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Sun Dec 27, 2020, 09:45 PM

2014: U.S. Risks National Blackout From Small-Scale Attack

Rebecca Smith, at Muck Rack

U.S. Risks National Blackout From Small-Scale Attack
By Rebecca Smith

online.wsj.com — The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country's 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously unreported federal analysis. The study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that coordinated attacks in each of the nation's three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse, people familiar with the research said.

U.S. Risks National Blackout From Small-Scale Attack

Federal Analysis Says Sabotage of Nine Key Substations Is Sufficient for Broad Outage



By Rebecca Smith
https://twitter.com/SmithRebecca
rebecca.smith@wsj.com
March 12, 2014 7:03 pm ET

The study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that coordinated attacks in each of the nation's three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse, people familiar with the research said.

"This would be an event of unprecedented proportions," said Ross Baldick, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.

No federal rules require utilities to protect vital substations except those at nuclear power plants. Regulators recently said they would consider imposing security standards.

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There was an incident in California in 2013 that got ink at DU. The first thread isn't mine.

Sat Feb 8, 2014: Attack on electric grid raises alarm

Here's my OP. I had, or have, the article in print. The Wall Street Journal.'s Rebecca Smith writes on this topic from time to time. She rarely tweets, but when she does, the tweets show up here:

https://twitter.com/SmithRebecca
rebecca.smith@wsj.com

Wed Feb 12, 2014: Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism

This is serious stuff.

Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism

April Sniper Attack Knocked Out Substation, Raises Concern for Country's Power Grid

By Rebecca Smith
Feb. 4, 2014 10:30 p.m. ET

SAN JOSE, Calif.—The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables. ... Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on a nearby electrical substation. Shooting for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that funnel power to Silicon Valley. A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night.

To avoid a blackout, electric-grid officials rerouted power around the site and asked power plants in Silicon Valley to produce more electricity. But it took utility workers 27 days to make repairs and bring the substation back to life.

Nobody has been arrested or charged in the attack at PG&E Corp.'s Metcalf transmission substation. It is an incident of which few Americans are aware. But one former federal regulator is calling it a terrorist act that, if it were widely replicated across the country, could take down the U.S. electric grid and black out much of the country. ... The attack was "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred" in the U.S., said Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time.

The Wall Street Journal assembled a chronology of the Metcalf attack from filings PG&E made to state and federal regulators; from other documents including a video released by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department; and from interviews, including with Mr. Wellinghoff.





{snip}

U.S. Moves to Protect Electric Grid

Congressional Leaders Seek Federal Standards After Report on Attack

By Rebecca Smith
Feb. 6, 2014 7:55 p.m. ET

Congressional leaders in both parties are pushing to impose federal standards for protecting the electric grid from physical attacks in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report detailing a sophisticated attack on a California transmission substation last year.

Peggy Noonan is right.

America's Power Is Under Threat

Declarations

The Metcalf incident is a reminder of our greatest vulnerability.

By Peggy Noonan
Updated Feb. 7, 2014 10:20 a.m. ET

Welcome to my obsession. It is electricity. It makes everything run—the phone, the web, the TV, the radio, all the ways we talk to each other and receive information. The tools and lights in the operating room—electricity. All our computers in a nation run by them, all our defense structures, installations and communications. The pumps at the gas station, the factories in the food-supply chain, the ATM, the device on which you stream your music—all electricity. The premature infant's ventilator and the sound system at the rock concert—all our essentials and most of our diversions are dependent in some way on this.

For some reason, I reran the post in 2019.

Tue Jun 18, 2019: Blast from the past: Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism

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