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Discussion on Smart Grid Deployment Points to Need for Consumer Education and Innovation

Speakers at this month’s Broadband Breakfast's special session on ‘Smart Grid, Telecommunications and the Electric Infrastructure’ discussed the role of innovation and competition on smart grid deployment. The session was moderated by UTC’s Director of Research, Cynthia Brumfield. Read more »

Nokia Siemens To Buy Motorola’s Telecom Equipment Business

Nokia Siemens Networks, a venture of Nokia and Siemens, said on Monday that it has reached an agreement to buy Motorola's telecom network equipment business for 1.2 billion in cash. Motorola is one of the leading suppliers of public safety infrastructure, which is heavily influenced by government spending. The business is a market leader in WiMAX, with 41 contracts in 21 countries; has a global footprint in CDMA with 30 active networks in 22 countries; and a GSM installed base, with more than 80 active networks in 66 countries; and traction with LTE early adopters.

Urgent Communications noted that with public safety’s considerable interest in LTE technology, Motorola is getting out of the commercial wireless market just as its public-safety and enterprise customers are becoming most interested in cellular-based technology solutions. Read more »

Senate Bill Calls for FCC/NTIA Study and Reallocation of 200 MHz of Spectrum / Spectrum Fees and Auction Revenue Sharing Plan

A new spectrum inventory bill (“Spectrum Measurement and Policy Reform Act”, S3610) has been introduced that calls for a study of Federal and non-Federal spectrum occupancy and use; a pilot program for sharing and reusing spectrum; a report on the cost-benefits for relocating incumbents in certain spectrum bands; and expanded authority for the FCC and NTIA to develop ways to promote spectrum efficiency, including spectrum fees and an auction revenue sharing plan. Read more »


NERC Standards CIP-002 through CIP-009 provide a security framework for the identification and protection of Critical Cyber Assets to support the reliable operation of the bulk power system. The standards are being updated, with a version 4 making up the next full release. The revisions have been categorized as a wholesale overhaul of the existing standards. But the changes are substantial and with the potential for a $1 million fine per day for none compliance, the industry is very nervous about the scope of the updates. Read more »

AMI Security Profile V2 and C-I-A Analysis

Version 2 of the AMI Security Profile was ratified by the industry trade group Open SG this week and has been released for download here. The document is the work of Open SG, the NIST Cybersecurity Task Group with the management assistance of EnerNex. The document provides a detailed review of security issues related the advanced metering infrastructure and goes into more detail than the NISTIR Smart Grid Cybersecurity Standards document recently released. The AMI Security Profile will guide venders and utilities in their planning for wide scale AMI deployments and the cybersecurity issues they will face. Read more »

New York Public Service Commission Seeks Input on Smart Grid Policy

The New York State Public Service Commission is seeking information to develop cutting-edge regulatory policies that will be needed to encourage the development of the smart grid and the overall modernization of the electric grid.

Chairman Garry Brown says the smart grid promises “the deployment of new technologies that could help utilities become more efficient and help modernize the existing transmission and distribution grid. If done smartly, with a close eye toward future possibilities, this modernization will help utilities streamline and manage their operations while empowering consumers with a far-greater ability to control electricity consumption and costs. This would clearly be a win for all parties.”

In addition to comments from traditional utilities, the Commission is soliciting input from telecommunication companies, computer software and hardware providers, internet developers, consumer advocates and other interested parties as it moves forward with developing its smart grid technology road map.

When the proceedings are finished, the Commission’s findings may be obtained by going to the Documents section of the Commission’s Web site at and entering case number 09-M-0074 or 10-E-0285.

DTE CIO Urges Caution for SG Deployments

Likening the deployment, and risks, associated with the smart grid to the deployment of the Internet nearly two decades ago, Detroit Edison's CIO recommends caution in moving forward. Lynn Ellen, speaking to a group of industry professionals today in Detroit, said the complexity of the smart grid is proportional to the number of nodes and edge devices. Ms. Ellen said the smart grid will grow "fractally", implying a random growth pattern that is difficult to predict. The CIO believes the smart grid is a journey of decades and the effort should not be forced into a period of five years, because the risk of encountering unknown security issues that could impact the entire grid. Read more »

CYBER SECURITY: Brace Yourself

Some large utilities with the wherewithal are already anticipating far greater cyber security requirements in their distribution grids. Many others are asking UTC what to expect next. The politics - including how federal cyber regulations will be pushed into what is traditionally the states' regulatory purview - will be resolved, and the new requirements will come.

If you look at the bulk power system as a well-protected medieval castle, the new distribution-focused cyber security requirements will be aimed at protecting assets critical to the core with a new set of outer walls/layers of protection that both encompass key assets and add to the protection of the overall grid/castle. Questions we all must answer will certainly focus on which critical assets need to be protected. What must be inside the outer wall, and what can we afford to leave outside?

Cyber security requires a different approach to protection than traditionally used in running an energy utility. In our core utility businesses, we look to what has gone wrong in the past and plan to prevent that from happening again. With cyber security, we must flip that thinking around to anticipate what new threats may come and then plan to block those threats.

To succeed, we must be forward looking, but at the same time, we must draw on utilities' deep-seeded culture of preparedness, recovery, and restoration. Just as we know that it is impossible to prevent a power outage, so too must we recognize that we will never totally prevent a cyber security breach. But we can plan to quickly isolate any cyber threat, recover quickly, and restore affected telecom and IT systems. In other words, if we catch a cyber-cold, we must make absolutely certain we don't get cyber-pneumonia.

As we look at the next couple of years, we are certain that you will be devoting more time and more money on cyber security, probably more than you are currently planning for. As we plan to do much more to support you with cyber security, your ideas and suggestions would be very helpful to our efforts. Don't be silent. Cyber security is too important for any of us to try and go it alone.

Let us hear from you.

(Adapted from upcoming column in UTC JOURNAL.)

Work on Comprehensive Cybersecurity Bill Continues

Buoyed by a meeting last week between Senate Majority Leader Reid and key Committee chairmen, staff redoubled their efforts over the weekend to develop a compromise cybersecurity bill to be added to the already crowded Senate agenda for the week of July 26. The compromise bill would combine the Lieberman/Collins and Rockefeller/Snowe bills approved by the Senate Committees on Homeland Security and Commerce, respectively, establish a national cybersecurity policy framework and designate the lead federal agency with authority to direct the nation's cybersecurity efforts. DHS is a leading contender for that authority as best able to coordinate the multiple federal regulatory agencies' efforts across multiple industry sectors.

Committee staff indicate that the compromise will focus on enhancing cybersecurity of the "top" sectors, including chemical,electricity and telecommunications. Questions remain whether the compromise bill will incorporate or supplant the electric industry cybersecurity provisions being considered as part of the energy-only bill being readied for Senate consideration before the August recess. The GRID Act, passed unanimously by the House in June, would give FERC authority to bypass the NERC standards setting process to order electric system owners and operators to mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities and imminent threats, including electromagnetic pulse and solar flares.

DOE Extends Deadline for Smart Grid RFI Reply Comments

The Department of Energy(DOE) has posted a notice to their website, announcing an extension to the deadline for comments in response to its two Smart Grid RFIs. Reply comments are now due on August 9, 2010, instead of the initial deadline of July 26, 2010. Read more »

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