Millions of people across the country rely on power grids to supply all of their electricity. However what if there is a nationwide blackout, or worse, an intentional attack on one of the major power grids. This scary concept became an unfortunate reality on April 16, 2013 when an attack on one of California’s main power grids was reported. The attack was purported to have almost completely wiped out all of Silicon Valley’s power supply. If the attack was any more developed, the results would have been severely detrimental. With a such an unprecedented attack, the vulnerability of electric power grids has become increasingly apparent.
Reports stated that the telephone cables in an underground vault were intentionally cut and 17 transformers were damaged by gunshots. To avoid a crisis and permanent blackout, electric officials had to move quickly to avoid any disruption in service. However it took 27 days to fully restore the damage that was suffered. This attack brings into question the safety of each state’s power grids and cables that so many people depend on exclusively. A better solution would be to incorporate solar power into the power supply for homes and businesses across the nation which would make each person independent and fully protected in any eventuality.
In light of the attack on California’s power equipment, the reliability of the grid as well as its security is now a major concern. With such a critical system so easily impaired by malicious acts, the need for self reliancy is blatant. It is still debatable as to whether or not the attack was outright terrorism or just an act of vandalism. According to Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the attack was performed by individuals with an extensive amount of skill whose intention it was to cause significant damage. His thoughts were that it was a dress rehearsal for a much larger attack in the future.
Although we pay our utility bills every month and count on our energy companies to continue to supply our electricity, it is clear that they are not invulnerable against an attack. With electric grid sites lacking the protection they need, self reliance has never been more relevant. The best way to ensure a continued supply is to explore alternate power sourcing such as solar energy. In the meantime, electric officials continue to investigate the incident and work towards establishing tighter security protocols for power grid locations nationwide.