LES participates in North America's largest grid security exercise

LINCOLN — Lincoln Electric System participated in GridEx VII, North America's largest grid security exercise, Nov. 14-15. Facilitated by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC) Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC), this biennial exercise offers complex attack scenarios designed to push the limits of even the most prepared participants to help prepare responses to contemporary threats and security issues.

Since 2011, GridEx has provided utilities and government stakeholders the opportunity to improve industry security and resilience by exercising their response and recovery plans and collaboration efforts during simulated, coordinated cyber and physical attacks impacting the reliable operation of the North American power grid. 

Participating in this drill allowed LES and others in the industry to continue building effective communications procedures and systems to share operational and security information. LES has a handful of "planners" who developed realistic and challenging situations to test LES' participants and allowed the utility to refine the response capabilities to unique threats.

"When an entire community depends on you to keep their lights on, you can never be too prepared for the next emergency," said Eric Ruskamp, LES manager of regulatory compliance and GridEx VII planner. "GridEx is just one of the many ways LES works to stay ahead of future threats to our power supply."

Other local agencies and groups participated in the event, hosted at the LES Operations Center, including the Lincoln Police Department, Lincoln Fire & Rescue, Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska National Guard, NEMA, Lancaster County Emergency Management, Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, the Department of Homeland Security, the City of Lincoln, elected officials and more. 

NERC, E-ISAC and participating entities will apply the outcomes and lessons learned from GridEx exercises to help improve the security of the North American grid. 

More information about GridEx is available at LES is a community-owned, not-for-profit electric utility serving Lincoln and the surrounding communities.