Concern over power grid security mounts in Congress
Power industry executives are meeting here this week as federal lawmakers are raising questions about physical security at power plants across the country.
Referring to last year’s sniper attack on a key substation in California’s Silicon Valley, four senators said the incident at the Metcalf transmission station represented “a wake-up call to the risk of physical attacks on the (electric power) grid.”
“This incident came uncomfortably close to causing a shutdown of a critical substation, which could have resulted in a massive blackout in California and elsewhere in the West,” Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and three Democratic colleagues wrote in a Feb. 7 letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), which develops standards for the nation’s bulk power industry.
“We are concerned that voluntary measures may not be sufficient to constitute a reasonable response to the risk,” the senators wrote. “While it appears that many utilities have a firm grasp on the problem, we simply do not know if there are substantial numbers of utilities or others that may have not taken adequate measures to protect against and minimize the harm from physical attack.” TRUNews