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PaWARNPaWARN is a statewide Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (WARN) of “utilities helping utilities” to prepare for the next natural or human-caused emergency, organize response according to established requirements, and share personnel and other resources statewide, by agreement. Click here to learn more.

PUC Issues Cybersecurity Advisory on Threats to Utility Systems

Published on 3/10/2021

Filed under: Electric Gas Telecommunications Water and Wastewater

Encourages Steps to Address Vulnerabilities Highlighted by Recent Utility Cyber Attack in Florida and Importance of Strong Cyber Hygiene


HARRISBURG –The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has issued a Cybersecurity Advisory to water utilities across Pennsylvania with specific cybersecurity information following a recent cyberattack on a water system in Florida – and continues to encourage all other utilities to maintain good cyber hygiene and remain vigilant.

“A PUC-regulated utility is required to have a cybersecurity plan for their operations, and we have regular conversations with our utility community about cybersecurity and developing cyberthreats,” noted PUC Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, who leads the Committee on Critical Infrastructure for NARUC – the national organization for state utility commissioners – and is also a member of NARUC’s national Task Force on Emergency Preparedness, Recovery and Resiliency.

A great deal of the PUC’s time and attention is focused on information-sharing about developing cyber threats, connecting utilities with cybersecurity resources, and improving communication between different groups of utilities – because a cyberthreat that appears in one sector may be part of a broader effort to penetrate another type of utility or business.

The Commission noted that cyber issues impact every size and type of utility, along with other businesses – further underscoring the importance of strong cybersecurity practices.

Cyber Tips Following Florida Incident

Based on preliminary information about the Florida incident, the PUC’s Office of Cybersecurity Compliance and Oversight has issued a Cybersecurity Advisory – reaching out to regulated water utilities in Pennsylvania about the importance of strong cyber hygiene.

Key recommendations in the PUC Cybersecurity Advisory include:

  • Operating Systems – Update all computers operating software.
  • Passwords – Use strong passwords and multiple-factor authentication.
  • Other Safeguards – Ensure that anti-virus, spam filters and firewalls are updated, properly configured and secure.
  • Training – Users should be trained to identify and report attempts at social engineering.
  • Respond Quickly – Identify and suspend access of users exhibiting unusual activity.
  • Study Risks – Conduct regular physical and cybersecurity risk assessments on critical infrastructure.

Most of these tips are also excellent cyber hygiene practices for every business and every personal computer user, especially with the dramatic increase in remote work since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The larger number of people now working remotely has expanded the number of possible avenues for cyberattacks and further emphasized the need for constant vigilance by everyone.

Cyber Careers at Utilities

As utilities work to address these new potential threats, the Commission encouraged cyber professionals and young people learning about cybersecurity to consider career opportunities in the utility sector.

“There is a massive state, national and global demand for job candidates with strong cybersecurity skills, and we hope that many will explore possible #UtilityCareers,” PUC Chairman Dutrieuille said. “While our utilities can often ‘hide in plain sight,’ – unnoticed by many unless there is a problem with service – the work of ensuring the safety and reliability of these essential community services can be very rewarding.”

For a new generation searching for opportunities to start their careers, as well as other skilled candidates, like our veterans, looking for new possibilities, utilities represent tens-of-thousands of community-oriented jobs, combining good wages with the satisfaction of knowing that you are serving your neighbors.

About the PUC

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

Visit the PUC’s website at for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.



Michael Klein Receives Pennsylvania’s Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network’s Highest Honor

From Cozen O’Connor website:

Harrisburg, Pa., September 1, 2020 – Michael D. Klein, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Utility & Energy Practice, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Gold Star Award by the Board of Directors of Pennsylvania’s Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (PAWARN).

The award is the highest honor bestowed by PAWARN. Michael was recognized for his years of providing pro bono legal guidance to PAWARN. Most recently, he has helped the organization navigate COVID-19 legal restrictions on water and wastewater systems. Michael also provided guidance on a major piece of legislation that became law in Pennsylvania on July 23, 2020, that provides certain immunities from civil liability to mutual aid request responders such as PAWARN and its members.

Michael represents utilities, municipalities, corporations, and developers in a broad array of water, wastewater, and energy related matters. His water practice includes serving as legal counsel to state chapters of several U.S. and international associations of public water suppliers. He has served as general counsel for public water suppliers in Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. He has significant experience in the regionalization and sale of public water and sewer facilities, and in the siting and construction of such facilities.

PAWARN members include investor-owned authority and municipal water and wastewater utilities who support and promote statewide emergency preparedness, disaster response, and mutual aid assistance for water and wastewater systems experiencing emergencies that cause-large scale disruptions in water and wastewater service to the public.


Information about COVID-19

In order to help you prepare for a potential pandemic, which could result in worker shortages and limited supply shipments, attached are some helpful charts you can use at your utility to begin developing a Depleted  Workforce/Pandemic Plan.

Below are some links to websites with helpful pandemic planning information along with current information on the outbreak. (Place your cursor on the link you wish to open and press the control button on your keyboard)

Cozen O’Connor: Legal concerns surrounding a potential coronavirus outbreak in the workplace and how to best address employee concerns. The link is below.

Updates regarding the Coronavirus will be available on the PEMA Website, which will be linked to the PA Department of Health.

Go to the PEMA HOMEPAGE – then click on the Coronavirus Information link (see photo below).

Or use this link to go directly to the PA Department of Health updates:

PEMA has created a dashboard designed to keep the private sector (which includes water & wastewater) informed and up-to-date on various emergency situations including the coronavirus. To join the dashboard, send an email to the PA BEOC (Pennsylvania Business Emergency Operations Center) at

Johns Hopkins coronavirus dashboard:


AWWA’s coronavirus information site:


Water Environment Federation’s Guide to Coronavirus:


CDC’s coronavirus fact sheet:

AWWA has created a resource webpage for information on Coronavirus. Please feel free to distribute the link to your members, colleagues and concerned citizens –


PA Department of Health Website: Coronavirus Information

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others circulating among animals, including camels, cats and bats.

The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. This virus was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms of the COVID-19 can include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

How can the Coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses spread just like the flu or a cold:

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it;
  • Occasionally, fecal contamination.

How can I help protect myself?

Prevention :

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Do not use your hands!
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including countertops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.

In addition, it is recommended that Pennsylvanians take time to prepare now. View the PA Emergency Preparedness Guide.

Should I wear a mask or respirator in public?

The CDC does not recommend wearing masks or respirators outside of workplaces settings (in the community). A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face or head and covers at least the nose and mouth. Most often, spread of respiratory viruses from person-to-person happens among close contacts (within 6 feet). It is important that these devices are readily available to health care workers and others who need them.

Should I cancel my trip to China?

Yes. The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to China at this time. For more travel information, visit our Travelers Page.

Should I cancel my international travel because of novel coronavirus?

The COVID-19 outbreak has been concentrated in China, and CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to China. For travel advice for other countries, please visit that country’s Destination PageOpens In A New Window or Travel Health Notices on the CDC’s website.

What about animals or animal products imported from China?

The CDC does not have evidence to suggest that animals or animal products imported from China pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.



​Information for:

PA Emergency Management Agency recently launched Keystone Mesonet, an internet-based one-stop shop for weather and environmental data. The website provides users with all PA and federally owned weather data in one location.

Visit and learn more:


Subject: PrepareAthon Action #1: Join Your State’s WARN

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

Become a key part of a network of utilities helping each other respond to and recover from emergencies and the damage they cause.

WARN members provide and receive mutual aid and emergency assistance — personnel, equipment, materials, access to situation reports and associated services.

Whether you anticipate damage or have sustained it, your utility is never alone when it is part of your state’s WARN.

So join today:


Developing Information Management System Requirements for a Surveillance and Response System (SRS)
EPA’s Information Management Requirements Development Tool for SRSs guides the user through a simple process to develop and rate information management requirements. The tool also generates reports for system developers. Download the tool at:

Don’t Get Soaked
The “Don’t Get Soaked” video educates drinking water and wastewater utility managers, board members, elected and appointed officials on the benefits of investing in preparedness, response and recovery activities. It features testimonials from drinking water and wastewater utilities that include information about real world events.

Water/Wastewater Boot Camp Training
EPA’s new computer training — Water/Wastewater All-Hazards Boot Camp — walks utilities through how to incorporate emergency management activities into their programs and build overall resilience to all hazards. Many states have pre-approved the training for CEUs. Download today:

Utility Preparedness Widget
EPA’s Utility Preparedness widget features several water resilience tools to share with drinking water and wastewater utilities. Work with your webmaster to place the widget on your website and connect water utilities to free materials that can improve their preparedness. Get the widget at:


 ———————————————————————————————————————–EPA’s Water/Wastewater All-Hazards Boot Camp Training

U.S. EPA has released their Water/Wastewater All-Hazards Boot Camp Training, a computer-based training for water and wastewater utilities that focuses on emergency planning, response, and recovery activities and how they’re incorporated into a comprehensive all-hazard management program. The interactive training includes testimonials from water utility professionals, as well as links to helpful tools and resources to give utilities a head start on building resilience to all hazards. Many states have already pre-approved the course for continuing education hours for both water and wastewater personnel. Download the training here:

Click on the picture to get the Utility Preparedness Widget

EPA util prep

Along with the Boot Camp Training, water utilities may also find EPA’s Don’t Get Soaked YouTube Video valuable, as it educates drinking water and wastewater utility managers, board members, elected and appointed officials on the benefits of investing in preparedness, response and recovery activities. The Boot Camp Training and other training resources from EPA (i.e., ICS/NIMS training webinars) can be accessed on EPA’s Water Resilience Training page.

Patti Kay Wisniewski

Drinking Water Security Coordinator

Drinking Water Branch (3WP21)

US EPA Region 3

1650 Arch Street

Phila, PA 19103


215-514-7893 (cell)



PUC Offers Tips for Residents During Power Outages

HARRISBURG – With Old Man Winter promising ice and a wintry mix for much of the state, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today provided tips for those residents who may lose electrical power.

When the lights go out

  • Call your utility. Don’t expect that others in your neighborhood have already called. Your utility can provide you with the most up-to-date information on when to expect power to be restored.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and those with special needs who might need additional assistance.
  • Use a phone that does not require electricity to work. Remember a cordless phone won’t work without electricity. Cable and VoIP service will not work. However, customers should familiarize themselves with their in-home equipment and locate the battery backup that will allow for a 911 call, if needed.
  • Keep your cellular phones charged. A cellular phone or corded phone on a landline may work if you are using traditional phone service.
  • Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage equipment. After you turn the lights off, turn one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
  • Only use a flashlight or battery-operated lanterns for emergency lighting. Do not use candles.
  • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer. Food can stay cold for a couple of hours if the doors remain closed. For longer outages, plan to place refrigerator and freezer items in coolers with ice. If in doubt, throw it out. The state Department of Agriculture has more information on food safety.
  • If you are going to use a generator, do not run it inside a home or garage. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system. Generators also should not be run near any open windows or other areas where carbon monoxide may travel into the home such as air vents.

Driving during a power outage

  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion. If traffic lights are out, treat all intersections as four-way stops. It’s required by law for safety.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.

Downed power lines

  • Don’t touch or get near any fallen lines.
  • Stay away from objects or puddles in contact with downed power lines.
  • Notify the utility company.
  • Never try to remove trees or limbs from power lines.

Consumers should contact their electric utility if they experience an outage.

  • Met-Ed/Penelec/Penn Power/West Penn Power: 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877)
  • PPL: 1-800-342-5775
  • PECO: 1-800-841-4141
  • UGI: 1-800-276-2722
  • Duquesne: 888-393-7000
  • Citizens: 570-524-2231
  • Wellsboro: 570-724-3516
  • Pike County: 570-724-3516

The companies also will be sharing information on social media such as Twitter. You can follow them: @Met_Ed; @Penelec; @penn_power; @W_Penn_Power; @PPLElectric; @UGI_Utilities; @DuquesneLight; @PECOconnect; @ORUconnect and @Citelectric. Consumers should not use social media to report outages or share account information or addresses.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.

AWWA National WARN Site

AWWA national WARN information web site.

EPA Incident Action Checklist – Water and Wastewater

EPA checklists for preparing, responding, and recovering from natural disasters. 

Drinking Water Advisory Communication Toolbox

The Drinking Water Advisory Communiation Toolbox provides information on how to plan for, develop, implement, and evaluate drinking water advisories.

EPA On The Go Website

EPA’s mobile website designed for water and wastewater emergencies.

NOAA’s Weather Site

Search the weather by city/state, or look for hurricane/tropical weather watches.

PA River Flow Forecast

River flow forecast site for the mid-atlantic region.

WaterISAC Water Security Network

WaterISAC is a community of water sector professionals who share a common purpose: to protect public health and the environment. Our one-of-a-kind resource serves as a clearinghouse for government and private information that helps our subscribers identify risks, prepare for emergencies and secure the nation’s critical water infrastructure.

  • PA-AWWA Recognizes Our Gold Sponsors

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