Shared institutions critical to safeguarding electricity sector against cyber-attacks

Ottawa (August 11, 2017) – The Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) this week in Ottawa participated in a two-day board meeting of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), an international regulatory authority that works to assure the security, reliability and stability of the highly integrated North American power grid.

“Often referred to as the biggest machine in the world, the Canadian and American electricity grids are highly integrated. Our two countries work closely together through NERC to ensure families and businesses have access to the safe, reliable power upon which they rely every day,” said Hon. Sergio Marchi, President and CEO of CEA.

NERC is a model success story for planning and setting standards continentally for the operation of a vast, complex electricity system. Moreover, there is no better example of the promise and benefits of electric integration between nations than that of Canada and the United States. This story is set to become even more compelling as Mexico is further integrated into the fold. An important take-away of this week’s meeting is that shared institutional structures like NERC are critical to enhancing the security and resiliency of the grid’s infrastructure.

“The security of the power grid, particularly in response to cyber-attacks which have grown exponentially in recent years, is a central priority for our electricity companies”, added Marchi. “In fact, when NAFTA was first signed almost 25 years ago, the number one energy concern was security of supply. We have achieved that and today the concern has shifted to grid security.”

The first Canada-U.S. electric transmission line was commissioned in 1909. Since then our two countries have built a strong electricity partnership, with more than 35 cross-border transmission lines to date and at least 7 more in development. This rich cooperation and trade provide important economic, security and environmental benefits for both Canada and the US, and now increasingly Mexico. As policy makers work to modernize NAFTA, CEA believes it is vital that they protect these gains. The current energy provisions work well and do not require wholesale changes.