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September Grid Resilience Conference

Leon Walker

PGRThe International Quality & Productivity Center is hosting a utility industry summit devoted to identifying and discussing dangers that could cause America’s electric grid to fail.

Power Grid Resilience will take place from September 8-11 , 2014, in San Francisco.

Attendees will have the opportunity to see and interact with speakers including Dr Peter Vincent Pry, Frank Gaffney Jr., Judge Jeanine Pirro, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission head Jon Wellinghoff and John Lightfoot – the special FBI agent in charge of the PG&E attack investigation.

FERC recently said it would soon enact new rules for physical security of key substations and other facilities critical to the operation of the electric grid. The vulnerability of electrical substations has been readily apparent for many decades – but never openly acknowledged, according to IQPC.

FERC, in a strongly worded order, said it would require physical protection for locations which, if badly damaged, could produce cascading blackouts or other widespread problems.

According to IQPC, the new regulations will be tough ones. The Wall Street Journal reported that “utilities face fines of $1 million a day for each infraction of the new rules.”

The Power Grid Resilience conference is designed to help utility executives comply with coming new FERC regulations. This includes workshops and master classes detailing how to carry-out vulnerability risk assessments and produce a first-rate total security plan to confront and minimize vulnerabilities.

An attack on the Metcalf power station near Silicon Valley, Calif., in April 2013 was took out 17 of the 20 giant transformers that funnel power to the nearby tech hub. It took the utility almost a month to repair the substation; no one has yet been arrested in the incident. Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, described the attack as “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred.”



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