LEAKED MEMO RAISES ELECTRIC-GRID SECURITY FEARS
WASHINGTON – A leaked internal memorandum from the company running the electrical transformers near San Jose, California, that were attacked by snipers in April 2013 admits it is “years away” from promised upgrades, raising serious concerns about the security of other critical electrical transformers nationwide, according to a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Publicly, Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation has been attempting to build confidence in its commitment to increase security following the attack on the Metcalf Transmission Substation by gunman using AK-47s, which caused $15 million worth of damage to 17 transformers.
The promise of upgrading security at the facility came after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered utilities nationwide to enact standards to protect vulnerable bulk-power systems.
As WND reported, under the FERC order, the facilities must take at least three steps to provide physical security. Owners and operators are required to perform a risk assessment of their systems to identify facilities which, if damaged or inoperable, could have a broad, critical impact. Security plans must then be developed to address potential threats and vulnerabilities.
Soon after the 2013 incident, WND reported the Department of Homeland Security, nevertheless, decided to cut back on training to help electric utilities harden their facilities.
DHS is charged with protecting the country’s critical infrastructures, including the national electric grid system, which would be dramatically affected by either a natural or high-altitude nuclear explosion unleashing an electromagnetic pulse.
The internal PG&E memo, dated Aug. 30, 2014, leaked to a local television station revealed that despite publicly claiming it has spent millions of dollars on security upgrades at the Metcalf facility, the company was still years away from physically securing its electrical substations.
The memo said on Aug. 27, 2014, there was another early morning intrusion by unknown assailants who entered the general construction yard and then the substation at Metcalf.
Despite triggering alarms and the presence of two onsite security officers, the intruders were able to steal “several substantial pieces of equipment.”
The memo from Stephanie Douglas, senior director of corporate security, to the company’s president, Chris Johns, revealed that security upgrades have remained “unchanged.” It said those are “years away.”
“These efforts, however, have been undertaken within a CSD (Corporate Security Division) framework and resource structure which has remained unchanged from before the attack on Metcalf,” Douglas wrote.
“Due to the existing structure and limited authority of CSD, little has changed relative to CSD’s abilities to make significant ad intended security improvements,” the memo said. “These improvements continue to be slow, piecemeal and uncertain. Recent events revealed the continued inadequacy of this approach.”