S. 2556 would require the Department of Energy to establish a rural and municipal cybersecurity grant and technical assistance program. The bill would authorize the annual appropriation of $50 million through 2024 for that program.
Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts and based on historical spending patterns, CBO estimates that implementing S. 2556 would cost $174 million over the 2020-2024 period and $76 million after 2024.
S. 2556 also would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to study and establish a rule on setting rates to encourage public utilities to invest in cybersecurity technology and sharing information programs.
Based on information about the cost of similar activities, CBO estimates that the cost to FERC would be less than $500,000 over the 2020-2024 period. However, because FERC is authorized to recover 100 percent of its costs through user fees, any change in agency costs (which are controlled though annual appropriation acts) would be offset by an equal change in fees that the commission charges. Thus, implementing those provisions would result in no net change in discretionary spending.
The costs of the legislation (detailed in Table 1) fall within budget function 270 (energy).