New standards for mandatory reporting of cybersecurity incidents are coming from the North American Electric Reliability Corp.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered NERC to modify its existing standards for registered entity reporting of cybersecurity incidents that compromise or attempt to compromise access to the bulk electric system (BES).

FERC's final rule directs the development of filing deadlines for cybersecurity incident reports once a BES compromise or disruption—or an attempt to do so—has been identified. NRECA generation and transmission members and approximately 60 distribution co-op members must follow these standards under NERC's critical infrastructure protection program.

The rule directs NERC to require registered entities to send cybersecurity incident reports to the Department of Homeland Security Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team in addition to the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center, known as E-ISAC.

FERC also directed NERC to file annual, public and anonymized summaries of these reports with FERC.

NERC must submit the modified standards by April 1, 2019, to the commission for approval.

NRECA recommended that FERC hold a technical conference to gain a more in-depth understanding of the current requirements rather than require modifications of the existing standards. NRECA filed comments with the Edison Electric Institute making that request to FERC in March. Other industry leaders made similar suggestions.

FERC instead issued the final rule late last month ordering changes to the standards.

NRECA is encouraging member cooperatives to consider submitting nominees to the new standard drafting team to participate in the process at NERC. Barry Lawson, NRECA senior director, regulatory affairs, said he will monitor this work and hopes co-op representatives will be named official members of the team.

"It will be critical to have cooperative membership on the standard drafting team," said Lawson. "We believe that the best way to influence the content of the directed standard modifications is through participation in the forthcoming standard development process on these issues."

For more information on the final FERC rule, contact Barry Lawson, barry.lawson@nreca.coop, 703-907-5781.

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