Report: U.S. Power Grid At Risk


Despite multiple warnings, hearings, and commissions in recent years examining threats to the U.S. power grid, the power industry has not done nearly enough to protect the grid from a potential attack by a rogue actor or terrorist. That is the conclusion of a new Congressional Research Service report that warns of the vulnerability of the nation's power grid and urges stronger action from private industry and the federal government.

In particular, the report points to recent small-scale gun attacks on substations, like a September 2016 rifle attack on a Utah power station that knocked out electricity to some surrounding areas for up to eight hours. "Some of these smaller attacks could actually be part of people probing defenses, seeing just how easy it is to launch what could be a more major scale attack," says Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon national security reporter who has read the report and written about it. "All we have to really do is look back at the most recent instances to see just how dangerous this could be for someone with relatively crude weapons and abilities."

This isn't the first time Congress has been warned about power grid vulnerabilities. Just last fall, experts testified about the threat of an EMP attack on the grid. Kredo notes that it's difficult to harness security standards for the various grids and network of substations that make up the U.S. power infrastructure, but he believes more oversight is necessary. "We need to get some sort of (national) industry standard," he says. "Right now, because it's left in the hands of private industry, everybody is on a different level with the type of money they can invest, the type of time they can invest."


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