Micro Grids to be Shielded with Bettered Security Solutions
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Micro Grids to be Shielded with Bettered Security Solutions

By CIOReview | Thursday, March 20, 2014

FREMONT, CA: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has introduced a set of steps to protect the power industry from sniper attacks and threats, reports Brian Wingfield for Bloomberg.

Reportedly, it is the April attack at PG&E’s Metcalf substation that triggered the U.S. energy regulators to safeguard power grids from all kinds of vulnerabilities. The controversy is all about FERC diverting focus from cyber threats to concentrate more on power grid security.

John Norris, a FERC commissioner says, “My concern is that we don’t shift our focus and our resources. The rush to do this seems to be based on a very incomplete set of facts about what happened.”

According to Norris, there is a rising need of technologies that can give alerts on spontaneous attacks and threats happening at power grids. One such tech solution is microgrid, which separates damaged components from the rest of the network during an attack, thereby enhancing the safety walls.

According to Jon Wellinghoff, Former FERC Chairman, power grid’s critical components like transformers are susceptible to attacks and can be safeguarded with improved fencing.

In an interview to Javier E. David for CNBC, M. Granger Morgan, the head of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University said that in the present scenario  physical attacks on power grids are much more dangerous than cyber attacks.

Enhanced sensors to detect breaches or unauthorized personnel and bettered physical surveillance have turned out to be need of the hour, Morgan adds.

On the other hand, some like Gerry Cauley, North American Electric Reliability Corporation Chief Executive Officer believes the U.S. energy regulators’ concern about power industry as an overreaction while other incidents like icestorms and cyber attacks are also in full vigor. As per Cauley, Utilities should enhance their available protection solutions like cameras, lighting, surveillance equipment and key-card access at substations.