February 10, 2016

Utilities testify on cyber security to the Public Service Commission

The Public Service Commission is continuing its work to make sure that the state’s electric utilities are ready for a cyber security attack. It has held a hearing with representatives of Ameren, Kansas City Power and Light, Empire District Electric after collecting written testimony from them as well.

Public Service Commissioner Terry Jarrett

Commissioner Terry Jarrett says the Commission wants to know that Missouri’s power grid is protected from cyber attacks and that those companies are prepared to respond to such incidents. He says Missouri utilities haven’t been tested.

“Our utilities have become very good at recovering from natural disasters such as ice storms and tornadoes. Fortunately we’ve never had a large-scale cyber attack so we don’t know what that’s going to look like if one happens, so all we can do right now is plan for and make sure that our utilities are planning for such contingencies.”

He says so far, it looks as though those utilities are.

“I’m very heartened by what I heard. The big thing is that they utilities have placed a big priority on this. The boards of directors of all the utilities place a priority on this and as long as that is occurring, we should be okay.”

The Commission will study and discuss the testimony and decide whether any further action will take place.

“It could be a collaborative type of process where we will just work with the utilities informally, or if we feel that a more formal rule making is necessary we’ll take a look at that as well. Sort of all options are on the table right now.”