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RF Participates in GridEx IV

Since 2011, NERC has hosted a biennial Grid Exercise for industry and government organizations throughout North America. Set up as a tabletop simulation, organizations have the opportunity to demonstrate how they would respond to severe cyber and physical security threats.


These Grid Exercises are created to determine where improvements need to be made in response plans in an exciting and interactive way that does not involve any sort of compliance action.


GridEx IV was designed to challenge utilities and to really test the friction points. The 2015 cyber-attack in Ukraine, as well as the recent spreading of “Fake News” across social media, were key influencers for creating this year's simulation. More than 6,500 participants from 450 industry agencies and organizations participated in this year's Grid Exercise. Participants include the utilities, RTO’s, Regions, the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and Department of Defense. While some participants actively responded to events, others simply observed the exercise.


RF has been participating since the onset of GridEx, and enjoyed the unique challenges of GridEx IV. Representatives from RF participated on the GridEx Working Group in developing the scenario for GridEx IV. Once the master scenario was annualized, RF developed injects (simulated events) specific to RF resources, including our IT Infrastructure and our corporate communications capabilities.


The purpose of these custom injects was to test recently improved internal processes and procedures related to Event Analysis, Situation Awareness, Incident Identification and Response, and Emergency Communications. Throughout the 2-day exercise, RF staff collaborated with participating staff from NERC, our RTOs, and Registered Entities to understand how the scenario was unfolding and what our entities were experiencing as a result of the exercise. We were also able to identify how RF could assist our entities’ response to the scenario.


Going forward, RF will participate in NERC-led discussions to capture lessons learned across the ERO and will incorporate those lessons learned, as well as our own internal lessons learned into continuing to improve our internal processes and procedures.


We will continue to work with others within the ERO to improve communications between and among NERC, the Regional Entities and the Registered Entities so we are all better prepared should a real event of the magnitude simulated in GridEx IV occur.