FERC says sky isn't falling on grid security

Feb. 21, 2014 at 8:27 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- John Norris, head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said vigilance is needed to protect the U.S. electric grid, but cautioned against overreaction.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security and FERC should draft measures to tighten physical security standards to protect the electric grid.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday an April 16 attack on an electricity substation in California was a military-style sniper attack, sparking concerns about the threat of terrorism on the nation's electricity supply.

Schumer said in a statement the "snipers ... are still out there" and it was time to draft new security measures "that will shield our power plants from this type of brazen attack moving forward."

FERC Commissioner Norris said in a statement Thursday the April attack was an isolated event that doesn't warrant an overhaul of federal regulations on the commission's authority.

"I caution against over-reaction in this area," he said.

Norris described calls for erecting physical barriers around grid infrastructure as a 20th century solution to a 21st century problem.

Instead, he said so-called smart grid technology and other improvements will "greatly assist in addressing grid resiliency."

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