Senator Murkowski Questions Jennifer M. Granholm on the suspension of Executive Order 13920.
During a January 27, 2021 Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the nomination of former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to be Secretary of Energy, Senator Murkowski asked Ms. Granholm about the suspension of the order. Here’s the clip:
Oddly, this question on grid cybersecurity over 2 hours into the hearing (time 2:04:27) was the only mention of cybersecurity in the hearing.
“We have to harden our electric grid”
This is what Governor Granholm had to say on grid security:
“It’s very important. We have 5 million miles of distribution wires, 200,000 miles of high-voltage electric wires. I haven’t been fully briefed on the national security, and the confidential aspects of the SolarWinds cyber hack, but clearly that’s one example and we are getting hacked all the time and attacked all the time. We will have, inside the DOE, a person at a very high level that is responsible for making sure the response to this is coordinated. We have to harden our electric grid for protection of our energy system. I hope that this is a part of the infrastructure package that will be coming from the administration as well.”
This is a welcome statement by the incoming Energy Secretary. In the past, government agencies like the Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have been stumbling blocks to grid security – basically captive regulators unduly influenced by the electric utility industry. Perhaps with Secretary Granholm, this could change. I take her at her word that she is concerned about grid security.
It would be refreshing to have a Secretary of Energy who takes grid security as the national security priority that it should be.
Ms. Granholm, good luck when you are confirmed. We will be watching you on the issue of grid security.