"Thousands Seen Dying If Terrorists Attack U.S. Power Grid" was the headline Bloomberg used on an article about cyber security and the electric grid yesterday.
Too much drama? Maybe not. Read the article and find a new worry to keep you up at night.
"Cyber attackers “could magnify the damage of a physical attack” by disabling computerized security systems or blocking signals to grid operators, the report said.
Other threats to the grid may include terrorist groups, disgruntled or bored individuals, or energy companies seeking to thwart competitors, it said. A 2011 report from the Electric Power Research Institute said that about $3.7 billion in investment is needed to protect the grid from cyber attacks."
So, while FERC tries not to be so helpless about cyber attacks, who's minding the store?
Is it NERC, who is supposed to enforce grid reliability standards? NERC, whose standards are drafted and approved by the industry they are supposed to regulate, is a tool of the industry.
NERC recently fined three related subsidiaries of some anonymous electric utility $725,000 for for failing to have a good cyber security protection system in place. $725,000 is a big deal fine for NERC, but what if this was your electric service provider, and their entire system had been taken out by "disgruntled or bored individuals" before NERC got around to collecting such a paltry fine and instituting a compliance program? I guess that's a gamble anonymous electric utility is willing to take with your life (according to Bloomberg).
Don't sit around waiting for the government entities, or worse yet the utilities themselves, to save you if some pimply teenage hacker brings their anarchy dream to fruition.
Don't listen to these same entities telling you that we need to build a bigger, cleaner, stronger grid.
Don't listen to these same entities telling you that you are and always will be a stupid animal feeding at the corporate energy trough to survive.
How many Sandys do we need to demonstrate that the traditional electric delivery system is broken and can't be fixed?
So, what's the solution? Self-reliance. Smaller systems that can be isolated. Power generation located closer to where the power is used. Distributed generation. The Power Line brings us two stories of microgrids in New York that survived a direct hit by Sandy, while all the traditional utilities shrugged their shoulders at massive failure. Read the stories here and here.
I hope we don't have to wait for pimply teen to grow out of his anarchy phase before our grid "authorities" wake up.