Smart grid security: WSJ reveals we're 10 bullets away from an 18-month blackout



Quick Take:  You know the power grid has reached a new level of importance when national politicians use it for grandstanding purposes. Personally, I welcome any kind of attention from any kind of politician that will speed the process of meaningful grid security planning and standards. As this story implies, part of that process has to be setting priorities. Should we address physical threats first? Or is cybersecurity more pressing? Use the Talk Back form at the bottom to register your opinion. - Jesse Berst


Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California, is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to step up its efforts to protect the nation's power grid. Her remarks came in reaction to an article in the Wall Street Journal. The article revealed a FERC analysis that concluded the country could be forced into an 18-month blackout if terrorists merely knocked out nine key substations and one transformer manufacturer.


I had heard this story before, from a friend who served on a committee investigating infrastructure vulnerability in the wake of September 11. His version said it would only take seven well-aimed bullets instead of nine. This latest version also adds the step of destroying up a transformer manufacturer. That's either 10 bullets or 9 bullets and a bomb.