Are today’s security requirements enough to protect power grid?


(NewsNation) — As officials continue to investigate a “targeted attack” at two Duke Energy stations in Moore County, North Carolina, many are wondering if enough is being done to protect the nation’s power grid.

The latest incident comes more than seven years after federal regulators approved minimum physical security standards for critical power stations, but experts say those conditions fell short.

“They’re simply very vague requirements,” said Jon Wellinghoff, the former head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

which regulates the interstate transmission of electricity in the United States.

In April 2013, gunmen in Coyote, California, shot at 17 electrical transformers causing $15 million worth of damage. The attackers were never found, but the incident exposed a significant vulnerability in the nation’s power infrastructure.

In response, federal regulators established mandatory physical security standards in 2015. The directive required power operators to identify “critical facilities” and then develop and implement security plans to protect those facilities.

But those standards were not prescriptive and gave utility companies considerable discretion when it came to how and when they chose to secure those facilities.


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