Attacks on power substations are growing. Apparently, five states in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast reveal similar incidents of attacks. Vandalism and suspicious activity were on the rise.
Federal energy reports through August – the most recent available – show an increase in physical attacks at electrical facilities across the nation this year, continuing a trend seen since 2017. At least 108 human-related events were reported during the first eight months of 2022, compared with 99 in all of 2021 and 97 in 2020. More than a dozen cases of vandalism have been reported since September.
The attacks have prompted a flurry of calls to better protect the nation’s power grid, but experts have warned for more than three decades that stepped-up protection was needed.
ATTACKS ON POWER STATIONS ARE ON THE RISE
- At least 20 actual physical attacks were reported, compared with six in all of 2021.
- Suspicious-activity reports jumped three years ago, nearly doubling in 2020 to 32 events. In the first eight months of this year, 34 suspicious incidents were reported.
- Total human-related incidents – including vandalism, suspicious activity and cyber events – are on track to be the highest since the reports started showing such activity in 2011.
ATTACKS ARE REPORTD ON AT LEAST 5 STATES
Since September, attacks or potential attacks have been reported on at least 18 additional substations and one power plant in Florida, Oregon, Washington and the Carolinas. Several involved firearms.
- In Florida: Six “intrusion events” occurred at Duke Energy substations in September, resulting in at least one brief power outage, according to the News Nation television network, which cited a report the utility sent to the Energy Department. Duke Energy spokesperson Ana Gibbs confirmed a related arrest, but the company declined to comment further.
- In Oregon and Washington state: Substations were attacked at least six times in November and December, with firearms used in some cases, local news outlets reported. On Christmas Day, four additional substations were vandalized in Washington State, cutting power to more than 14,000 customers.
- In North Carolina: A substation in Maysville was vandalized on Nov. 11. On Dec. 3, shootings that authorities called a “targeted attack” damaged two power substations in Moore County, leaving tens of thousands without power amid freezing temperatures.
- In South Carolina: Days later, gunfire was reported near a hydropower plant, but police said the shooting was a “random act.”
The Department of Homeland Security has previously warned that power infrastructure is an “attractive” target for domestic terrorists. Last year, three men pleaded guilty today to crimes related to a scheme to attack power grids in furtherance of white supremacist ideology.
“We have seen attacks such as these increase in Western Washington and throughout the country and must treat each incident seriously . . . The outages on Christmas left thousands in the dark and cold and put some who need power for medical devices at extreme risk.” ~U.S. Attorney Nick Brown.
My opinion? These actions bring criminal charges far more egrigious than your standard Malicious Mischief. If caught, defendants face federal crimes of Sabotage. Please contact my office if you, a friend or family member are charged with a similar crime. Hiring an effective and competent defense attorney is the first and best step toward justice.