PJM Participates in North American Grid Security Exercise

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PJM joined electricity industry organizations across North America over Nov. 16–17 to test its response and recovery plans to simulated cyberattacks and physical attacks on critical infrastructure.

Hosted every other year by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC’s) Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC), GridEx is the largest grid security exercise in North America. The exercise gives participants, which include grid operators like PJM, utilities and government agencies an opportunity to test their emergency response and recovery plans.

E-ISAC is the primary security communications channel for the electric industry and works with the industry to enhance preparation and response to security threats.

This year PJM involved more than 300 personnel from teams across the company, including physical security, cybersecurity, gas-electric coordination, IT, corporate, government and member communications, operations and legal.

“We have to not only be ready to respond to those events that we have planned for, but also be flexible in these exercises to handle situations that we have never encountered,” said Mike Bryson, Senior Vice President of Operations. “GridEx is invaluable for us to test our ability to keep the power flowing at all times while also learning how we can improve our own practices and fine tune our response plans.”

PJM has participated in GridEx since its inception in 2011. The purpose is to test PJM’s own emergency response capabilities with its members as well as its coordination with industry, regulatory and government sectors in the U.S. and Canada.

GridEx consistently provides a rigorous simulated challenge to PJM’s Crisis Response Plans and offers lessons learned to prepare for the most disruptive events, or combination of events. The PJM GridEx team has just started to pull together the lessons learned from the drill to incorporate into improved processes, training and tools.