ensure that they allow for the flexibility needed to meet the security challenges we face in continuing to provide reliable, affordable electricity to consumers.”

The hearing examined the electric utility industry’s efforts to bolster cybersecurity and address ever-evolving threats to the security of the North American power grid, a critical part of the nation’s infrastructure.

Sugg was joined by Gerry Cauley, president and CEO of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation; Scott Aaronson, executive director of Security and Business Continuity at Edison Electric Institute who spoke on behalf of the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council; and Chris Beck, chief scientist and vice president for policy of the Electric Infrastructure Council.

The IRC consists of nine Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Organizations (ISO/RTO) in North America and serves two thirds of electricity consumers in the United States and more than half in Canada. The IRC and its committees assemble representatives from each ISO/RTO to collaborate to match power generation instantaneously with demand to keep the lights on and ensure access to affordable, reliable and sustainable power via wholesale energy markets.

About Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

Southwest Power Pool, Inc. manages the electric grid and wholesale energy market for the central United States. As a regional transmission organization, the nonprofit corporation is mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices. Southwest Power Pool and its diverse group of member companies coordinate the flow of electricity across 60,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines spanning 14 states. The company is headquartered in Little Rock, Ark.

Derek Wingfield, 501-614-3394, dwingfield@spp.org