January 21, 2019

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Editor’s Note: We’ve Moved!

As reported in last week’s Industry Intelligence, UTC’s Washington staff has packed up its D.C. office and will be moving across the river to Crystal City, VA., in March. Please update note our new address: 2511 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 960, Arlington, VA., 22202.

The Washington staff is working remotely until the new office is ready. Our email addresses and phone numbers remain the same. We look forward to working in our new digs in March!

UTC’s Ditto Rings in the New Year—Literally!

If you watch the opening bell ringing at the New York Stock Exchange on a regular basis, you would have seen a familiar face on the podium on Friday, Jan. 11.

UTC President and CEO Joy Ditto was in the front row as members of the U.S. Energy Association rung the bell. USEA Executive Director Barry Worthington did the honors in celebration of his 30 years leading the organization.

“This was an incredible thrill for me and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent UTC in such a historic venue,” Ms. Ditto said. “My thanks to USEA for the invitation. I enjoyed meeting other members of the Association as well as we recognized Mr. Worthington’s 30 years at the helm. What a way to celebrate!”

UTC joined USEA in late 2017. Through its membership, USEA represents more than 100 energy trade associations across the U.S. energy sector, with membership ranging from the largest Fortune 500 companies to small energy consulting firms.

Ms. Ditto will also be a featured speaker at USEA’s annual State of the Energy Industry conference on Jan. 24 in Washington. This event is typically the first significant industry conference of the year.

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

Quartet of Energy Cyber Bills Introduced in New Congress

Members of Congress have introduced a slew of bills related to grid security and modernization.

Although the federal government remains in a partial shutdown (Industry Intelligence, Jan. 14, 2019), a bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House Energy and Commerce Committee dropped four bills aimed at shoring up the security of various elements of the energy sector.

The Energy and Commerce Committee has yet to take action on any of the bills.

The following is a brief summary of each bill:

H.R. 359, Enhancing Grid Security through Public-Private Partnerships Act

Sponsor: Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)

Summary: According to Bloomberg Government, the bill would task the Department of Energy (DOE) with setting up a program to promote physical and cybersecurity of electric utilities through training, sharing best practices, improving vendor cybersecurity, and implementing voluntary self-assessments, audits, and maturity models. Under the bill, DOE would work with states, industry, and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. It is similar to legislation introduced in the last Congress.

H.R. 360, The Cyber Sense Act of 2019

Sponsor: Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)

Summary: According to Bloomberg Government, the bill requires DOE to establish a voluntary testing program for products and technologies used in the Bulk Electric System for cybersecurity purposes. The “Cyber Sense” program would review products and technologies every two years and require DOE to establish a cybersecurity vulnerability database. A version of this legislation was also introduced in the 115th Congress.

H.R. 362, The Energy Emergency Leadership Act

Sponsor: Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL)

Summary: According to Bloomberg Government, this bill would grant the Secretary of Energy the responsibility to assign responsibility for energy emergencies and security functions to an assistant secretary. These functions would include: emergency planning, coordination, response and restoration, and providing technical assistance to state, local, and tribal entities.

H.R. 370, Pipeline and LNG Facility Cybersecurity Preparedness Act

Sponsor: Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)

Summary: According to Bloomberg Government, the bill would direct the Energy Department to develop a program for promoting the physical and cybersecurity of natural gas pipelines and LNG facilities. The program would include coordinating policies with federal, state, and local agencies and the energy sector; response and recovery coordination following any cyber incident; voluntary use of physical security and cybersecurity; and workforce development.

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

Mississippi House Approves Bill Letting Electric Coops Deploy Broadband

Mississippi lawmakers are closer to passing legislation that would let the state’s electric cooperatives deploy broadband services externally to their customers.

The Mississippi House of Representatives last week overwhelmingly approved a bill—HB 366—that lifts a prohibition against electric cooperatives in the state from delivering anything other than electricity to its customers.

If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, the state’s electric cooperatives would be able to provide broadband service to their customers, should they determine it to be in their best interest.

Mississippi Public Service Commission Chairman Brandon Presley has championed the bill as a means to get broadband services deployed to rural parts of the state. Citing neighboring states, such as Alabama, that have allowed their coops to do so, Chairman Presley believes the same can be done in Mississippi.

“If they can make this happen in Alabama through their electric cooperative, there’s absolutely no reason except this arcane law that we can’t do it in Mississippi,” Chairman Presley told Stateline News Service.

It is unclear when the state Senate will take up the bill.

Chairman Presley participated in a UTC webinar last August on how utilities can enable broadband deployment.

Please contact the UTC Public Policy Team with any questions.

REMINDER! Draft Policy Resolutions for June T&T Meeting Due Jan. 31

Core UTC members have until Jan. 31 to submit ideas or concepts for potential policy resolutions to be adopted at the association’s annual Telecom & Technology conference in June.

This will mark the second time UTC pursues policy positions through the resolution process as approved by the UTC Board in its December 2017 meeting.

As was the case in 2018, any UTC core utility member can submit a proposed resolution or ideas for a resolution by Jan. 31. Only UTC core utility members can submit a resolution; if a vendor member has an idea, it must be sponsored and submitted by a core utility member.

Once all the proposed resolutions are collected by UTC staff, the Public Policy Division (PPD) will formally accept and discuss the proposals during its regularly scheduled February meeting. PPD members will have the opportunity to edit and debate the proposed resolutions prior to its March call, at which point the division will vote on the resolutions. This call will be open to all UTC core utility members.

Any resolutions cleared by the PPD will be submitted for review and consideration by the entire UTC membership at the annual Telecom and Technology meeting in June 2019, being held in Ft. Worth, TX. Resolutions for consideration at the annual meeting must be distributed to the entire association membership no later than two weeks prior to the event. Additionally, the proposed resolutions will also be posted on the UTC Website.

UTC’s core utility members will vote on the proposed resolutions during the association’s business meeting at the annual conference. 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.

Any resolutions approved at the annual Telecom and Technology meeting will be considered official UTC policy and will inform the association as it advocates for its members in Washington and elsewhere.

For more information, please contact UTC’s Public Policy Team. An FAQ about the resolutions process is available here.

Resolutions approved at the 2018 annual meeting are available here.

Upcoming Events

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

  • Feb. 19: Utilities Broadband Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Feb. 20: IT/OT Committee Call—For more information, contact Bob Lockhart
  • Feb. 21: Telecom Committee Call—For more information, contact Brett Kilbourne
  • Feb. 21: Public Power Division Call—For more information, contact Sharla Artz
  • Feb. 12-14: UTC Region 8,9,10
  • Feb. 28: UTC Region 7
  • March 6-8: UTC Region 3
  • March 25-27: UTC Mid-Central