Several Congressmen from New Jersey have introduced the Saving More American Resources Today (SMART) Grid Study Act of 2013. The proposed legislation calls for assessing ways to protect the nation's grid from natural disasters and other threats. The bill was written in response to the damage Hurricane Sandy caused the state's power grid and critical infrastructure.
Bill author Donald M. Payne Jr. says, "We know that natural disasters can wreak havoc on our power systems, as we saw many people in my district were without power for nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy. There has also been a significant increase in cyber attacks from outside actors to our critical infrastructure. These disasters, whether manmade or by Mother Nature, are a drain on our economy and make us vulnerable to potentially more devastating attacks. Clearly, our electric grid needs an upgrade. That's why I am pleased to be working across the aisle in taking the first step toward preventing against another Sandy-like disaster to our electric grid and making New Jersey more secure in the process."
The SMART Grid Study Act authorizes a $2.1 million comprehensive study by the National Research Council; a comprehensive assessment of actions necessary to expand and strengthen the capabilities of the electrical power system to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from a natural disaster or cyber attacks; an assessment of ways to improve the United States' ability to expand and strengthen the nation's power grid.
The legislation also calls for assessing the ability of the grid to integrate existing and future infrastructure, including utilities, telecommunications lines, highways, and other critical infrastructure.
Evan R. Gaddis, the president and chief executive officer of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) adds: "Congressman Payne recognizes the need to prepare for the next disaster, whether that is another major storm or a cyber-attack, and that smart grid technologies are an essential part of the effort. NEMA supports the Smart Grid Study Act as a way to identify the myriad benefits of the smart grid in terms of safety, efficiency, reliability, resilience, and security."