On August 12, 2013, FERC issued an order extending the deadline for responsible entities to comply with the Version 4 Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Reliability Standards. Responsible entities now have until October 1, 2014 to comply; the previous deadline, established in Order No. 761, was April 1, 2014. The CIP Reliability Standards require the cyber and physical protection of assets critical to the reliable operation of the bulk-power system.
A group of industry trade associations had asked FERC to extend the deadline for compliance with the Version 4 CIP Reliability Standards, explaining that, beginning this summer, utilities will need to expend considerable resources to prepare for full compliance on April 1, 2014. The trade associations noted that these expenditures would likely be wasted because FERC has proposed to approve the Version 5 CIP Reliability Standards, and the proposed implementation plan for the Version 5 CIP Reliability Standards would “skip” compliance with Version 4. Under the proposed implementation plan, utilities would begin preparing to move directly to compliance with the more extensive Version 5 CIP Reliability Standards. In the meantime, utilities would continue to comply with the Version 3 CIP Reliability Standards.
FERC’s order granted a six-month extension for Version 4 CIP compliance. Utilities will now need to plan to comply with the Version 4 CIP Reliability Standards by October 1, 2014. However, because FERC has proposed to approve the Version 5 CIP Reliability Standards and the implementation plan for those standards, this order makes it more likely that the Version 4 CIP Reliability Standards will never become effective. However, until FERC issues a final rule approving the Version 5 CIP Reliability Standards—and the associated implementation plan—utilities will continue to face a degree of risk that the Version 4 CIP Reliability Standards could become mandatory and enforceable.