How vulnerable is America’s power grid? The Wall Street Journal recently did an in-depth study to find out the answer to that question, and the results are unsettling.
“Despite federal orders to secure the power grid, tens of thousands of substations are still vulnerable to saboteurs,” writes WSJ reporter Rebecca Smith in the July 14, 2016 edition. “The U.S. electric system is in danger of widespread blackouts lasting days, weeks or longer through the destruction of sensitive, hard-to-replace equipment. Yet records are so spotty that no government agency can offer an accurate tally of substation attacks, whether for vandalism, theft or more nefarious purposes.”
Smith reviewed dozens of reports of break-ins at power stations, including one last year at an electrical substation in Bakersfield, Calif. She discovered that despite federal orders to secure them, the nation’s tens of thousands of substations are vulnerable to attack.
Many substations have little to no security – sometimes only a chain-link fence – and if there is an alarm system in place, the alarms are often ignored.
Abidance Consulting, a security company, inspected nearly 1,000 substations in 14 states over the past year. “At least half had nothing but a padlock on the gate,” Abidance’s James Holler told The Wall Street Journal. “No cameras. No motion sensors or alarms.”
When one utility lost a set of substation keys when a truck was stolen, the staff didn’t even change the substation locks, Holler added.
A big part of the problem with security is that although America’s grid system is federally regulated, in reality it is an interdependent collection of locations owned and operated by utility companies and grid operators.
The fragile electrical system was basically patched together over the decades since the early 20th century. Major power sources, such as gas-fired generators and nuclear-power plants, are linked with substations to carry electricity over a network of long-distance high-voltage power lines. Using computerized technology, substations then lower the voltage in order to deliver electricity safely to homes and businesses.
WSJ calls the grid “a giant puzzle that can be configured in different ways to deliver power where and when it is needed.” While Smith the writer, points out that the motive of most substation break-ins is theft, the locations also are a potential target for terrorists who may wish to gather information for a future attack or cause immediate damage to a region.
At a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) meeting earlier this year on grid security, Gerry Cauley, head of the North American Electric Reliability Corp., said the thought of “eight or 10 vans going to different sites and blowing things up” is something that keeps him awake at night. He estimated that recovery from a coordinated attack could take months.
Differences in power demand, which can be sparked by extreme weather and time of day, cause so much variability in the use of the grid that Smith writes, “What causes a catastrophe one day might not the next, which makes security issues complex. Small problems can quickly spiral out of control.”
Human error is another factor. For example, equipment problems combined with human error caused a large transmission line to trip out of service in Arizona five years ago. While that grid is designed to withstand the loss of any one line, in this case, the current shifted to nearby lines and overloaded them. Then two transformers at two small substations shut down defensively to prevent equipment damage. The result? San Diego experienced a blackout. Street and airport traffic was halted. Raw sewage was released into the ocean. And an estimated 2.7 million households were without power in California, Arizona and Mexico.
The National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences in 2012 examined the various parts of the power grid and concluded that substations are “the most vulnerable to terrorist attack.”
“We’ve known we had an issue for a long time and have been very slow to do anything about it,” M. Granger Morgan, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who studied the San Diego blackout, told Smith.
The Foundation for Resilient Societies has called for an analysis of the impact of simultaneous attacks, both physical and cyber, on substations. Thomas Popik, chairperson of the non-profit organization, told the FERC in June that the grid is “a battlefield of the future” that needs military-type defenses.
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Michael Bardee, director of the FERC’s Office of Electric Reliability at FERC, acknowledged to The Wall Street Journal that his agency could do more to study security vulnerabilities at substations.
Meanwhile, some local power companies are trying to beef up security. The Vermont Electric Power Co., for example, approved $12 million for an improved security program after thieves broke into and stole copper from some of its substations dozens of times between 2012 and early 2014.
With more secure fencing and better security cameras in place, the utility has not had a break-in in more than a year.
However, WSJ found nine recent substation break-ins where theft did not appear to be the motive.
One of these was at the federally owned Liberty substation in Buckeye, Ariz., which is near Phoenix. In November 2013, an intruder cut fiber-optic cables that serve Liberty and the Mead substation near Hoover Dam. It took workers two hours to fix the problem.
Two months later, two men broke into Liberty again and left after they were unable to cut power to a security trailer that had lights and cameras installed after the first incident. Investigators later discovered that most of the new security cameras had not been properly programmed or installed.
The Liberty substation is operated by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), which controls power lines used by utilities serving some 40 million people in 15 states.
A federal audit last year cited WAPA for violations of security regulations, including broken or outdated equipment, poor control over keys to critical locations and failure to install security systems.
Keith Cloud, the WAPA’s head of security, told WSJ that he has received about $300,000 for security upgrades at some of the utility’s 328 substations, including Liberty.
But to protect the system’s 40 most important control centers, he said he would need $90 million. “I don’t have the authority or budget to protect my substations,” he said.
Do you believe America’s power grid is vulnerable to a major attack? Do you think one is inevitable? Share your thoughts in the section below:
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NYC Adds Nearly 4,000 People Who Never Tested Positive To Coronavirus Death Tolls
New York City added nearly 4,000 people who never tested positive for the coronavirus to its death toll Tuesday, bringing coronavirus-related deaths in the city to around 10,000 people.
The city decided to add 3,700 people to its death tolls, who they “presumed” to have died from the virus, according to a report from The New York Times. The additions increased the death toll in the U.S. by 17%, according to the Times report, and included people who were suffering from symptoms of the virus, such as intense coughing and a fever.
The report stated that Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio decided over the weekend to change the way the city is counting deaths.
“In the heat of battle, our primary focus has been on saving lives,” de Blasio press secretary Freddi Goldstein told the Times.“As soon as the issue was raised, the mayor immediately moved to release the data.”
The Ultimate Energizer Review – Does It Really Work?
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The ultimate energizer review – is it worth it?
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Pros and Cons of The Ultimate Energizer
I’ve created this honest ultimate energizer review to help you make a well-informed decision. I’ve tested it myself and now i’m going to share with you all the key aspects you may be interested in: how does it work? is it really so powerful and effective? what are its pros and cons?.
It is non-polluting. It remains popular the ultimate energizer guide pros & cons because it is both a renewable and clean source of energy. Harnessing solar energy is more than a fine idea it’s currently a reality in thousands of homes in a lot of nations around the world.
On the review of the ultimate energizer guide, we will be looking into what exactly the program is all about, the details of the energy generator program, the benefits, pros & cons and our conclusion on the program.
Does The Ultimate Energizer really work?
The device is usable during emergencies. It works without fuels and therefore there are no expected fumes. It is weather proof. Cons of the ultimate energizer. You can only download the program from the official website.
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The ultimate energizer guide. The ultimate energizer is said to work for your home and cut electricity by 82%, guaranteed by tomorrow. The ultimate energizer reviews. It can boost any type of electricity by as much as 5 times.
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The program can benefit you in many ways. Below we are listing the advantages of using the ultimate energizer program for generating electricity:. This device will help you save up to 60%-70%, without investing money in solar panels which can cost you a lot of money.
There are additional the ultimate energizer guide program advantages too, including advantages at tax time, so do your homework on what you might have for being a solar power pioneer contributed back.
Why The Ultimate Energizer is Useful?
The ultimate energizer is a complete guide and blueprint. With it, you get everything you need to know to build your own free energy generator. This generator can be completed for less than $50 if you have some tools already. But i remember reading another review of the ultimate energizer, and the guy said he took days. Maybe he was crafty. Then, you assemble it and get it to work.
You will be guided step by step, that anybody who can read can build it. You do not need prior building experience or massive strength; it is that easy. Building the ultimate energizer takes under 4 hours if you are slow and definitely a lot less when you have help.
The ultimate energizer has already changed the lives of over 30,000 families who chose to power their homes using this eco-friendly device. This is definitely a good investment that is worth your time and money and if you think it isn’t after trying it out, you can request for a refund.
Is The Ultimate Energizer a Scam?
The ultimate energizer guide really show you how to power your house and save tremendously, or is this just another overhyped scam? this system was created after its owner decided he wanted to have a home power generating system in case of any crises or disasters.
The ultimate energizer pdf. It does not need any conventional electric power. The ultimate energizer scam. In this program, you can also build more generator and sell for profit. This product can also be incorporated into the automobile to power an electric motor.
All you need is an open mind and a desire to try new things to get a life in the field of freedom of energy. So, what are you waiting for? it’s time to say goodbye to major energy companies and start using the ultimate energizer guide today.
Watch this video demonstration of the ultimate energizer guide put into action
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