Protecting Our Nation’s Power Supply
Washington, DC-Rep. Donald Norcross (NJ-01) is pushing for new scrutiny of some “smart” utility meters to examine whether they compromise the nation’s energy infrastructure.
Congressman Norcross this week added an amendment to the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015. It calls for the U.S. Energy Secretary to analyze and report to Congress on potential vulnerabilities to our nation’s power supply through “smart meters” placed on residential, commercial, and industrial properties. The Norcross amendment was adopted and added to the bill, which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday.
“As an electrician and now a member of the House Armed Services Committee and Emerging Threats & Capabilities Subcommittee where I receive detailed classified briefings, I recognize the risk,” said Rep. Norcross. “Instead of guns and bombs, the bad guys can use computer keyboards to strike their targets.”
“Smart meters” are electronic devices that record a building’s energy consumption and communicate that information back to the utility company for monitoring and billing. Different than traditional meters, smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central power system. Rep. Norcross pointed to a Government Accountability Office report that shows certain smart meters on the market are susceptible to cyberattacks, as well as findings from the intelligence community of attacks overseas that caused disruptions to power supplies in multiple cities.
“There’s evidence our nation’s power systems could be vulnerable. And those weaknesses could exploited by cyber criminals. We need to take safeguards to protect this vital infrastructure now, to stop hacking before it happens. As a nation, we’re so technology-dependent. Any attack on our power grid could be catastrophic,” said Rep. Norcross.
Congressman Donald Norcross is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Budget Committee, and serves as an Assistant Whip in the 114th Congress.