The U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette on Dec. 17 issued a prohibition order designed to reduce the risks that entities associated with the People’s Republic of China pose to the Nation’s bulk-power system (BPS). The order invokes the authority delegated to the Secretary by Executive Order 13920, Securing the United States Bulk-Power System (EO 13920), and takes effect Jan. 16, 2021. The order prohibits utilities that supply critical defense facilities (CDF) from procuring from the People’s Republic of China, specific BPS electric equipment that poses an undue risk to the BPS, the security or resilience of critical infrastructure, the economy, national security, or safety and security of Americans.
“The bulk-power system is the backbone of our nation’s energy infrastructure and is fundamental to our national security, the American economy, and our way of life,” said Secretary Brouillette. “It is imperative we secure the BPS against attacks and exploitation by foreign adversaries. This order is one of several steps this Administration is taking to greatly diminish the ability of our foreign adversaries to target our critical electric infrastructure.”
President Trump issued EO 13920 on May 1, 2020, and granted implementation authority to the Secretary of Energy. The prohibition order is exemplary of the Department’s commitment to pursuing a phased approach to the EO 13920’s implementation and provides a compliance grace period of several weeks to minimize potential procurement and supply chain disruptions.
The “Prohibition Order Securing Critical Defense Facilities” prohibits utilities that supply CDFs at a service voltage of 69kV or above from acquiring, importing, transferring, or installing BPS electric equipment, and is specific to select equipment manufactured or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of the People’s Republic of China. The order applies from the point of electrical interconnection with the CDF up to and including the next “upstream” transmission substation. Utilities subject to this order will be notified no later than 5 days from the issuance of the order.
The link to the prohibition order and additional information about the Bulk-Power System Executive Order are available at: https://www.energy.gov/oe/bulkpowersystemexecutiveorder.