As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, companies and governments are taking action, including the suspension of the NBA season and travel bans from the U.S. to Europe. Energy utilities and grid operators are also responding to concerns as the outbreak continues.
- The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the top U.S. grid security monitor, has urged power providers to update their business continuity plans in the wake of the COVID-19 spread. Energy utilities are required to report on their readiness for a potential pandemic to NERC by March 20.
- NERC has also encouraged utilities to check and stock resources with supply chains that may be affected by the outbreak.
- The Department of Energy is implementing important security measures to ensure employees can work remotely if necessary.
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Utility Dive: Utilities on high alert as phishing attempts, cyber probing spike related to coronavirus
- Energy utilities have seen a rise in scams and phishing attempts as hackers look to exploit panic surrounding coronavirus.
- As more employees work remotely, utilities are enhancing technology monitoring to ensure virtual private networks and various digital systems are secure.
- Utilities are prepared for digital system impacts due to previous crisis planning during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009. Utilities are currently working internally to update these plans.
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Utility Dive: Grid operators cancel travel, shift to remote meetings, as industry preps for broad coronavirus absenteeism
- According to the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), electric companies could see up to 40% of their employees out sick due to the coronavirus outbreak. Energy utilities need to ensure electricity can be delivered with a smaller workforce.
- Grid operators are taking steps to secure grid operations and slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Many grid operators are banning international and domestic travel for employees, restricting meetings to teleconference and webinars and limiting facility visitors.
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