Report: Intrusions, sabotage attempts up at U.S. power stations

Report: Intrusions, sabotage attempts up at U.S. power stations

Electric grid compounds across the country have faced an uptick in unauthorized intrusions by unknown individuals, causing concern that the U.S. grid is “inherently vulnerable” to widespread sabotage, according to a recent oversight report issued by New Jersey’s Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC), which monitors the threat level.

Following at least eight “reports of intrusions at electrical grid facilities in New Jersey” from October 2013 until January 2014, the ROIC’s Intelligence & Analysis Threat Unit issued a report warning that the U.S. electrical grid is “inherently vulnerable” to attacks that could wipe out power across large swaths of the country. …

However, the incidents of grid tampering are not isolated to New Jersey.

An unidentified individual in Tucson, Ariz., in January, “removed multiple bolts from an electric tower’s support structure, increasing the potential for collapse and electrical service interruption.”

Authorities suspect that the goal was “sabotage rather than vandalism” due to the “deliberate manner of the bolt removal, including probable acquisition of the requisite tools,” the report said. …

Sabotage has also been reported in Jacksonville, Ark., where in August 2013, “an identified suspect … removed bolts from the base of a high-voltage transmission line tower and tried to bring down the 100-foot tower with a moving train,” according to the report

One month later, “the subject reportedly set a fire at a substation control house.”

In October of that year, “the subject cut into two electrical poles and used a tractor to pull them down, cutting power to thousands of customers,” according to the report.

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