Is the Nation’s Electricity Grid Vulnerable to Attack?

Posted March 18, 2014 at 2:55pm

Brian Wingfield examines potential threats to the nation’s electricity grid. And it’s not just from snipers and terrorists.  

“As the electricity network has become increasingly dependent on software and the Internet, the utility industry has focused on combating potential cyber attacks.”  

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week ordered the power industry to identify critical facilities and come up with a plan to protect them from attack.”  

“Regulators are now trying to find the best way to guard against all threats to the generators, transformers and thousands of miles of high-voltage power lines that make up the U.S. electric grid.”  

FERC Commissioner John Norris argues that “the U.S. should focus on technologies, like the development of microgrids, that can quickly isolate damaged components from the rest of the network in the event of an attack.”  

“Ultimately, the steps industry and regulators take to guard against physical attacks will be a balancing act between securing the grid and shielding consumers from high costs. The FERC must approve rate changes resulting from investments to the generators and high-voltage power lines that make up the bulk-electric network.”  

Crossposted at Wonk Wire.