• 5 minutes Mike Shellman's musings on "Cartoon of the Week"
  • 11 minutes Permian already crested the productivity bell curve - downward now to Tier 2 geological locations
  • 17 minutes WTI @ 67.50, charts show $62.50 next
  • 4 hours The Discount Airline Model Is Coming for Europe’s Railways
  • 10 hours Pakistan: "Heart" Of Terrorism and Global Threat
  • 22 hours Newspaper Editorials Across U.S. Rebuke Trump For Attacks On Press
  • 22 hours Batteries Could Be a Small Dotcom-Style Bubble
  • 9 hours Saudi Fund Wants to Take Tesla Private?
  • 19 hours Starvation, horror in Venezuela
  • 9 hours Desperate Call or... Erdogan Says Turkey Will Boycott U.S. Electronics
  • 10 hours Scottish Battery ‘Breakthrough’ Could Charge Electric Cars In Seconds
  • 2 hours Venezuela set to raise gasoline prices to international levels.
  • 1 day France Will Close All Coal Fired Power Stations By 2021
  • 24 hours Don't Expect Too Much: Despite a Soaring Economy, America's Annual Pay Increase Isn't Budging
  • 2 hours Corporations Are Buying More Renewables Than Ever
  • 18 hours WTI @ 69.33 headed for $70s - $80s end of August
Saudi Arabia And Iran Reignite The Oil Price War

Saudi Arabia And Iran Reignite The Oil Price War

As U.S. sanctions on Tehran…

Crude-By-Rail Could Save The Permian Boom

Crude-By-Rail Could Save The Permian Boom

Crude-by-Rail (CBR) has been a…

2013 Sniper Attack on Electric Substation Went Unknown to Public

The Wall Street Journal broke a story this week about a largely unknown sniper attack from last year on a California electric substation. Apparently on April 16, 2013, a group of snipers launched an attack on the Metcalf substation in San Jose, knocking 17 giant transformers offline that service Silicon Valley. To avoid a blackout, other power plants in Silicon Valley made up for the shortfall, but repairs took almost a month to complete.

Details of the event were kept quiet in order to reveal information that could help copycats. However, Jon Wellinghoff, former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), is going public about the event because to date there have been no arrests. He calls the episode, “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred.” He fears the attackers may be planning a larger attack.

Related article: Pipelines Answer to U.S. Midstream Bottlenecks

Wellinghoff also believes that it wouldn’t take much to inflict serious damage on the nation’s electricity grid. He says that a large-scale blackout could result from only a remarkably few number of substations going offline.

What makes the Metcalf case more troubling is the sophisticated nature in which the attack unfolded. The Wall Street Journal put together a detailed timeline of the event. The attackers cut off fiber-optic cables ahead of time. A metal vault cover was lifted, which would require multiple people. Surveillance cameras at the substation were blinded by a streak of light. The shots, from AK-47s, hit oil-filled cooling systems, but in such a way as to avoid an explosion but still make them leak oil. Piles of rocks were found in certain areas that police believe were left by a scout ahead of time to designate points of attack. When police officers arrived, the attackers were gone. Military experts believe the job was “professional.”

Many utilities have since updated their security protocols, but Wellinghoff thinks that the grid remains vulnerable to attack. The FBI is “continuing to sift through evidence,” but no arrests have been made.

By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • GEORGE on June 20 2014 said:
    the electric companies, are concerned only about profits to themselves and shareholders. the customers will be the ones to pay for all security upgrades. the electric companies will build walls around thier substations only to get shot up by those who have nothing better to do ,than cause trouble.,even though there may be gun ranges within the area . they will go out in open land and shoot at anything or anything that moves. as, a armed security guard, I'M VERY LUCKY I HAVE NOT BEEN SHOT AT, AS OTHER SECURITY GUARDS HAVE BEEN

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News