States Increasing Power Grid Security After Several Attacks

In the aftermath of attacks on electrical substations in several parts of the country, states are moving to increase the protection of their power infrastructure against future attempts.

Fox Business reported that many thousands have suffered through power outages in at least four states. Deliberate and coordinated attacks against electrical transmission systems are blamed for the grid failures, including a major outage in North Carolina in early December.

The apparently planned assault on multiple facilities in Moore County knocked out power to over 45,000 utility customers. Now, Republican state Rep. Ben Moss is introducing new measures to heighten security around critical locations on the electrical grid.

As he told the AP, his district became a virtual “ghost town” without heat, food, and reliable medical services and fuel. The result of the planned assault on the area is that “the people are unsafe.”

An early version of the bill would require utilities to implement 24-hour security at substations along with various upgrades in protection. The measure noted that some facilities are fenced and utilize electronic surveillance while others are practically defenseless.

Just a week ago, a substation in Randolph County, North Carolina, was targeted by gunfire. This attack did not result in power outages, and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is investigating. There have been no arrests in either North Carolina attack.

In Washington state, two men were arrested after a Christmas Day attack that damaged four substations. The destruction caused power outages for 15,000 Puget Sound residents.

Officials believe the suspects caused the damage to rob a specific area business.

South Carolina saw at least 12 such attacks last year, leading to a new bill being introduced in the state senate. Responding to pressure from utility providers, the measure would increase the current 10-year maximum sentence for significantly damaging electrical infrastructure to 20 years.

Similar assaults on the power grid were also carried out in Oregon. There is speculation that far-left ecoterrorists may be responsible for some of the destruction and aim to make statements against conventional energy sources.

The Pacific Northwest has been a hotbed for these incidents, with utilities in Oregon and Washington reporting 15 physical attacks last year alone. There were ten carried out in November and December, including the Puget Sound attack that left thousands without power on Christmas.