Attacks on power substations are growing. Why is the electric grid so hard to protect?
Even before Christmas Day attacks on power substations in five states in the Pacific Northwest and Southeast, similar incidents of attacks, vandalism and suspicious activity were on the rise.
Federal energy reports through August – the most recent available – show an increase in physical attacks at electrical facilities across the nation this year, continuing a trend seen since 2017.
At least 108 human-related events were reported during the first eight months of 2022, compared with 99 in all of 2021 and 97 in 2020. More than a dozen cases of vandalism have been reported since September.
The attacks have prompted a flurry of calls to better protect the nation’s power grid, but experts have warned for more than three decades that stepped-up protection was needed.