On December 6, 2019, a bipartisan group of ten U.S. Senators wrote to FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee asking for assurances that FERC fully appreciates the threat posed to the nation’s energy infrastructure by the use of equipment manufactured by Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. (“Huawei”).  The letter praised FERC’s creation of a new cybersecurity division and expressed hope that the new division’s first objective would be defending the nation’s infrastructure against threats posed by the use of Huawei’s equipment.

Huawei (pronounced “Wah Way”) is a Chinese technology company that made headlines throughout 2019 due to concerns that its 5G wireless network and infrastructure equipment may enable surveillance by the Chinese government. The letter, penned by Senators James Risch (R-ID), Angus King (I-ME), Richard Burr (R-NC), Mark Warner (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), explains that Huawei’s line of solar products, in particular its solar inverters, could leave the nation’s energy grid vulnerable to foreign interference.  The letter points to repeated warnings from the U.S. Intelligence Community to political leaders and regulators about the dangers associated with using Huawei equipment in the nation’s telecommunications networks.  The Senators urge FERC to work with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy and its National Laboratories, industry, utilities, and other federal, state and local regulators to curb threats and protect our critical infrastructure.

A copy of the letter is available here.