U.S. Terror Attack 16th April 2013
Article By Tom Linden
Disaster Survival Network
Did you know about this terror attack? And if not why not?
So what happened? Well Snipers fired dozens of rounds into an electricity substation in San Jose in California knocking out a number of giant transformers that supply Silicon Valley.
This is why America’s energy grid is on alert over fears that terrorists could plunge the country into darkness.
One of the country’s top energy officials has said that the incident last year, which went almost unnoticed, was an alarming demonstration of what terrorists could be planning.
Experts say what was initially recorded by police as vandalism was in fact a meticulously planned and highly professional operation. The attackers even cut underground communication lines before they opened fire.
The fear is that a larger, co-ordinated attack could knock out the grid for weeks or months. Some believe the April attack might have been a dress rehearsal.
I would not have thought that there are individuals out there capable of doing this sort of damage.
And without knowing that there are people intent on doing this damage, I would not have believed it personally.
But now I know how well-trained they were, how well they executed this, I hope that the right people are taking this seriously, as this could happen in any country in the world.
The fact is that the entire United States could go black. If you knocked out enough of these substations in a co-ordinated attack, you could turn the entire country into blackout like the one way back in 2003.
That blackout, caused initially by a computer problem, left more than 40 million people without power on the east coast
It appears that a blackout was prevented this time by re-routing power through other transformers. Immediately after the April attack, they began an overhaul of security at the Metcalf substation and other locations.
I see this incident as a game-changer for the industry and I suspect that the whole industry is working at all levels on how to improve grid security across the U.S.
The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables.
Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on the electrical substation. Shooting for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that provide power to Silicon Valley.
A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night.
With over 160,000 miles of transmission lines, the U.S. power grid is designed to handle natural and man-made disasters, as well as fluctuations in demand but after this terror attack it took utility workers 27 days to make repairs and bring the substation back to life.
Was this the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., and why have you not been told about it?
I do not believe for a moment that this was an incident where Billy-Bob and Joe decided, after a few beers, to come in and shoot up a substation I think this was an event that was well thought out, well planned and they targeted certain components.
The real problem is that many of the system’s most important components sit out in the open, often in remote locations, protected by little more than cameras and chain-link fences.
Transmission substations are critical links in the grid. They make it possible for electricity to move long distances, and serve as hubs for intersecting power lines.
Within a substation, transformers raise the voltage of electricity so it can travel hundreds of miles on high-voltage lines, or reduce voltages when electricity approaches its destination.
The country’s roughly 2,000 very large transformers are expensive to build, often costing millions of dollars each, and hard to replace. Each is custom made and weighs up to 500,000 pounds, and it appears that the system can only build 10 units a month which in my opinion is a recipe for disaster bearing in mind what took place.
I would have thought that it is obvious to everyone that physical damage of certain system components (e.g. extra-high-voltage transformers) on a large scale…could result in prolonged outages, as procurement cycles for these components range from months to years.
Like starting preparing, I suggest that this problem be addressed now.
I think it is true to say that the utility industry has been focused on Internet attacks, worrying that hackers could take down the grid by disabling communications and important pieces of equipment. I believe that the power companies have reported 13 cyber incidents in the past three years, although there have been no reports of major outages linked to these events, but it is worrying that power companies have generally declined to provide details.
Living here in the UK I do not know the average cost of a bullet but it seems to me that for very little outlay a terrorist attack can be carried out with maximum effect by anyone who has access to a firearm.
Perhaps people in the electric industry have been distracted by cybersecurity threats, and have failed to realise that a physical attack poses a “big, if not bigger” threat.
I would have thought that like here in the UK attacks on U.S. utility equipment were mostly linked to metal thieves.
This type of attack has occurred around the world as terrorist organizations were linked to 2,500 attacks on transmission lines or towers and at least 500 on substations since 1996.
“The breadth and depth of the attack was unprecedented” in the U.S., said Rich Lordan, senior technical executive for the Electric Power Research Institute. The motivation, he said, “appears to be preparation for an act of war.”
Hear more from Tom Linden on the “UK Preppers Network”