TUA staff met with Project Executive Dennis Kelly for Pegasus Research Foundation (PRF), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit that is working to secure funding for a Cybersecurity Project in the Tennessee Valley, last month to discuss their project.

PRF did not ask for any financial commitment from TUA. They simply requested for TUA to support the project as a well-respected municipal utility and should they be approve for funding, TUA would be involved at a high level, providing input to PRF.

“I do not see any negatives to providing support for this project via resolution,” President Brian Skelton said.

Skelton presented the resolution to the board during the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 21. The resolution states that TUA has “important interests in maintaining the cybersecurity of its networks and grid and in collaborating with higher education and law enforcement to assure that TUA’s networks and grid are as cyber-secure as it is practical, that the cyber-security workforce available to TUA is adequate and robust, and that cybercriminals who launch attacks against TUA’s networks and grid are investigated and appropriately prosecuted.”

The American Public Power Association and the Federal Department of Energy project show that that the demand for Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Facility services will only increase over time and they urge that public power utilities start planning ahead on deployment and operation of cyber-secure EV Charging Facilities.

PRF, an entity with long-standing and close working relationships at the national level with local law enforcement, the Emergency Services Sector and federal law enforcement and Homeland Security agencies, has developed the National Cybercrime Investigators Program (NCIP) in collaboration with law enforcement and has proposed to TUA that it, along with other Tennessee Valley public power utilities, higher education institutions and local law enforcement agencies, support PRF’s request for Federal Funding for cybersecurity-related projects that benefit the participating entities in demonstrating public power, higher education, law enforcement collaboration in operating cyber-secure Electric Vehicle Charging Facilities and in countering illicit use of cyberspace and in enhancing law enforcement cybercrime investigations and prosecutions.

The proposal entails no financial obligation to TUA and if federal funding is made available, it would provide funding to TUA to hire or contract with persons to provide additional expertise in grid security and cyber-security.

This resolution was approved by the TUA board at the January regular meeting.

Katelyn Lawson may be reached at klawson@tullahomanews.com.

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