Shelton-Mason County Journal - Dedicated to the citizens of Mason County, Washington since 1886

County utilities keep eye on threats to power grid

 

January 19, 2023



Four power stations were attacked on Christmas, leaving thousands without power in Pierce County.

Those attacks have put local PUDs on alert, including Mason County PUD 1 and 3.

“Vulnerabilities of the electrical grid is something that all power providers, from the large power market administrations like BPA, to the local power companies that deliver the electricity to the customers, are all cognizant of and continue to address in various ways,” PUD 1 General Manager Kristin Masteller wrote the Journal in an email. “Power grid vandalism is dangerous. Not just for the hospitals and emergency agencies that depend on the power to deliver lifesaving services, but also for the vandals who stupidly choose to come in contact with high-voltage power equipment and risk their lives.”

An attack is an issue that is regularly discussed at PUD 3, according to spokesperson Lynn Eaton.

“As I’m sure you can imagine, the safety and security of the PUD’s substations as well as all of its infrastructure is paramount to operating a reliable and safe electrical distribution system,” Eaton said in an email to the Journal. “The PUD follows industry standards on safety and security, but as part of our security strategy, we cannot discuss details of our mitigation measures and resiliency strategies. We would ask that the public avoid going near substations in general for safety reasons, however if they see anything suspicious call

9-1-1 or the PUD. As with any emergency or disaster, we have conducted multidepartment tabletop exercises to ensure we have measures in place to prevent, respond and mitigate such attacks.”

If anyone sees any suspicious activity with regard to power stations, they should contact local authorities as soon as possible.

“We have customers who live adjacent to our substations who are proactive about reporting any suspicious vehicles or activities, but Mason PUD 1 would encourage everyone to report any concerns of vandalism or loitering around substations and power equipment to 911

immediately,” Masteller wrote. “Even if it turns out to be nothing, it’s better to be safe than sorry. We all must be vigilant to protect our essential utility services, especially in rural areas like Mason County.”

Author Bio

Matt Baide, Reporter

Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald
Email: [email protected]

Email: [email protected]

 

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