The threat of a successful terrorist attack on the transmission grid has reached a critical level. The Nation’s transmission grid remains exposed and venerable to attack by small numbers of terrorists using easily obtained, low tech weapons. ISIS is using weaponized drones in Iraq and Syria. Unidentified drones have be spotted flying over power plants, military bases, and urban areas in Europe. It won’t be long before weaponized drones are used to hit targets in Europe and the United States.
The Federal and State governments’ efforts to protect the grid from attack are inadequate. All levels of Government and the Utility industry itself do not take a coordinated terrorist attack on the high voltage transmission as a high probability. Instead the Utility industry is making minor physical security improvements to the substations where the critical transformers are located, mostly to stop copper theft but otherwise the Industry is about making as much profits as possible, with the active support of the federal and state governments through regulations. The Utility Industry is making hugh profits (10.5% to over 14% return on investment) from building vulnerable, long distance, high voltage transmission lines to move power from green energy power stations in the West and Midwest to cities on the East and West coasts and cities in between. The Federal Government guaranties excessive return on investment profits to build these unnecessary transmission lines and allows the Utility owners to make even more money with a highly favorable tariff structures and compensation for excessive operating costs.
The state public utility commissions, for the most part, are run by regulators eager to please their future employees, the Utilities. The same Companies the Commissions are suppose to be regulating, These Commissioners are approving Utility rate increases to pay for building and operating these long haul transmission lines without verifying the benefits to local ratepayers.
Instead of State and Federal Utility Commissioners being political appointees and public service bureaucrats, All levels of Regulators and their technical staff should be Utility professionals with years of hands-on, field experience building and maintaining the grid. No one knows better how the equipment works in the real world and how to destroy the equipment!
In addition, Utility lawyers, accountants and particularly the office engineers who made their way up to top management positions don’t qualify. These “leaders” are the reason $ Billions are being spent building, high profit, long transmission lines while neglecting the local, low profit, grids that need to be redesigned to limit the severity and duration of a blackout caused by a terrorist attack.
What can individuals do short and long term to protect themselves and harden the grid that supplies electric power to them not people half a continent away?
Take immediate action to protect you and your family from the worst effects of a successful attack on the grid.
- Make a survival plan
- Stockpile survival essentials
- Protect your survival stockpile
- Demand state and federal Utility commissions be run by experienced, competent professional who know how the grid works and what to do to harden it, as much as is possible. Demand the Federal and State Governments tell the people the truth about the vulnerability of the entire power system; power plants, transmission lines and distribution networks, is to a terror attack. Prove to the people how their efforts are fixing those vulnerabilities- today they’re not even close.
- The unsustainable growth in human population is the real threat to life on the planet. Until human population is brought in line with the available resources humanity, as well as most of the Earth’s plants and living creatures will perish . Demand to redirect all the time, money and resources wasted on preventing man-made global warming be redirected to understanding what a sustainable human population looks like. Major changes in world population growth will have to be made before Nature makes them for humanity.
- Demand all major Cities instead of being NIMBYs (not in my back yard) be required to generate, locally, all or most of the electric power they consume. The power sources can be anything they want but it must be physically within or close to the cities . When the cities supply their own power they can put their transmission grid underground making a successful terrorist attack much more difficult.
Immediate Changes needed
- Require Public Service Commissioners to have to wait a minimum of 5 years before they can work, in any capacity, for the industries they regulate. Anywhere in the United States.
- Replace political appointee and career bureaucrat state and federal Utility commissioners with Utility professions who, know through years of real world experience, how the high voltage grid works, the grid vulnerabilities, and how to make the grid more resistant to the effects of a terrorist attack.
- Require all new power system construction first improve the reliability and reduce the cost, when possible, of electricity to the rate payers both under normal operating conditions and in the event of a terrorist attack on the power system anywhere in the country.
- Make the cost of maintaining the existing power system a Capital expense just like new construction and included in the operating system total which is guarantied a generous return on investment.. Currently the cost to maintain existing equipment is a business expense which subtracts directly from bottom line profits. Ever wonder why Utilities like to build new transmission lines and substations rather than fix the existing infrastructure? Now you know. Profits
- Redesign the local grids to make them adequately redundant and interconnected so that sufficient power can be rerouted around damaged critical infrastructure to reduce or eliminate the requirement to shed load (Brown outs and Black outs).
- Adequate power can not be rerouted unless the equipment is rated to handle the power. Every piece of power equipment, including the transmission lines, are designed to operate at a specific voltage and current. Exceed the design limits and the power equipment and transmission line must be taken off line (deenergized) or it can be damaged beyond repair.