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Protecting our Power Grid

On April 16, 2013, at 1 a.m., a stealth attack on a major Pacific Gas and Electric Company substation serving Silicon Valley began by breaking into an underground vault and cutting the AT&T fiber optic communication cables. Then, in what the former head of the Federal Energy Regulatory commission and the electric utility itself characterized as “a very well planned and highly executed (attack) by highly trained individuals,” 17 transformers and six circuit breakers were systematically hit by automatic weapons fire, damaged, and taken out of service. One hundred shell casings with no fingerprints were found as well as tactically placed rock piles surrounding the substation, presumably used for enfilade firing positions. The total cost of the substation damage is estimated at $15 million, and the time to bring the substation back to full operation was almost a month.

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