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On May 15, 2020, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Critical Electric Infrastructure Information (CEII) Final Rule goes into effect.

The CEII designation will protect and secure critical information about the nation’s electric infrastructure as part of the Department’s commitment to improve energy security while ensuring a reliable and resilient flow of energy to America’s communities and businesses. In this final rule, DOE establishes administrative procedures for how the Department will designate, protect, and share CEII. The rule also provides procedures for DOE coordination with other federal agency partners and industry to facilitate mutual understanding and information sharing as it may relate to CEII.

What is CEII? The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) added section 215A to the Federal Power Act, which authorized the Secretary of Energy to designate CEII. CEII is a category of controlled unclassified information about a system or asset of the bulk-power system, whether physical or virtual, that if destroyed or incapacitated, would negatively affect the United States’ national security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination of such effects.

What does CEII designation mean? A CEII designation exempts the data or information about a system or asset from public release under the Freedom of Information Act, as well as federal, state, political subdivision or tribal law requiring public disclosure of information or record. As a general principle, DOE does not intend to designate information as CEII if it has been made publicly available by an owner or generator of the CEII previously.

How does CEII designation work? CEII designation will hinge on a rigorous review and application of the criteria defining such information. If information is designated as CEII, it will remain so for a period of five years and can be redesignated at DOE’s discretion. The rules also specify how information designated is to be handled and shared.

For more information on the CEII Final Rule, including background materials, federal register notices, CEII submission information, and contact information, please visit the Office of Electricity’s main CEII page.