FBI investigating after power grid lines attacked in WA
In a memo sent out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there have been reports of attacks at substations in parts of Washington and Oregon. Local power companies told KIRO Newsradio that an FBI investigation means they can’t say much about the recent attacks on Northwest electric providers.
Puget Sound Energy confirmed in a statement that two of its substations were vandalized last month, but it cannot provide details because of the ongoing investigation.
“We are aware of recent threats on power systems across the country and take these very seriously.
We are monitoring our infrastructure and can confirm we had two incidents occur in late November at two different substations.
We can’t comment on the incidents because they are both ongoing investigations involving the FBI.”
Tuesday, we learned an electric substation in Oregon was also damaged a couple of weeks ago.
Bonneville Power Administration Spokesperson Kevin Wingert said suspects cut through a fence and damaged equipment at a substation in Clackamas, Ore. over Thanksgiving weekend.
“We are actively cooperating with the FBI on this incident, and we are encouraging other utility companies to increase their vigilance and report any suspicious or similar activity to law enforcement,” Wingert said. “Vandalism or attacks on electric infrastructure is a serious crime and puts our staff and the public at serious risk.”
Wingert says the vandals did not disrupt the flow of electricity.
KOIN, a CBS News affiliate in Portland, reported that FBI agents said it’s possible the vandalism was a “response to an online call for attacks on critical infrastructure.”
The biggest attack recently has been in Moore County, N.C., where two substations were targeted, causing roughly 40,000 people to lose power Saturday. The FBI is warning our region’s power companies about online postings asking people to attack infrastructure across the country.
Many North Carolinians impacted are just recently getting their power back on. Currently, law enforcement believes these attacks were intentional.
Seattle City Light says it hasn’t had any trouble, according to spokesperson Jenn Strang.
“So we are remaining vigilant. As far as the enforcement of our physical security in and around our critical infrastructure,” Strang said. “That includes monitoring for any unusual activity. And we take any suggested threat very seriously. We receive regular updates and alerts from the Department of Homeland Security and local and national law enforcement as well as the North American Energy Reliability Corp, which is part of the bulk electrical systems on the national level.”
The Department of Homeland Security is warning of a risk from “lone offenders and small groups” of domestic extremists plotting to disrupt infrastructure across the country.