by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The U.S. electric grid has become increasingly vulnerable to what the federal government is describing as an unprecedented wave of attacks that threatens to cripple the nation, according to a new investigative report that warns the energy industry is lagging in efforts to boost physical security of these critical sites.
Amid a wave of increasing attacks across the country on key power stations, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, or NERC, has been struggling to force the power industry to enact a series of security improvements meant to stop would-be attackers and terrorists from crippling the nation’s infrastructure.
Since 2014, “security risks to the power grid have become an even greater concern in the electric utility industry,” according to a new Congressional Research Service report that warns the power industry “has not necessarily reached the level of physical security needed based on the sector’s own assessments of risk.”
In the three years since federal overseers implicated a series of new standards for physical security of grid locations, the industry has worked to improve its defenses but has struggled to implement all of the government’s recommendations, according to the report.