A power crew works at an electrical substation damaged by vandals. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times via AP)

A power crew works at an electrical substation damaged by vandals. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times via AP)

BC Hydro taking ‘additional steps’ to protect grid after string of U.S. attacks

The power utility said it can’t go into details of what security enhancements have been made

A string of recent attacks on electrical infrastructure in the U.S., most recently in nearby Washington, has BC Hydro taking pre-emptive steps to ensure something similar doesn’t happen north of the border.

More than 100 pieces of electrical infrastructure were damaged in attacks across the U.S. between January and August of this year, according to reporting by Politico, and not counting the most recent attacks in North Carolina earlier in December and Washington on Christmas Day. The attacks have left thousands in the dark, sometimes for days.

In an emailed statement to Black Press Media, BC Hydro said that at this point the utility has not seen similar attacks in the province, but news of what is happening in the U.S. is nonetheless being taken seriously.

“Anytime we see something like this happen in another jurisdiction, we use it as an opportunity to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect our assets here in B.C.,” read the statement.

The utility said it is unable to speak to specific details for security reasons, but it is taking additional precautions to ensure power infrastructure is secure through actions like increased security patrols and increased information sharing between Canadian and U.S. utilities and law enforcement agencies.

Even before the uptick in attacks, the utility said it adheres to North American industry standards for reliability and security of power infrastructure, partners with law enforcement agencies to monitor risks and coordinate responses, and uses integrated security systems such as surveillance cameras and security patrols.

When contacted for comment, the B.C. RCMP deferred comment to BC Hydro as they are responsible for the security of their infrastructure, and said they are unable to comment on any knowledge of potential threats and what preparations to contain those threats exist as it may compromise police operations.

READ MORE: ‘Substantial damage’ more likely this storm season due to drought-weakened trees: BC Hydro


@JSamanski
justin.samanski-langille@goldstreamgazette.com

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BCHydroGreater Victoria

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