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Increase of automation in power systems, combined with introduction of open-access competition, has resulted in greater reliance by utilities on computer networks for their power system operations. This paper presents an effective security method to address uprising serious concerns about access controls of utility computer networks, particularly under open access environment. A new role-based access control model and an advanced security management architecture for utility computer networks are proposed. The significance of the model is to extend network access controls from a single domain to multiple domains interconnected with the Internet. This paper presents a method for managing security policies using XML. This method simplifies security policy administration for utility networks. Unlike most existing implementations, the authorization is independently defined, and separated from policy representation and implementation mechanisms. An XML-based security policy and a digital credential are introduced to establish trust and role assignment for users in different network domains.