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Survey finds security experts divided on smart grid federal oversight

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Thursday, April 26, 2012

A new study conducted by nCircle and EnergySec found that 40 percent of energy security professionals believe regulatory oversight of new smart grid technologies and systems should be handed over to the U.S. government, while 60 percent say it should remain under the supervision of energy professionals.

"In an environment where innovation is paramount, a federal one-size-fits-all approach may significantly slow down progress," said EnergySec CEO Patrick Miller. "On the other hand, potential inconsistencies in regulatory approaches may introduce complexity and risk smart grid landscape. Either model, whether state or federally regulated, comes with pros and cons."

Miller added that the question of federal regulation of the smart grid could be one of the greatest challenges in the industry, and one with the "least obvious solution."

Elizabeth Ireland, vice president of marketing for nCircle, said the differing views likely tie into political beliefs, and there may not be a simple answer to the question.

What regulations that have already been established, such as NERC CIP, come with hefty fines. SUBNET works with utilities to comply with these requirements as they install substation automation and other smart grid technologies onto existing assets.

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