Israel’s electric grid is under the worst kind of attack. Although Israel took measures to harden infrastructure and limit vulnerabilities, it is yet to be seen if these measures were sufficient to withstand the onslaught seen in recent days.
While it is a world away, the threat of physical and cyber attacks to the Texas electric grid is also a very real possibility. Although both types of attacks have been on the rise in recent years, state and federal agencies have done little to address these threats in a meaningful way.
A recent article in the Washington Post, from our friends Tommy Waller and Michael Mabee says it well.
“This is the reality of modern warfare: Adversaries target the infrastructure a country needs to survive, especially the electric grid. Our own government knows this…But when it comes to protecting America’s electric grid, the U.S. government has been missing in action for decades.”
They go on to point out that “In May 1981, the Government Accountability Office published a report titled Federal Electrical Emergency Preparedness Is Inadequate, warning that the nation’s electric power systems were ‘very vulnerable to disruptions from acts of war, sabotage, or terrorism’ and that the federal government ‘is not now prepared to handle a long-term national or regional disruption in electric power.’
Such news is highly alarming! Did the government move to address these concerns? Unfortunately, no. Physical attacks increased.
“In 2013, the spectacular coordinated attack on Pacific Gas & Electric’s Metcalf transformer station in California, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, brought the grid’s lack of physical security to the attention of Congress,” this resulted in an industry standard on physical security that “required no actual physical security measures to be taken.”
In September 2023, industry leaders once again asserted that no grid security standards were necessary.
“Security experts have petitioned FERC to force the industry to utilize its own accurate engineering models to determine what elements of the grid are truly vital and then apply the standard to those assets. Such a requirement is common sense, but industry trade groups have consistently pushed back.”
Even as attacks against the grid have increased, “FERC has declined to order an overhaul of an obviously ineffective physical security standard despite numerous formal complaints and petitions.”
One could say the industry and your government is continuing to play Russian roulette with the grid while cashing in on taxpayers’ hard-earned money. The decisions made with regards to hardening standards are not in the best interest of the people, it makes you question who is behind the scenes pulling the strings. I just hope that change will come before it is too late. We never know when adversity will strike.