CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Public Service Commission is opening general investigations into the security against cyberattacks for some of the state’s water and sewer utilities.

The PSC issued orders Thursday to look into the computer attacks.

“Cyberattacks against water and sewer utilities are increasing throughout the United States,” the Commission said. “Cyberattacks threaten the distribution of clean and safe drinking water to the public.”

All water and sewer systems have been ordered to obtain a cyber threat vulnerability assessment within the next 60 days. The Department of Homeland Security is one of several agencies that will provide the assessments for free.

“Once an assessment is complete, a water or sewer utility will be required to develop a plan to address cyber threats,” said the Commission.

The order said utilities should certify with the Commission when and who performed the assessment. The PSC said they will not collect the results of the assessments or anything relating to it.

“This is a seriously developing problem across the nation and the Public Service Commission wants to be in the forefront of helping assure the safety of data concerning utilities and their customers,” PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane said. “These attacks are widespread and will become more common, we fear, as we rely more and more on computers in our daily lives and in running our businesses.”

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