Federal Analysis Says Sabotage of Nine Key Substations Is Sufficient for Broad Outage
The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs knocked out just nine of the country's 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a scorching summer day, according to a previously
unreported federal analysis.
The study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that coordinated attacks in each of the nation's three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse.
Wellinghoff has voiced concerns about an April 2013 attack on Pacific Gas & Electric’s transmission substation in Metcalf, Calif., that lasted 52 minutes and knocked out 17 transformers. [siehe Blog]
The attack started when at least one person entered an underground vault to cut telephone cables, then attackers fired more than 100 shots, causing millions in damage. Workers were able to avert a blackout but it took them 27 days to repair the damage.
A memo prepared at the commission for Wellinghoff before he briefed senior officials last year said "the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer" if attackers knocked out just nine substations.