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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has directed the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) to develop reliability standards requiring owners and operators of the bulk-power system to address risks from physical security threats and vulnerabilities.

According to FERC, the reliability standards mandate that owners and operators of the bulk-power system take at least three steps to protect physical security.

First, owners and operators must perform a risk assessment of their system to identify facilities that, if rendered inoperable or damaged, could have a critical impact on the operation of the interconnection through instability, uncontrolled separation or cascading failures of the bulk-power system.

Second, owners and operators of critical facilities must evaluate potential threats and vulnerabilities to those facilities.

Finally, owners and operators must develop and implement a security plan to address potential threats and vulnerabilities. NERC has 90 days to submit the proposed standards.

"Because the grid is so critical to all aspects of our society and economy, protecting its reliability and resilience is a core responsibility of everyone who works in the electric industry," says FERC Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur. "Today's order enhances the grid's resilience by requiring physical security for the facilities most critical to the reliable operation of the bulk-power system. It will complement the ongoing efforts of FERC and facility owners and operators to ensure the physical security of the grid."

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