Sunday, October 20, 2013

Energy Power Grid Communications Incidents

Energy Incidents ---

Energy Communications Grid Incidents ---
Oils spills, attacks on power grid, electrical explosions, communications, power grid attacks
Timeline Of Not Neccesarily Terrorism

Also see copper Wire Theft which can be cover story for power / communications sabotage. It is not worth risking life and limb for copper, but it is for a sabotage attack. If it is an attack on communications or power grid or fuel infrastructure, it could be a sign of a terrorist attack.

Also see Power Pole Attacks where people, usually but not always DUI "accidentally" or deliberately crash into utility and power poles, often cutting off power to hundreds or thousands of homes and businesses. Sometimes the driver flees in a hit and run, and has no apparent reason to crash into the pole other than to sabotage power. Such incidents are usually treated as accidents or drunk driving, and rarely even suspected to be deliberate attacks, but this database tracks as many as a half-dozen crashes in the US alone, plus more in Canada and overseas. Destroying power poles by the dozen is a tactic of terrorists in Thailand and Ukraine, it is possible that even a neighborhood pole that where power is restored in hours is still considered a successful attack.
3 Physical Security Considerations for Electric Power Systems ...
terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System focuses on measures that could ... High-value choke points, those facilities which, if destroyed, will significantly ...

7 Restoration of the Electric Power System After an Attack | Terrorism ...
Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System focuses on measures that ... routinely stock large supplies of distribution poles, distribution transformers, and ... A “triggering event” is defined as an act of terrorism that destroys or disables one ...

Restoration of the Electric Power System After an Attack

...Terrorists can be expected to choose targets and inflict damage in order to impose maximum disruption and make speedy restoration difficult. Major substations and transmission lines are the most likely targets....Depending on the availability of spares, restoration could take weeks, months, or even longer.... Moreover, even given advance planning and preparation such as stockpiling of equipment, terrorists might compound damage by mounting a staged attack on additional or replacement facilities. After an attack, law enforcement and intelligence agencies will want to carefully study the damage in order to determine what was done and who did it...Simply blowing up or knocking down a transmission tower can cause problems, but typically repairs can be done quickly. Transmission lines are most vulnerable when there are long stretches of suspension towers interspersed with only a very few dead-end or stop-loss structures.2 In such cases the destruction of a few carefully chosen towers can result in a domino effect (cascading collapse) that can bring down many kilometers of line and towers....utilities that operate in hurricane-prone regions routinely stock large supplies of distribution poles, distribution transformers, and similar equipment 

Panel: Electrical grid vulnerable to terrorist attack - ABC News
Electrical Grid Vulnerable to Terrorist Attack. ... restored quickly, an EMP could damage or destroy power systems, leaving them inoperable for months or longer.

[PDF]Electric Utility Infrastructure Vulnerabilities: Transformers, Towers, and ...
by A Abel - ‎2004 - ‎Cited by 4 - ‎Related articlesApr 9, 2004 - damage or a terrorist attack against the electric power industry is a widespread ......destruction of which would negatively affect security, economic security, .... size from small, pole-mounted units that serve a dozen homes to ...

WSJ Report Exposes America's Vulnerable Electric Grid -
Jul 13, 2016 - America's electric grid is based around power plants, which ferry electricity ... From there, the electricity feeds into a series of substations as the ...

From Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System:
Osama bin Laden has stated that the objective of the al-Qaeda Islamic terrorist movement is to “target key sectors of the U.S. economy.”1 The so-called mastermind of the 9/11 operation, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, also stated that al-Qaeda’s goal was “to launch spectacular attacks on vulnerable symbolic targets.” It is evident from the various attacks carried out by terrorists groups against power systems elsewhere in the world that many such groups consider electric power systems to be on their list of potential targets.

Potential terrorist attacks against electric power systems include sabotage; physical assault; disruption of sensors, information systems, and computer networks; tampering with process safety; disruption of fail-safe systems; and indirect attacks such as disruption of water, fuel, or key personnel

Ranked by affected users:


April 7, 2015  Power Outage in Washington, DC – Llewellyn Rockwell Apr 11, 2015 - The April 7th, 2015 power outage in Washington DC is curious to say the least. ... Just the day before in Turkey there was another power failure.  instantaneously, the government declare it was not a terrorist attack.  Are we dealing with a series of unfortunate events? Over 90% of Turkey (about 70 million people) went without power. Unaffected regions were Van and Hakkari provinces which are fed by electricity from Iran.[7]

April 1, 2015 Rome Italy where the power supply was out for hours effecting the Lazio region. That included the major Roman airport of Fiumicino. The cause of that event somehow remains unknown.

70 million affected March 31, 2015 Turkey power outage   Power outage hits Turkey - officials won't rule out terrorism. Turkey struck by biggest power cut in 15 years rt Struck nearly the entire country, except fr a section that gets power from Iran. Cause still not determined by April. Caused chaos in more than a dozen cities.  Officials confirmed caused by a glitch in Turkey's electricity power transmission network . Worst blackout since the devastating Marmara earthquake of 1999. Chaos in the capital and much of the country drew more than 70 million Turks into chaos.

1 million March 27, 2015 Northern Netherlands power failure with nearly three million people experienced a devastating power failure. Thousands were stuck on trains, trams and elevators. The official statement was that a high-voltage switch-gear in the Amsterdam suburb Diemen failed due to the power overloading. A technical problem in one of the main power grids in North Holland caused 1 million households to not have power for at least one hour.[142]

140 million January 26, 2015, terrorist attacks left 80% of Pakistan without power (some 140 million people) due to a backward surge after an explosion at a power station in Baluchistan.[3]

December 24, 2014 Copper theft spree targets area cell-phone towers The State Journal‑Register Detectives from the Sangamon County Sheriff's Office and the Springfield Police Department are investigating a spate of copper thefts from ...

August 23, 2014 Vandals leave 1,200 Yelm families without phone service KOMO  YELM, Wash. -- Hundreds of families were without phone service Saturday when vandals broke in and destroyed a cable communication service building in Yelm. The apparent burglary left Fair Point Communications with $70,000 in repairs and residents of the gated Clearwood Community without a life line. (sabotage)

July 3, 2014 UK Substation Vandals Saved by Earthing Systems | GreyMatters Due to the electrical earthing in place, the spread of electricity was contained and the vandals were able to swagger away unscathed Electricity substation damaged in Castletown  Isle of Man News Manx Utilities which found the damage in the substation close to the railway line. It says people have been in the compound drinking lager and have cut their way into the cable box of the high voltage switchgear. (alcohol is cover story for deliberate attack on power substation)

1 man injured, 2,800 customers cut power Wednesday June 18, 2014 Man Burned Cutting Wires to Substation in Renton Washington In Renton, Washington, a man was nearly electrocuted early Wednesday when he cut a copper wire on top of a high-voltage transformer at an electrical substation, knocking out power to 2,800 customers. There were reports of an 4:30 a.m. at the Puget Sound Energy substation between Renton and Issaquah. Firefighters removed the injured man who they thought was stealing wire and took him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of his body. Service was restored by 8:30 a.m.

Wednesday June 11, 2014 Arizona Power Plant Fuel Tank Explosion  was caused by a makeshift incendiary device which was placed next to a large capacity diesel fuel tank, which spilled but did not ignite. The explosion is being investigated by the FBI, and took place around 9:30 a.m. at the UniSource Energy Services Valencia Plant in Nogales.  Fox

28.4 million without power: June 10, 2014 Yemen Power Line Attack Plunges All of Yemen Into Darkness The entire country of Yemen was left without electricity for two days after tribesmen insurgents sabotaged power lines linking the capital Sana'a and power plantes in the contested Ma'rib Governorate. Yemen warplanes struck back at suspected saboteurs. Insurgent attacks on power lines and trucks carrying fuel to the capital have deprived residents and government forces of electricity and fuel over the past days.

1 killed May 17, 2014 Mummified Man With Bolt Cutters in Manhole Electrocuted In Tucson AZ, a man holding bolt cutters in a high voltage utility vault was found mummified May 17 after workers investigated a power surge. The manhole was last opened in 2006. Authorities did not speculate on a motive, but it could have been sabotage similar to attacks on substations

April 27, 2014 Gilsum, New Hampshire: 83 year old driver's car crashes into utility pole, cutting of power to several towns. She may have had a medical condition (or not)

affected: 20,000 customers affected for 1 day April 24, 2014 WA Comcast Fiber Communications Cable Cut Thieves or sabotage agents stole or just destroyed 200 feet of fiber optic cable from power poles in Snohomish County, Washington north of Seattle, leaving more than 20,000 Comcast customers without service. Homes and business customers lost television, internet and phone service. Company spokesman Steve Kipp thinks thieves might have thought it was copper wire. Nobody suspects it could be like the attack on the substation in San Jose where 2 or more men went down a manhole to sever optic communication lines while they shot holes in a nearby substation.

Vandals leave thousands without phone service in city ...guyanatimesgy Apr 22, 2014 - The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company has expressed regrets to thousands of its customers whose telephone services are affected ...

 Mexico Gunmen Attack Power Grid, Gas Stations Sunday October 27, 2013 Just after midnight, attackers armed with gasoline bombs showed Al Qaeda like organization with they simultaneously attacked and disabled substations in at least 9 cities in the Mexican state of Michoacan. The following blackouts affected 1 million people for 15 hours, and were used as cover to burn four gasoline stations in another attack on energy infrastructure. There were no deaths or serious injuries. Michoacan has been controlled by drug cartels which may have seized a city hall, and suspected of a series of attacks on government forces in July in which 20 criminals and two federal police officers were killed.

Jason Woodring Power Grid Terrorist Arrested in Arkansas
October 15, 2013 In Little Rock, Arkansas, 37 year old Jason Woodring was arrested for a spree of attacks on the power grid east of the city. He knocked out power to thousands, set fire to an Entergy substation and tried to down two high voltage power lines towers using a moving train. On August 21, one of multi-state utility Entergy’s high-voltage transmission lines in Cabot was downed. A cable was set up to catch a moving train to bring down the tower, and removed bolts from the base of the 100-foot tower which also contributed to its fall. A fire was set at a control house at a substation in Keo on September 29 along with a message inscribed on a control panel "You should have expected U.S." On October 5 lines were cut, and then a tractor pulled down two electrical poles in Cabot, cutting off power to thousands. The power lines were owned by First Electric Cooperative. Woodring is a a self-employed pool maintenance worker. Officials were informed of an explosion near Woodring's house, and found a blue hose matching one found at the scene of one of the attacks. The attacks caused more than $2.1 million in damages. No one was injured, and the authorities did not disclose a motive. Woodring was charged with destruction of an energy facilities after he admitted to F.B.I. agents that he was responsible for the series of attacks starting in August.

North Dakota Largest US Pipeline Oil Spills 20,000 Barrels Farmer Steve Jensen was harvesting wheat on his land in North Dakota when he discovered a leak covering the area of 7 football fields six inches deep on Sept. 29, 2013, but was not reported to the public until 2 weeks later. The massive spill of over 20,000 barrels of oil has been called the largest pipeline leak on U.S. soil, and may take 2 or 3 years to clean up until the land can produce wheat again. The Tesoro spill was four times larger than a pipeline rupture in late March that happened north of Little Rock, Arkansas.

UC Berkeley Explosion After Power Failure September 20, 2013 Explosion at University of California Berkeley at 8:30 p.m. after a power outage at 4:30 p.m. It sent flames two stories high two lanes wide, and sent a manhole cover into the air. It was suspecte to be related to theft of copper wire thieves off camps. Campus evacuated, and one person hospitalized for minor burns. Officials believe it was a sophisticated attack that stole or sabotaged key parts of their system and classes would be cancelled until safety can be established. 20 students were stranded in elevators in dormitories. An engineer stated "Somebody attacked our system. Somebody stole key parts of our system."

St Paul Park Oil Pump Fire September 22, 2013 St. Paul Park Minnesota: A fire started at a crude oil pump at an oil refinery in the morning. There were no injuries and no cause was given for the fire

September 14, 2013 In Johnstown PA, driver Thomas R. Sabo charged with driving at excessive speed after he went out of control on a wet roadway, crashed ito the Bensano electrical power substation, through a steel fence and resting after striking 3 breakers and downing electrical wires, and fleeing the scene. Not classified as possible power sabotage attack on a substation but just lousy driving. report

Stopping copper theft becomes big-time business - CNBC Aug 12, 2013 - The FBI has said copper theft is threatening U.S. critical infrastructure—electrical substations, cellular towers, telephone land lines, railroads, ...

March 10, 2013 Libya Monitor: A sabotage attack on cables feeding an electricity substation in Tajoura, a suburb of Tripoli, has forced the plant to close.

Fuel Pump Fire at Boston Logan Airport September 17, 2011 A fuel pump caught fire Boston Logan International Airport, sending smoke into the air and cancelling or delaying flights. A spokesman stated "In my 37 years here at the airport, I can't remember where we've had this kind of situation where the fuel systems have been shut down". Because of the amount of surveillance in the area, the fire wasn't considered suspicious. A similarly unusual fire occured in Miami in 2011 which essentially shut down refueling except by truck.

About Lac-Mégantic Derailment Oil Railcar Explosion July 6, 2013 the Lac-Mégantic derailment occurred in the town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, at approximately 01:15 EDT,[2][3] on July 6, 2013, when a 72-car[4] driverless freight train carrying crude oil ran away after air brakes lost power to an engine that caught fire while parked. It derailed at high speed and four freight cars caught fire and exploded. Thirteen people have been confirmed dead and 37 possibly missing.[1] More than 30 buildings in the town's centre were destroyed.[3]

Feb 6, 2013 - GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Vandalism has caused more than 500 customers to be without phone service in Gallia County Wednesday  ...

Sep 19, 2012 Vandalism leaves Verizon customers in Reading without phone service for days ...WFMZ‑TV  Verizon customers without phone service for several days. READING ... Crews were out Monday night trying to fix the vandalism. By Tuesday  ..

SPRINGFIELD -- A 12-year-old Springfield boy was airlifted to Boston on Tuesday afternoon after he was injured at an electrical sub-station on Merrill Street in downtown Springfield.  Springfield Police Chief Douglas Johnston said the boy was with some friends and climbed the fence at the substation, got onto some equipment and grabbed an electrical line. incident happened just after 4 p.m., and the incident knocked out power to more than 2,000 Green Mountain Power customers in Springfield, Chester, Rockingham, Weathersfield, Athens and Grafton.
2013 Mayflower Arkansas Oil / Tar Sands Spill March 29, 2013 in Mayflower, Arkansas a Exxon Mobile pipeline carrying Canadian crude from oil sands ruptured, sending a major oil spill into a residential neighborhood which was evacuated. While some questioned if sabotage was possible, it was thought most likely to be a Corrosion or weld failure seem to be two likely possibilities for the cause of 22 foot gash in the pipe.

Second Abilene cell tower falls victim to $100 copper theft  Ariana Garza Mar 05 2013 An Abilene cell phone tower on Ash Street fell victim to copper theft over the weekend. Abilene police investigating $10,000 in stolen copper,... second cell phone tower in the recent weeks that has reported copper wiring theft. stole 30 feet of copper wiring, valued at about $100 Approximately $10,000 was stolen from a Vogel Avenue tower in mid-February.

Fuel Barges Explode On Mobile River, Injuring 3 Apr 24, 2013 · Three people were seriously injured when two barges previously loaded with liquid natural gas exploded on the east side of the Mobile River in Alabama.
April 18, 2013 This is a flash fire at a texas refinery - lost because of the West, Texas incident. ExxonMobil investigating cause of Beaumont refinery fire By Dan Wallach & Tim Monzingo | Beaumont Enterprise Federal investigators, plant officials and union members today will continue to search for the cause of a rare flash fire at ExxonMobil’s Beaumont refinery Wednesday that injured at least a dozen workers — some critically....they were working on a maintenance project in a processing unit that was shut down for repairs when a “small fire” broke out around 10:30 a.m. She said on-site fire crews were able to quickly contain and extinguish the blaze.

Rifle Shoots Silicon Valley Substation and Fiber Optic Cable Cut  April 17, 2013 a high powered rifle was used to damage a Silicon Valley power substation in what was treated as an act of vandalism, just minutes after fiber optic cables belonging to AT&T were cut a half-mile away in what officials believe was a related incident. Looks like well planned terrorist attack.

Other incidents
 The implication is that an carefully prepared simultaneous attack against 10-20 substations of the right type could take 60% of the US end-users offline for an extended period (potentially weeks). If exploited by additional well planned attacks, this damage could be extended indefinitely.

The solution to all of this type of vulnerability, isn't a complete rework of the grid. Instead, it's a resilient community. A community that produces most of what it needs locally.


Developing: Crews respond to transformer fire at Cardinal Power Plant:

Cardinal Power Plant 1880 MW - Coal Fired Plant

Shots fired at PG&E substation

I can't find the capcity, but I found this statement:

The Metcalf substation serves a large, heavily populated
area, including major high-tech companies, and provides voltage
support to the broader Northern California grid, the ISO said. 

Huge transformer explosion causes power outages (March 26th, 2013 Ravensdale, WA)

Size: It was a decent sized transformer is all I can find.

Underground transformer explosions that close Louisville streets

Size: Smaller but multiple transformers exploded

Explosion in Downtown OKC Caused by Transformer Failure

Substation explosion cuts power to Venango County residents

2012 new stories on power grid attacks may have inspired the 2013 attacks: 
  1. Thousands Seen Dying If Terrorists Attack US Power Grid - Bloomberg

    Nov 14, 2012 - A terrorist attack on the U.S. power grid could be more destructive than superstorm Sandy, possibly costing hundreds of billions of dollars and ...

  2. Report warns electricity grid vulnerable to attack | Reuters

    Nov 14, 2012 - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The electrical grid is vulnerable to terroristattacks, including cyber strikes, that could cause far more damage than ...

  3. Attack on Power Grid Could Cause Broad Hardship, Report Says ...

    Nov 14, 2012 - Terrorists could black out large segments of the United States for weeks or months by attacking the power grid and damaging components, ...

  4. U.S. concerned about Anonymous power grid attack - › Science News

    Feb 21, 2012 - 21 (UPI) -- U.S. officials are apparently concerned the group Anonymous may launch a cyberattack against the country's electrical grid, The ...

  5. Study: U.S. power grid vulnerable to terrorist attack - USA Today

    Nov 14, 2012 - After Hurricane Sandy left millions in the dark, a long-delayed federal study Wednesday says the U.S. power grid is also vulnerable to terrorist ...
  6. EMP attack on power grid could take down DOD systems ... -

    Sep 12, 2012 - A worst-case scenario could take out parts of the grid for years, according to some studies, and although equipment exists that can prevent ...

  8. 'Bullet time' to stop cyber attacks on power grids - tech - 30 April ...

    'Bullet time' to stop cyber attacks on power grids. 16:45 30 April 2012 by Paul Marks; For similar stories, visit the Computer crime Topic Guide. IN THE MATRIX  ...

  9. Fuel Fix » Cyber attacks on power grid could be costly and possible

    Jun 13, 2012 - Hackers could cause blackouts to the nation's power grid by feeding the system incorrect load data that forces officials to mistakenly believe ...

  10. Thousands Seen Dying If Terrorists Attack U.S. Power Grid - Infowars

    Nov 16, 2012 - November 16, 2012. A terrorist attack on the U.S. power grid could be more destructive than superstorm Sandy, possibly costing hundreds of  ...

  11. Power grid updates left system vulnerable to cyberattacks, auditors ... › Collections › Smart Grid

    A rush by the Energy Department to use stimulus money to modernize the ... By Lisa Rein,February 07, 2012 ... funding for “smart grid” projects — from incomplete strategies to prevent an attack to vague steps for stopping one if it started.

Suspected Copper thief gets electrocuted during crimeSeptember 26, 2011
Chambers County, AL — A man trying to steal copper wiring from a power pole using a tree stand gets electrocuted in Chambers County. According to the Chambers County Sheriff, 46-year-old Gary Hamby was attempting to climb a utility pole using a deer stand Friday afternoon.

2011 stories were about cyberattacks on the power grid

  1. Cyber Attack on U.S. Electric Grid 'Gravest Short Term Threat' to ... › ABC News Blogs › Politics › The Note

    May 31, 2011 - ABC News' Huma Khan reports: The United States is ill-prepared to deal with a cyber attack on the nation's electric grid, one of the biggest ...

  2. Cyber security: Power grid grows more vulnerable to attack, report ...

    Dec 6, 2011 - 'Smart grid' features and Internet-based connections to the USpower grid are proliferating, increasing pathways for would-be cyber attackers, ...

  3. America's power grid too vulnerable to cyberattack, US report finds ...

    Feb 3, 2011 - The utility industry and US regulators need to boost computer-security standards to fend off a cyberattack on the power grid, says a tough new ...

  4. A Drill Simulating an Attack on the Power Grid in November – The ...

    Aug 20, 2013 - From the NY Times: WASHINGTON — The electric grid... NERC conducted the first sector-wide grid security exercise, GridEx 2011, on  ...
  5. [PDF]

    False data injection attacks against state estimation in electric power ...

    by YAO LIU - ‎2011 - ‎Cited by 237 - ‎Related articles
    Additional Key Words and Phrases: Power grids, state estimation, attack. ACM Reference Format: Liu, Y., Ning, P., and Reiter, M. K. 2011. False data injection  ...

  6. Power-Grid Cyber Attack Seen Leaving Millions in Dark for Months ...

    Feb 1, 2012 - Yet “if there was a cyber attack, the electrical grid would be target ...U.S. utility by market capitalization, reported for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Year 2005

News reports are that youths hid in substations because they were trying to hide from police. Were they actually trying to sabotage power by getting electrocuted?
2005 French Muslim Riots Citing two police investigations, The New York Times reported that the incident began at 17:20 on Thursday, 27 October 2005 in Clichy-sous-Bois when police were called to a construction site to investigate a possible break-in. Three teenagers, thinking they were being chased by the police, climbed a wall to hide in a power substation. Six youths were detained by 17:50. During questioning at the police station in Livry-Gargan at 18:12, blackouts occurred at the station and in nearby areas. These were caused, police say, by the electrocution of two boys, Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré; a third boy, Muhittin Altun, suffered electric shock injury from the power substation they were hiding in.

Man Electrocuted While Trying To Steal Power Line

FIFE - A thief went after a precious metal and paid for it with his life. It was copper electrical wire in a live high voltage power line. Fife police say two men came out in the dead of night armed with a rope. They thought they would just toss the line over the wire and pull it down. But before that could happen electricity came down the rope, electrocuted one and burned the other. A staggering 55,000 volts came down the rope passed through their hands into their bodies and out their feet. Julian LaPointe, 22, of Tacoma was killed. The sparks caught the grass on fire. Investigators from Puget Sound Energy were on the scene much of Friday trying to piece together what happen.
It is not the first time thieves have targeted live power lines, but there's a reason it doesn't happen very often. "It's not highly valuable,"
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Death during theft from electric utilities
A retrospective study of all individuals examined by the Jefferson County Coroner Medical Examiner Office from January 1981 through December 2001 found that 8 individuals died trying to steal from a power utility. All decedents were men, with an average age of 33 years. Seven of the decedents were stealing copper when killed .

November 9, 1989 Vandalism Cuts Service To 361,000 Phone Users .Schenectady Gazette Google News It was the largest case of vandalism in the 3-month-old strike against NYNEX, ... Poughkeepsie were without phone service after vandals cut two cables there .. Vandals sawed through a copper cable and  hacked away a 30-foot section of newer fiber optic cable.. Up to 300,000 NewYork Telephone customers were affected...

Energy Incidents Ninjapundit Category