Resiliency and Security Themes at General Session

Collaboration, communications and interdependence with grid resiliency and security were common themes of panelists speaking at PJM’s General Session on December 15 in Wilmington, Del. The General Session is a special meeting of the members, the Board of Managers and PJM staff.

Among the lessons learned from previous large power outages is that the development of more accurate forecasting tools– and open exchange of the information they provide – can bring substantial benefits, said Jeff Dagle, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.


Jeff Dagle

One such project is the joint PNNL-PJM application to predict network interchange schedules at PJM, he said.  Dagle worked with PJM CEO Emeritus Terry Boston on the North American Reliability Corporation investigation of the August 2003 Northeast/Midwest blackout.

“We need to get past the culture of compliance and move to the culture of security, Dagle said, adding that currently, much of the emphasis is on compliance to mandatory cyber security requirements. Sharing information is especially critical, given the way cyber security crimes have evolved, he said.


David Andrejcak

David Andrejcak, deputy director at the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security at  the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission discussed the increasing sophistication of cyber-attacks and their perpetrators. He pointed out the insidious nature of the new viruses, such as North Korea’s Dark Seoul and Shamoon.

In August 2012, the Shamoon virus attacked Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, ARAMCO. Several days later, a similar attack days later struck Qatar’s natural gas firm, Rasgas.  The attack erased data on tens of thousands of computers and forced Aramco to shut down its corporate network for more than a week to stop the spread of the virus.

Jonathon E. Monken, Electric Infrastructure Security Council, discussed preparation on every level, the holistic approach to security, what he termed “whole community resilience.”


Jonathon Monken

Interdependence and cross-sector planning are integral to reducing the magnitude of disruptive events, Monken said. He framed recovery from natural disasters in terms of human costs, with electricity as the essential element in sustaining every other sector of critical infrastructure including water, fuel and communications.

Ensuring recovery from a widespread, long-duration power outage requires an understanding of the risks and a collaborative planning effort from both public and private sectors. The keys are developing internal and external essential elements of information, coordinating with emergency management gro
ups so they can correct the decisions on site selections and deployments, and determining what information can be shared on a regular basis.

Andy Ott, president and CEO of PJM and Terry Boston, CEO emeritus, also addressed members at the session.