April 1, 2019

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T&T Spotlight: Award Nominations Deadline Extended to April 2!

[Editor’s Note: Over the next few months, we will highlight sessions at the June 17-21 Telecom & Technology conference in Fort Worth, TX. Registration information is here!]

One of the most fun and inspiring elements at UTC’s Annual Telecom & Technology conference is when we honor our fellow colleagues, utilities, and associate vendor members who have made a positive impact in the utility communications field.

To that end, we are pleased to announce that the deadline for nominating your colleagues and organizations for one of several awards has been extended to Tuesday, April 2!

Each year, the utility members and staff of UTC work together to recognize individuals and organizations that have made significant impact on the utility industry. For 2019, we are excited to announce new awards and changes to better recognize the most UTC members – utilities, vendors and individuals around the world. Check out the new award structure and submit your nominations before the deadline!

Below is a summary of each award; click here for a more detailed description.

NEW—Emerging Leaders Awards

New for 2019, UTC will recognize Emerging Leaders across all the UTC Regions. These “Rising Stars” are individuals within UTC member utilities who are dedicated to the critical work of telecommunication infrastructure, IT/OT, security, policy, etc. Do you know someone at your utility who should be recognized? Nominate them today and join us in Fort Worth to celebrate these up-and-coming utility employees.

APEX Award

The UTC APEX Award recognizes utilities that have completed compelling telecommunication projects; whether in emergencies or in steady-state, utility communications technology saves lives, protects property, and provide opportunities for communities to enhance economic prosperity.

IMPACT Awards

Building on the legacy of UTC awards, we have established the IMPACT Awards. The IMPACT Awards will honor the UTC Associate Member Organizations making a great impact on our industry through an innovative and proven solution. Members can choose one of three categories areas: Hardware, Software or Service. There will be three Impact Awards given.

Please contact the UTC Membership and Meetings staff with any questions.

T&T Spotlight: Draft Resolutions Approved by PPD Include 6 GHz, Right-to-Repair

Editor’s Note: Over the next few months, we will highlight sessions at the June 17-21 Telecom & Technology conference in Fort Worth, TX. Registration information is here!]

UTC’s Public Policy Division (PPD) members approved two resolutions which will now be presented to the core utility membership at the upcoming Telecom & Technology (T&T) conference in June.

As required under UTC’s resolution process, any resolutions for consideration at T&T must first be approved by PPD during its March call. From there, any resolutions voted out by PPD will be considered by the core utility membership at the T&T conference.

In its March 2019 PPD call, members approved the following resolutions:

  • Resolution Urging the Federal Communications Commission to Protect Critical Infrastructure Incumbents in the 6 GHz Band; and
  • Resolution on Right to Repair 

Text of the resolutions will be made available well in advance of the T&T meeting; UTC’s resolution process requires that the resolutions must be posted online and made available to membership at least two weeks before the annual conference.

Core utility members will vote on the resolutions during the membership meeting scheduled for June 20. Any resolutions approved during T&T will be considered official UTC policy and will inform the association as it advocates for its members in Washington and elsewhere.

Each UTC core utility member company will have one vote during the meeting, meaning that core members must designate one person to cast the company’s vote.

Additionally, because the resolutions are not final, edits and amendments can still be made.

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

Executive Order on EMPs Seeks Federal-Industry Partnership

President Trump last week signed an Executive Order (E.O.) establishing what the White House bills as the first comprehensive whole-of-government policy to build resilience and protect against electromagnetic pulses, or EMPs – temporary electromagnetic signals that can disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems across large areas.

The E.O. directs action to protect key systems, networks, and assets that are most at risk from an EMP in a dynamic threat environment and will aid in preparedness against EMP events through increased public and private coordination and planning.

“EMPs are a threat to our national security and energy security. The Executive Order sends a clear message to adversaries that the United States takes this threat seriously,” said Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “As the Sector-Specific Agency for the energy sector, the Department of Energy (DOE) will work with our federal and private sector partners to reduce the threats EMP events pose to the nation.”

According to the White House, the E.O. is aligned with the Administration’s efforts—such as the National Cyber Strategy–to secure U.S. critical infrastructure from all threats and hazards. The order directs Federal agencies to clearly define roles and responsibilities and increases coordination and information sharing between Federal and non-Federal stakeholders.

The E.O. directs action in five areas to reduce the risk that EMPs pose to U.S. critical technology and infrastructure systems: (1) identify national critical functions and associated priority critical infrastructure at greatest risk from EMPs; (2) improve understanding of EMP effects; (3) evaluate approaches to mitigate the effects of EMPs; (4) strengthen critical infrastructure to withstand the effects of EMPs; and (5) improve national response to EMP events. It also promotes government and private sector innovation, directing the Federal agencies to further the research and development necessary to build the Nation’s resilience to EMP events.

“Reducing the risk of EMPs requires not only increased coordination across government and industry, but also increased innovation,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “DOE’s unique assessment and modeling capabilities and the world-class capabilities and expertise at our National Laboratories has played, and will continue to play, an important role in securing our Nation against this formidable threat.”

UTC is still reviewing the order. As invited guests to the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), UTC will have an opportunity to participate in the utility industry’s response and partnership with the federal government. Indeed, UTC Vice President of Government Affairs, Policy, and Cybersecurity Sharla Artz participated in an ESCC meeting last week where members discussed the E.O. and related issues.

Through its Security, Risk, and Compliance Committee (SRCC), UTC will educate its members on the order along with the latest discussions with DOE and other agencies as it is implemented.

Please contact the UTC Security, Risk, and Compliance Team for more information.

NTIA Preps Broadband Infrastructure Map, Engages in Spectrum Talks, Administrator Says

With numerous efforts to adequately map the availability of broadband service throughout the U.S. underway, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is doing its part as well, the agency’s top official said.

David Redl, Administrator of NTIA, said his agency recently issued a contract to develop a mapping platform to determine where new infrastructure is needed to support broadband deployment. The map will include nationwide data from each state, along with more specific information from eight states in particular, at least initially, Administrator Redl said.

“These states will provide data and other inputs to the map so that policymakers around the country can make better decisions as they devise broadband expansion plans,” Administrator Redl said in a speech last week.

While the map will include national information, NTIA chose to work with eight states–California, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia—to get more granular data, he said.

“We chose these states for a few reasons,” he said. “First, we wanted to make sure we had geographic diversity. Second, we selected states that participate in NTIA’s State Broadband Leaders Network. This is a group that formed out of NTIA’s last foray into mapping, and is made up of officials from around the country who are working to expand broadband in their communities. Finally, we looked for states that had active state broadband plans or programs.”

Going forward, the map will eventually include details from more states, territories, and federally recognized tribes as well, he said.

Separately, Administrator Redl said NTIA is in a listening mode as it reviews comments on the White House’s National Spectrum Strategy. He noted that NTIA received comments from more than 50 stakeholders, and he has been holding meetings with many of these groups.

UTC and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) were among the organizations commenting on the National Spectrum Strategy. UTC and EEI urged the agency to consider the needs of utilities and other critical-infrastructure industries as it proceeds (Industry Intelligence, Jan. 28, 2019).

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

DOE Announces $70 Million for Cybersecurity Institute for Energy Efficient Manufacturing

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week announced up to $70 million for a Clean Energy Manufacturing Innovation Institute to develop technologies that will advance U.S. manufacturing competitiveness, energy efficiency, and innovation. This Institute will focus on early-stage research for advancing cybersecurity in energy efficient manufacturing.

The manufacturing and industrial sector consumes about 25% of the U.S’s energy. DOE estimates that the adoption of automated controls and sensors provide the potential for up to 15% improved energy efficiency in manufacturing, according to a report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Cybersecurity threats in the energy sector negatively impact the manufacturing and deployment of energy technologies such as electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines. Integration across the supply chain network and an increased use of automation applied in energy efficient manufacturing processes can make industrial infrastructures vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

“Improved cybersecurity can reduce risks as well as catalyze adoption of more energy efficient technologies in the manufacturing industry,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “This Institute will conduct early-stage research to help U.S. manufacturers remain resilient and globally competitive against cyberattacks.”

DOE identified two major high priority challenge areas where collaborative research and development (R&D) can help U.S. manufacturers remain resilient and globally competitive against cyberattacks: 1) Securing Automation and 2) Securing the Supply Chain Network. The Institute will pursue targeted early stage R&D that will focus on understanding the evolving cybersecurity threats to greater energy efficiency in manufacturing industries, developing new cybersecurity technologies and methods, and sharing information and knowledge to the broader community of U.S. manufacturers. In addition, the Institute will address the education and training needed for cyber-secure automated sensors that will enable greater manufacturing energy efficiency.

While the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office will fund the Institute, it will be co-managed by DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response. DOE plans on funding one new award for up to five years, subject to appropriations. Concept papers are due on May 15, 2019.

View the funding application and submission requirements here.

Please contact the UTC Security, Risk, and Compliance Committee with any questions.

Upcoming Events

A snapshot of upcoming UTC webinars, events, and conference calls

  • April 16: Utilities Broadband Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • April 17: IT/OT Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • April 18: Telecom Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • April 19: Security, Risk, and Compliance Committee Webinar—For more information, contact Sharla Artz
  • March 21: Public Power Division Call—For more information, contact Sharla Artz
  • June 17-21, 2019: Telecom & Technology annual meeting