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Ameren Illinois assists Japanese utilities to strengthen cyber-security systems

Ameren Illinois is sharing portions of its highly regarded cyber-security system with officials from several Japanese gas companies.

Members of The Japan Gas Association on Wednesday toured Ameren Illinois Gas Control Center and offices in Springfield. Japan’s natural gas industry is seeking cyber-security systems assistance after a large amount of data was stolen from a Japanese utility, according to Shiro Kitaura, manager, Safety Technology, The Japan Gas Association.

“Ameren Illinois management has a high awareness of cyber-security. In Japan, our gas companies don’t have an exclusive team dedicated to cyber-security like Ameren Illinois does,” said Kitaura.

This week’s meeting was scheduled after officials with The Japan Gas Association approached the American Gas Association seeking assistance to fend off future cyber-attacks.

“We are pleased to share with our Japanese counterparts some of the safeguards, technologies, and solutions we have in place to guard against cyber-attacks,” said Ameren Illinois President and CEO Richard Mark. “These Japanese utilities are among the largest gas companies in the world. The fact they came to us for guidance shows the high regard the industry has for the Ameren Illinois organization,” Mark said.

Fifteen representatives of the Japanese group took part in the tour and roundtable discussion. An interpreter was on hand to help overcome the language barrier. Both sides were speaking the same language when it comes to protecting a critical community infrastructure.

Companies represented included The Cyber Defense Institute, Inc.; Osaka Gas Energy; Tokyo Gas; Toho Gas Co., Ltd.; and Saibu Gas Co, Ltd.

Ameren Illinois delivers energy to 1.2 million electric and 813,000 natural gas customers in downstate Illinois, and our mission is to meet their energy needs in a safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Our service area covers more than 1,200 communities and 43,700 square miles. For more information, visit AmerenIllinois.com. 

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CONTACT: Leigh Morris, 217.535.5228, lmorris@ameren.com