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Category Archives: Physical Security & Monitoring

Physical Security & Monitoring

Ensuring Compliance vs Building Resilience

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The realization that the vast majority of substations have significant security vulnerabilities was crystalized after the Metcalf incident of April 2013, during which unknown assailants caused the failure of 17 transformers at the Silicon Valley PG&E transmission substation in Metcalf, California. Jon Wellinghoff, then Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), later told the Wall Street Journal that it was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred.” Read more

Physical Security & Monitoring

The Copper Theft Pandemic

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Around the time of the financial crisis of 2008, precious metals pricing began to change drastically. Beginning in late 2007, a trend of price instability began to be seen for gold, silver, platinum, and (although not a precious metal in the traditional sense), copper. Read more

Physical Security & Monitoring

Transmission Planning for Grid Security

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Recent physical attacks on substations have heightened the industry’s awareness of the necessity for physical security of critical facilities on the bulk power system. The goal of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) reliability standards is to identify and protect the physical security and cybersecurity of critical electricity infrastructure of North America. Read more

Physical Security & Monitoring

Geomagnetic Disturbances: A Danger to the Power Grid

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In 1989, the Québec grid collapsed as equipment protection relays tripped in a cascading sequence of events. Six million consumers were left without power for up to nine hours. The cause of this major outage was a geomagnetic disturbance (GMD). Read more

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