Expert: White House Seeks Too Much Control Over Power Grid

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James Holler

James Holler, Founder, Abidance Consulting

H.R. 5026 Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense Act or the ‘‘GRID Act” as is it known, is setting the table to allow the current Administration to nationalize the grid. There, I said it!

This piece of legislation passed the House Energy & Commerce Committee unanimously 47-0. Apparently no sane person on the committee read this document as it allows the President to declare an “emergency” – (Page 6, Lines 10-18) Whenever the President issues and provides to the Commission (either directly or through the Secretary) a written directive or determination identifying an imminent grid security threat, the Commission may, with or without notice, hearing, or report, issue such orders for emergency measures as are necessary in its judgment to protect the reliability of the bulk-power system or of defense critical electric infrastructure against such threat. That applies to the entire grid, an RRO or even a single facility – (Page 7, Lines 9 – 15) An order for emergency measures under this subsection may apply to —

(A)  the Electric Reliability Organization;

(B)  a regional entity; or

(C) any owner, user, or operator of the bulk-power system or of defense critical electric infrastructure within the United States.

The GRID Act requires a facility to protect against Electromagnetic Weapons (non-nuclear), Geomagnetic Storms, a direct attack on a facility or its systems using an electromagnetic weapon and/or a geomagnetic storm causing adverse effects on the reliability of the Bulk Electric System.

Um, if you plan on monitoring the sun for storm activity and have a “Magic 8-Ball”, you might be able to figure out how to detect and protect against these issues. If you don’t happen to possess these monitoring abilities, then just plan on getting fined or having an “emergency” declared against you.

Oh, and just in case you weren’t aware, if an emergency is declared against your facility, FERC will step in and take control of your facility(ies) until the President has determined that the emergency is over. This is the same President who recently said at Hampton University that he did not know how to use an iPod, iPad, Xbox or a PlayStation. This is the very same President who wants the ability to declare an emergency on the grid!

There is one shining light in all of this. That light is your ability as a registered entity to recover your expenses in getting compliant either through rate increases or, if that’s not possible, Congress will put in place a “mechanism” (new taxes) so that you can recover your costs. The other light…I think this light is from an oncoming locomotive…is one that allows Congress to force you to turn over all of your documentation, regardless of its sensitivity, for their full review. Mmmmm makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to think that Congress will now be able to review and, at their whim, make all of our power producers documents a matter of public record. Check Please!

Read the entire ruling here.

Showing 4 comments
  • Reply

    Love the headline: “Expert: White House Seeks Too Much Control Over Power Grid” Maybe “Opinionated person” might be a better title. This opinionated person wants us to believe that all 47 members of the House Commerce Committee (Republican and Democrat) and all their staffs couldn’t see the enormous, colossal, amazing, incredible flaws that “opinionated person” sees in this legislation.

    Of course there is another explanation: perhaps the sky is NOT falling.

  • Reply

    Well the sky is not falling yet. This bill has been in the works since 2001 when the first EMP Commission was chartered by the Republican Congress, then continued under a Democrat Congress in 2004. So to claim that Obama is looking to control our electricity like our health care is wrong. Additionally HR5026 is designed to id threats find problems and FIX them. I lived through a 2 week blackout an I don’t want to live through another one or one that’s even longer.
    Protect the grid!

  • Reply

    “monitoring the sun for storm activity” – There is already an old satellite for that, and perhaps this legislation will help ensure it gets replaced when it wears out very soon – funding has been iffy.
    “Congress to force you to turn over all of your documentation, regardless of its sensitivity, for their full review” – Existing law – the Critical Infrastructure Information Protection Act – would permit those who have concerns about security issues to get the data in the hands of DHS, protected from FOIA, so someone might analyze it. Doing so ahead of an event would show good faith in attempting to discover & prevent problems, and thus might help keep the data away from Congress after an event…

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