The U.S. Must Align Communications and Energy Policies: Utilities Need Reliable and Secure Communications to Support the President’s Goals to Improve Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure

Washington, DC—The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) emphasized that the President’s energy and cybersecurity policy goals outlined in his State of the Union address will rely on robust, sophisticated, high capacity broadband networks for utilities and other critical infrastructure industries, such as oil and gas pipelines.   In his State of the Union address, President Obama stated that “no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy,” and he proposed using oil and gas revenues from Federal lands to fund an Energy Security Trust to drive new research and technology. 

President Obama also took aim at cybersecurity threats by explaining that he had signed an Executive Order to increase information sharing and develop cybersecurity standards and challenged Congress to pass legislation to give the government expanded authority to secure critical networks and deter attacks.  Referring to increasing cyber threats to the power grid, financial institutions, and air traffic control systems, President Obama declared, “… [w]e cannot afford to look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of threats to our security and our economy.”

Connie Durcsak, President and CEO of UTC, said that “the President’s speech recognizes the vital role utilities and other critical infrastructure industries play in the quality of life and general well-being of our country.  It also underscores the need for robust, reliable and secure communications networks to achieve these policy objectives.  Improving energy efficiency, increasing the use of renewable energy generation, and protecting critical infrastructure all depend upon hardened, sophisticated communication networks to support a modern infrastructure, an infrastructure capable of providing the fundamental needs of our society, such as access to energy and water.”

She added that, “For our utilities, cybersecurity is the 21st century reliability challenge and UTC is committed to helping our members navigate these complex risks and challenges.”

UTC applauds President Obama’s recognition of the importance of utilities and critical infrastructure industries, and believes that in order to achieve  goals of improving energy infrastructure and cybersecurity, this Administration must commit to securing resources they need -- such as providing utilities with access to spectrum -- in order to  provide the communications networks upon which these goals will ultimately rely.    

Utility information and communications technology (ICT) is integral to reliable and secure utility services. UTC is the premier trade association for information, telecommunications, and operations technologies to identify, innovate and enable mission critical solutions for essential utility services. Since 1948, UTC is the source and resource for ICT solutions, collaboration and advocacy for utilities and other critical infrastructure industries.