House energy chairman Upton ‘vigilant’ over electric grid threats

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) hosted a briefing Wednesday with federal and industry officials about electric grid security issues.

The meeting for members of the committee and California’s delegation focused in part on a sniper attack last year that knocked out a substation in San Jose, Calif.

“We have been active in our oversight of the nation’s energy grid vulnerabilities and we remain vigilant over all emerging threats to the grid, including cyber and physical attacks, solar storms and electromagnetic pulses,” Upton said in a statement after the briefing.

“Today’s briefing from federal agencies and stakeholders provided valuable insight into some of these very real and serious threats and how we can best protect against them,” he said.

Upton said he is “encouraged” by standards the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued earlier in March regarding grid security standards.

“We will continue to work with the relevant agencies, utilities and other congressional committees on this sensitive but critical issue,” he said.

The meeting came the same day that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation that would give FERC new power to set grid vulnerability standards and declare electric grid emergencies.