Energy and Utility company CEOs, regulators and utility commissioners gather for 8th Annual Energy & Utilities Symposium

Energy and Utility company CEOs, regulators and utility commissioners gather for 8th Annual Energy & Utilities Symposium

During his keynote address May 29, 2014 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the Hon. Thomas Ridge, the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, emphasized resiliency, a culture shift in understanding, and knowledge that the digital world has subjected everyone to a “certain vulnerability.” Congressman Patrick Meehan also addressed the audience, noting that cybersecurity is a risk that did not exist 25 years ago. He assured attendees, however, that it is of utmost importance today.

The theme of the symposium, “Cybersecurity and the Energy & Utilities Industries” sparked shared challenges and opened the door for uniform best practices among regulators, energy and utility CEOs and members of public utility commissions.

“Is it a clear danger? Is it permanent? Can we manage it? Yes. Yes. And Yes,” Gov. Ridge said emphatically.

When determining priorities, Rep. Meehan said the goal is to protect the infrastructure that affects the most people. Bringing down the power grid and utilities on which we depend (Hurricane Sandy, as an example) would most certainly apply. He strongly urged all companies and individuals to come forward with any and all information that would assist in preventing, containing and recovering from a widespread cyber breach.

Panel discussions included, “Security Initiatives: Regulatory and C-Level Concerns” and “Cyber and Infrastructure Security: Perspective and Best Practices.”

Joseph M. Rigby, Chairman, President and CEO of Pepco Holdings, Inc.; Pamela A. Witmer. Commissioner, PA Public Utility Commission; Dianne Solomon, Board President, NJ Board of Public Utilities; Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., and Gerry Cauley, CEO, North American Electric Reliability Corporation, comprised the first panel. It was moderated by Saul Ewing partner Stephen A, Genzer.

The second panel consisted of  Serge Jorgensen, Founder and CTO of The Sylint Group; Abigail R. Hopper, Director, Maryland Energy Administration; Peter C. Foster, Senior Vice President, Network Security & Privacy, Media, Tech Professional and Intellectual Property, Willis North America; Chris Gidez. Executive Vice President, Global Leader, Energy Practice, Hill & Knowlton Strategies and George C. Tunis, III, Chairman and CEO, Hardwire LLC.