Updated: September 15, 2020
On May 1, 2020, President Trump signed Executive Order (EO) 13920, "Securing the United States Bulk-Power System," which authorizes U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to work with Federal partners and the energy industry to secure America’s Bulk-Power System (BPS). The Department of Energy’s (DOE) press release can be found here.
The Department issued a Request for Information (RFI) on July 8, 2020, and the public comment period closed August 24. The Department is currently reviewing comment submissions. The RFI was released in anticipation of the Department issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) later this year that would implement Executive Order No. 13920 of May 1, 2020 (85 Fed. Reg. 26595 (May 4, 2020)). More information about the NOPR is forthcoming.
- The RFI can be found here.
- The public may view comments submitted in response to the RFI here.
- Note that Regulations.gov may have reduced functionality on Tuesdays and Thursdays as the beta site is tested on those days, but all submitted comments will be recorded.
About the EO:
The EO declares threats to the bulk-power system by foreign adversaries constitute a national emergency. Serving as the backbone of our Nation’s energy infrastructure, the BPS is fundamental to national security, emergency services, critical infrastructure, and the economy. The 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment and the 2020-2022 National Counterintelligence Strategy describe in detail the threat foreign adversaries pose to our critical infrastructure and the importance of energy to the United States. Accordingly, it is imperative we work quickly to increase protections to the U.S. bulk-power system.
DOE, in consultation with the heads of other agencies, will issue regulations implementing the authorities delegated to the Secretary in this EO. While the EO is applicable to both the Federal government and industry, the rulemaking process will allow ample opportunity for stakeholder comment and input and will provide flexibility in the timeline for implementation.
- Prohibits any acquisition, importation, transfer, or installation of bulk-power system electric equipment which has a nexus with any foreign adversary and poses an undue risk to national security, the economy, or the safety and security of Americans;
- Authorizes the Secretary to establish criteria for recognizing particular equipment and vendors as "pre-qualified";
- Calls for identifying any now-prohibited BPS equipment already in use, allowing the government to develop strategies and to work with asset owners to identify, isolate, monitor, and replace this equipment as appropriate; and
- Establishes a Task Force on Federal Energy Infrastructure Procurement Policies Related to National Security, which will focus on the coordination of Federal Government procurement of energy infrastructure and the sharing of risk information and risk management practices.
The new task force will be chaired by the Secretary and will consult with the energy industry through the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council and the Oil and Natural Gas Subsector Coordinating Council. The task force will develop recommendations for energy infrastructure procurement policies, that it will pass on to the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council, to ensure national security considerations are fully integrated into government energy security and cybersecurity policymaking.
BPS EO Specific Reference Documents:
- Executive Order on Securing the United States Bulk-Power System
- Frequently Asked Questions
- BPS EO – One Page Summary
- Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette and OE Assistant Secretary Bruce Walker discuss the EO with POLITICO Energy (5/13/20)
- Stakeholder Call on the Bulk-Power System Executive Order (5/21/20) (Transcript)
- DOE Issues Request for Information for Bulk-Power System Executive Order (7/8/20)
Related Reference Documents:
- 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (114-94)
- Division F – Energy Security. Sec. 61003. Critical electric infrastructure security.
- 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community
- 2019 Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain
- 2020-2022 National Counterintelligence Strategy
Upon issuance of the RFI, DOE’s guidelines on ex parte communications now govern how interested parties may communicate with DOE about the rulemaking. The guidelines, available at https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/gcprod/documents/ex_parte_guidance.pdf, require DOE employees to have the primary goal of listening and asking clarifying questions during meetings with interested parties. We cannot engage in negotiation or reveal substantive aspects of the forthcoming rulemaking. This restriction is meant to safeguard the integrity of DOE’s rulemaking process and is in effect until a FINAL rule is published. For additional information regarding the BPS EO, please email bulkpowersystemEO@hq.doe.gov.