WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs (HSGAC), and Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) announced their introduction of S.4795, the Cyber Sense Act. This bipartisan legislation would create a voluntary Cyber Sense program at the Department of Energy to test the cybersecurity of products and technologies intended for use in the bulk-power system. Identical companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year by Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Bob Latta (OH-05) and passed the House this week. October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

“If we don’t act to address and mitigate cybersecurity risks, our nation will remain vulnerable” said Senator Rosen. “As our world becomes more digitized, the need for a strong defense of our nation’s electric infrastructure has never been more clear. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan bill to provide much-needed training and technical assistance to electric utilities to address cybersecurity risks and strengthen our national security. I will continue to support legislation that equips our workforce and organizations with the skills needed to improve our nation’s electric grid resilience.”

“Our nation’s energy systems are essential to every home and business, and vulnerabilities in the grid and other infrastructure represent a real risk to the well-being of our citizens,” said Senator Hoeven. “Our legislation supports the development and implementation of technologies and practices that will better secure our energy infrastructure from cyber-based attacks, protecting against those who would do us harm.”

“Nevadans depend on electricity delivered to their homes and businesses from utility providers large and small,” said David Bobzien, Director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy. ”Senator Rosen’s bipartisan Cyber Sense Act promotion of cybersecurity technologies helps maintain that service for the long term in communities all across the state.”

“Protecting our industry’s supply chain is a top priority for all EEI member companies, and addressing the known dynamic threats requires constant vigilance and coordination that leverages both government and industry resources,” said Tom Kuhn, President of Edison Electric Institute. “That is why electric companies work with government partners to share actionable intelligence, deploy state-of-the-art tools, and prepare to respond to incidents that could affect our systems. The Cyber Sense Act would enhance this partnership by creating a voluntary Department of Energy program to identify and promote cyber-secure products for use in the bulk-power system. The bill also establishes an important testing and reporting process for products determined to have cyber vulnerabilities. EEI applauds Senators Jacky Rosen and John Hoeven and Representatives Bob Latta and Jerry McNerney for their leadership on this issue, which is important to America’s economy and national security.”

 BACKGROUND: Specifically, the bipartisan Cyber Sense Act (S.4795) would:

  • Create a voluntary Department of Energy ‘Cyber Sense’ program that would identify and promote cyber-secure products for use in the bulk-power system.

 

  • Establish a testing process for the products along with a reporting process of cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

 

  • Require the Secretary of Energy to keep a related database on the products, which will aid electric utilities that are evaluating products and their potential to cause harm to the electric grid.

  • Direct the Secretary of Energy to consider incentives to encourage the use of analysis and results of testing under the program in the design of products and technologies for use in the bulk-power system. 

###

Issues