Chelan PUD Increased Security Prior to Recent Westside Grid Attacks
Since mid-November there have been at least six attacks on public electrical infrastructure in Western Washington and Oregon, including one causing thousands of people to lose power in Pierce County on Christmas Day.
Here at home, the Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD) is keeping a close eye on the alarming trend, and Corporate Communications Manager Neil Neroutsos says they've been in the process of upgrading security measures for some time now.
"We were already increasing our security measures earlier this summer after several grids were attacked back East, and in following with the industry's best security practices and talking with other utilities. But once we saw some incidents pop up later in the summer and into the fall, we took a very close look at those and decided to increase our level of security even more."
Neroutsos says there are numerous layers of security that protect the utility's various infrastructures around the clock.
"Some of the things we do are related to intricate camera systems, fencing, and increased human patrols, as well as making certain access to our sites is very secure. We have an in-house security staff which we contract out for part of and also work in close coordination with local emergency responders and law enforcement."
Neroutsos says he can't detail all of the specifics of how and where the PUD's security measures work, but did offer that some of its highest priorities are at its hydropower facilities and large substations.
The PUD will consider increasing its security measures even further in the coming year, including its cybersecurity systems which Neroutsos says are also of critical importance.