July 12, 2016 — The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) today announced that America’s electric cooperatives will be partnering with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the American Public Power Association (APPA) on a new $15 million initiative to strengthen protection of the nation’s electric grid from cyber and physical attack.
“Cooperatives well understand that no utility is immune from attack. We also understand that protecting the electric grid is a challenge the utility sector must solve. By collaborating with our partners, and giving the nation’s more than 900 co-ops access to advanced cyber security technology and training, we can lift all boats,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor.
Over the next three years, NRECA will use the $7.5 million award to develop security tools, educational resources, updated guidelines and training materials. Continued investments in the people, processes and technology needed to secure critical infrastructure will strengthen the ability of NRECA’s members to meet rapidly changing cyber security threats.
Cooperatives will assess their cyber security programs, identify and address priorities, test strengths and weakness of existing systems, integrate new technologies, and share information that will enable the utility sector as a whole to build on lessons learned.
Together municipal public power providers and rural electric cooperatives serve approximately 26 percent of the nation’s electricity customers. Electric cooperatives, which collectively cover nearly 75 percent of the nation’s landmass, serve 42 million people in 47 states. The new effort will help co-ops work collaboratively with APPA members to build and enhance a culture of security, and simultaneously improve resiliency.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives.