As attacks on substations spread across nation, none reported in Vermont

By Guy Page

Vermont power transmission substations have suffered no known physical attacks such as have caused power outages in North Carolina, Florida, Oregon and Washington.

Inquiries to Vermont Electric Co-op, Green Mountain Power, and Washington Electric Co-op, and the Vermont State Police were emailed this week by VDC. WEC General Manager Louis Porter responded: “We have had no threats and no attacks on substations.”

Gunfire Saturday night in Moore County, North Carolina led to a blackout of up to 45,000 people. Power was completely restored by Wednesday. But Moore County apparently was not an isolated incident, but rather the latest and most crippling outage in a series or targeted attacks on substations across the country.

Late November – six attacks on substations in the Pacific Northwest states of Oregon and Washington took place, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported December 8.

On Nov. 11, sheriff’s deputies in Jones County, North Carolina, reported that criminal vandalism caused 12,000 people to lose power for days and that investigation remains ongoing.

September 22 – a forced intrusion at a Duke Energy substation in Florida caused a two-minute outage.

September 21 – another forced intrustion at a Duke Energy substation in Florida caused a nine-minute outage. Three other intrusions of Duke Energy facilities occurred earlier in September.

Motives unclear – officials called the recent power station shootings “targeted” but have not determined a motive. Some sources allege a conspiracy of white supremacists. A widely-reported claim by LGBTQ advocates that the Moore County damage was done to stop a drag queen event is false, local law enforcement said. One analyst said threats to the grid come from across the political spectrum.

The why of these attacks may be unclear, but the “how” appears to be taking shape.

The media outlet NewsNation says it located the database authorities believe an online poster shared with others. “It uses public data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and shows the exact coordinates of more than 75,000 substations across the U.S. and its territories,” NewsNation reported this week.

Vermont utilities understand that security is crucial to keep the lights on.

VDC asked GMP spokesperson Kristin Kelly Wednesday: “With the power blackout caused by shooting in North Carolina, is VEC taking steps to address the threat of physical damage by gunfire or other means to critical infrastructure such as transformers?”

She replied: “GMP provides an essential service to our customers, and safety and security for the communities we serve, our employees, and our infrastructure is a key part of our planning and work as we strengthen the grid every day. We are using the latest innovations, battery storage and system enhancements to achieve this by working closely with local, state, regional and federal officials to best serve customers.”

Readiness urged – Utilities also want customers to be ready for blackouts – whatever the cause. Vermont Electric Co-op issued the following press release Tuesday, December 6.

Storms, vehicle collisions with utility poles – and even animals getting caught in electric equipment – can knock out electricity from time to time, despite VEC’s ongoing efforts to minimize power interruptions. As we enter the winter season it’s especially important to be sure you and your family are prepared.

There’s no time like the present to build or restock your household emergency kit and gear.

Here’s a list of items to have easily at hand in case of a power outage:

  • Battery powered flashlight(s) or headlamp(s)
  • Battery powered portable radio
  • Battery powered clock
  • Back up cell phone power bank
  • Extra batteries
  • Dry and warm clothing
  • Sleeping bags and/or blankets
  • Bottled water
  • A supply of foods which can be consumed with little to no preparation. Items could include energy bars, peanut butter, dried fruits, nuts/trail mix, and canned goods
  • Toiletries such as towelettes/wipes, diapers and prescription medications
  • Manual can opener
  • First aid kit

If a storm that could cause outages is in the forecast, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind:

  • Plan for medical needs/devices. If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered medical equipment, make sure you have a battery backup or make alternative arrangements to ensure their needs are met.
  • Stock water. Fill a bathtub if you have one, so you have water to flush the toilet. (Avoid unsupervised bathroom access to children). Fill large containers for drinking water or buy bottled water.
  • Charge cell phones, tablets, computers, and any backup power banks you have. Be sure vehicles are fueled. If you have a generator, be sure it’s in working order and fueled.
  • Download work/school materials. That way you could stay productive if your internet is down.
  • Watch the forecast. Keep updated with storm alerts and news from the National Weather Service. During an outage, you can get updates on estimated times of power restoration at VEC’s Outage Center.

Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of Public domain
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5 thoughts on “As attacks on substations spread across nation, none reported in Vermont

  1. HIre arm guards with orders to kill, no apprehension needed no court involvement and the best deterrent money can buy. Word will spread like wild fire….

  2. just practice runs I believe. we will get hit internally in a big way sooner rather than later thanks in part to the open border policy, the Afghan withdrawal, and the focus on political opposition.

    • It’s a well known fact that small groups of 4 or 5 just using high powered rifles can easily bring a national grid down.
      There are a lot of experienced ex-military entering the country illegally, connect the dots.
      Be prepared for martial law…

      • Right now, maybe permanently, Vermont is a Woke stronghold. They don’t need to terrorize people into submission.
        They’ve already won. Also, they don’t want to alienate their liberal powerbase.

        • Of course you are correct, but if Martial Law happens (remember the instant Patriot Act after 9/11?) Woke Vermont will embrace it with open arms (no pun intended).

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