Power Grid – New Threats

Power Grid – New Threats

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, The US Energy Department’s inspector general has said that information relating to the vulnerability of their electrical grid should be ‘classified’ as it poses a ‘significant national security’ risk.

Gunmen Attack Power Distribution Network

This follows an attack by gunmen on an electrical substation owned by PG&E Corp. near San Jose, Calif., on April 16, 2013. Unknown gunmen disabled telecommunications equipment and shot the substation equipment, causing extensive damage that took a month to repair.

Recent studies and computer modelling have suggested that knocking out even just a small number of critical transmission substations could result in cascading blackouts across the whole of North America: a significant national security risk.

Inspector general Gregory Friedman’s office states that all this information “should have been classified and protected from release at the time it was created.

Last month, the commission ordered the a quasi-government group, called the North American Electric Reliability Corp., to develop the necessary standards to protect a small section of the nation’s electrical substations from physical attacks. The findings are likely to be adopted in the Summer.

Attacks on power grids, both cyber and physical, pose a considerable threat to nations worldwide.  Terrorists, political activists or cyber hackers could cause considerable damage to both the economy and health of a country by launching attacks on our power grids.  This adds an added reason to the need to carefully consider our individual power protection.

Our Comment

Any national power grid can be vulnerable to a concerted attacked on the distribution network.  Such damage would leave users without power for an indefinite period, unless a site has its own independent power protection system.

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