Smart Grid and Cybersecurity
NB Power protects the power grid and customer data
NB Power adheres to strict data privacy policies and has made it a top priority to protect its power networks and customer data from all forms of intrusion – including cyber attacks. The privacy of your data is protected now, and we work constantly to safeguard it. That will not change with the use of smart meters. We’re building security safeguards into the design and implementation of our smart grid and smart meter system. Our comprehensive, defence-in-depth approach ensures that we have top security measures at every level. All information will be transmitted over a secure network and no private, customer-identifying information will be collected. Smart meters will only measure how much energy you use, based on time of day, not how you use it.
Smart grid security is a special focus in New Brunswick
The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has Critical Infrastructure Protection standards currently in place to protect the operation of bulk electric systems in Canada and the U.S. In New Brunswick, the Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) has the responsibility to adopt and enforce electric Reliability Standards, including Cyber Security. The Board’s reliability programs are closely coordinated with those of NERC and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC). New Brunswick also has a dedicated agency, CyberNB. CyberNB is home to Cyber Essentials Canada, a set of standards and best practices to help mitigate against up to 80% of common internet threats.
Engineering system security
NB Power takes a deliberate approach to protecting our networks and customer data.
- Defense-in-depth: Our approach incorporates multiple layers of defense across the entire smart grid architecture (from the end-point device, to the interconnecting radio mesh network, to the back-office systems) to assure the protection of NB Power’s networks and customer data.
- Protection of internal data and operation: NB Power uses a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) framework which is a set of hardware, software, policies, processes, and procedures required to create, manage, distribute, use, store and revoke digital certificates and public-keys. This framework is the foundation which enables the use of technologies, such as:
- advanced encryption: Using an encryption (coding) method employed in banking and other industries, NB Power is securing the smart meter communications network. Additionally, we will strip any usage information from transmitted data to make it unreadable to unauthorized intrusions.
- validity checks: all critical roles and commands are subject to multiple checks for validity as well as a final “failsafe” check.
- Testing: As a standard practice, we bring in third party experts to conduct extensive tests and analyses to ensure that all communications, systems and processes operate securely before any sensitive functions are undertaken.
Constantly on guard
Our evolving power grid requires advanced smart grid technologies across the system, from power generation through delivery. NB Power remains committed to safeguarding the electric grid. We have built security into every layer of our smart grid design. We look to other industries for guidance and thoroughly test our security processes before deployment. In addition to being NB Power employees, we are customers too, and we have a vested interest in ensuring the highest levels of smart grid security.
NB Power has partnered with Siemens, a global leader in smart grid and cybersecurity technology, on the modernization of the New Brunswick power grid. Siemens has established a global Cybersecurity Centre in Fredericton to support Siemens’ global efforts to strengthen the cybersecurity of industrial operations worldwide.