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North Carolina Substation Attack Raises Security Concerns For U.S. Electric Grid

 

NBC News

North Carolina Substation Attack Raises Security Concerns For U.S. Electric Grid

By Phil McCausland

The recent attack on two North Carolina substations that cut power to thousands of people has raised concerns about security standards for the country’s electric grid and its numerous power stations, which have faced greater threats in recent years.

Outside of weather, suspected and confirmed physical attacks on electric grid infrastructure have been the largest cause of electrical disturbance events since 2014 when, in response to an attack in California the year before, private companies that run power stations were required to increase security standards, according to an NBC News analysis of public Department of Energy reports.

Nearly 600 electric emergency incidents and disturbances were caused by suspected and confirmed physical attacks and vandalism on the electric grid in those nine years, the reports show. There have been 106 attack or vandalism incidents from January through August 2022, which is the latest the Energy Department data tracks. Among the years reviewed by NBC News, 2022 is the first that reached triple digits and it only contains eight months of data.

The incidents, which are self-reported by power companies to the federal government, provide little to no detail about what occurred. But experts said they can range from theft of copper wire to planned assaults aimed at causing power disruptions, as is what is suspected to have happened in North Carolina.

“The significance of this outage in North Carolina in the middle of a really cold winter should not be underappreciated — it’s a huge deal,” said Neil Chatterjee, who served as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, during the Trump administration. “We have to be cognizant of this and take physical security and cybersecurity seriously and there are things we can do in terms of standards and other approaches to harden and protect our critical energy infrastructure.”

Full story https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/north-carolina-substation-attack-raises-security-concerns-us-electric-rcna60428

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