Attacks on the power grid have been reported nationwide, including Washington – KIRO 7 News Seattle

SEATTLE – Recent attacks on substations in North Carolina have left thousands of customers in the dark lately.

Many are only now getting electricity again. Law enforcement agencies currently believe these attacks were premeditated.

“It’s not just an inconvenience to stop me from streaming my favorite show, you know. What about that person who’s on a dialysis machine? I mean it could be life threatening,” said FBI spokesman Steve Bernd.

But North Carolina isn’t the only state dealing with attacks on substations. In a recent memo sent out by the US Department of Homeland Security, there were reports of more physical attacks on electrical substations in parts of Oregon and here in Washington.

In a statement, Puget Sound Energy confirmed two separate incidents at substations in November.

“We are aware of the recent threats to power systems across the country and take them very seriously.

We are monitoring our infrastructure and can confirm that two incidents occurred at two different substations at the end of November.

We cannot comment on the incidents as both are ongoing investigations involving the FBI.”

Bernd told KIRO 7 that the FBI cannot comment directly on active investigations, but said this type of attack is a serious matter.

“We want the public to remain vigilant. Protecting our infrastructure is extremely important to everyone involved,” says Bernd.

Businesses across the Puget Sound emphasized the importance of strong security. Seattle City Light, which has over 450,000 residential customers, tells KIRO 7 that every employee is trained in proper safety protocol.

“It’s ingrained in what everyone does here at Seattle City Light. Even myself, working in an office building, have to follow a safety protocol,” said Jenn Strang, Seattle City Light’s media relations manager.

Strang said Seattle City Light works with a private security firm to monitor its substations. She also said Seattle City Light is in constant communication with DHS and other agencies.

“We receive constant alerts from the Department of Homeland Security and what we call NERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which is part of the nation’s power grid,” Strang said.

But those who live near substations in the city, like Casey Evans, believe safety can improve – especially since Evans said there have been some sticky situations outside the Denny Way substation before.

“It was actually crushed, the one with the patch on it. That was probably destroyed by the gunshots for about eight months before they actually decided to fix it,” Evans said.

He hopes that after the recent attacks across the country, energy companies will keep their word and keep the grid running.

“But I know it’s an incredibly disturbing and disheartening thing to think about living right next door,” Evans said.

“And we make sure that our customers are safe and secure and that our network is safe and secure,” Strang said.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District declined an interview on the matter. However, it said it had not received any threats or incidents at its substations recently. The district also said it has robust security in place, including cameras and mobile security patrols.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity outside of a substation should call 911 immediately.


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