Almost one year ago (April 16, 2013) a sophisticated attack took place on PGE’s Metcalf power substation in San Jose, California. First, the attackers broke in to an underground telecommunication vault and cut six AT&T fiber optic lines. Next, at 2 a.m the attackers shot over 100 rounds of ammunition (all recovered without fingerprints) at power equipment including 17 transformers and 6 circuit breakers. The total cost in damage was $15.4 million and took about one month to repair.
After the incident took place power was quickly routed through other PG&E plants. The general population was pretty much uninformed of this power grid attack. Read on,
While the FBI says there is no evidence that terrorists were involved, Jon Wellinghoff, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said the attack was “very well planned and well executed by very highly trained individuals,” a conclusion shared by a former top PG&E official. Wellinghoff added that “a coordinated attack could put this country in a world of hurt for a long time.”
A few things that concern me about this PG&E power grid attack in no particular order…
- Why was this kept quite for almost a year? If this made the news, as it should have, maybe someone would have come forward or known something about this crime. Possibly the powers that be didn't want folks to know how delicate and unprotected our power grid really is.
- This wasn't a low budget or low talent event. The perpetrators are still out there. They knew what they were shooting at to cause the most damage. Unfortunately, I believe it was just a dress rehearsal for a much larger power grid act.
- Whether or not this is an act of terrorism isn't relevant to me. What is relevant is that no group is claiming responsibility for this attack. Again, this also makes me think they aren't done with their planning for a future attack.
During a congressional committee hearing in December, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, said the incident makes it “clear that the electric grid is not adequately protected.”
I totally agree.