Cybersecurity and Your Cooperative

Bridget Itzen CEOYou’ve heard the stories about information being stolen from major corporations, some of them very close to home. You’ve likely taken steps to protect your data and private information from online hackers or from callers trying to capture your credit card information through a scam. You know one must be constantly alert and mindful of potentially unsecured situations in order to keep personal information safe.

Just as you need to protect your own data and information from hackers, your electric cooperative faces those same challenges with data and protecting the power grid from attempts to disrupt service. Consumers Energy is at work around-the-clock, 365 days a year to protect our members and the infrastructure that allows us to provide essential electricity.

Protecting from Disruptions
In an era of terrorism and natural disasters, electric cooperatives in every state, county, and community – no matter how large or how small – must protect their equipment and electrical system from possible sources of disruption. We do this while also ensuring an affordable, reliable, and secure energy supply.

Cybersecurity has become a household word. From hearing of hacked emails to major power outages in other countries, cybersecurity is something we take very seriously. We’re committed to protecting our members at every point along our power lines.

Working Together to Protect Our Systems

How do we protect your cooperative? It revolves around creating a constant culture of cybersecurity awareness among your locally elected board of directors, cooperative employees, and our members. We have policies and processes in place to fasttrack responses to problems – should they arise – early before a potential incident can spiral into a bigger situation.

When it comes to cybersecurity, we know that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Through our statewide and national electric cooperative associations, we work with co-op members, industry partners, and government agencies to develop effective approaches to protecting our members’ access to affordable, reliable, and secure electricity.

In our communities, we stay alert so that we can quickly identify and act on potential security issues. We ask our members to be mindful of unusual situations and to immediately report them to us or local authorities. For example, if you see noncooperative personnel near a substation, that’s noteworthy and should be reported. Cybercrime comes in all forms – those we can witness and others that can happen remotely from far away locations.

Grid security is not a new challenge. Your cooperative has decades of experience working together with other industry professionals to protect our shared infrastructure, and we are constantly reevaluating threats and taking steps to protect the system.

The importance of electricity in our daily lives is something we don’t take for granted. We know that it’s impossible to entirely eliminate cyber issues from our daily lives. But, what we can do is implement due diligence into every aspect of our business culture.

We remind you that if you see something, say something. We’re united through our cooperative structure, and both our safety
and your safety is everyone’s job!