A new report following an attack on an electronic substation in California last year has some concerned about the security of the electric grid in Texas.
The Wall Street Journal says that attacks on this country's three separate electric systems, including the grid in Texas, could cause the entire power network to collapse. Ross Baldick at the University of Texas says it would be devastating.
“It would be a serious interruption to how we live. If we lose power many things will come to an immediate halt. Not everything is backed up,” Baldick told KTRH.
Baldick says if that happens it could be weeks before the lights come back on.
“Once a large number of generators trip off the process to switch them in is very laborious,” Baldick explained.
So how safe is the Texas grid? Terry Hadley at the Public Utility Commission says it’s about as secure as it can be.
“We have a long history of good security and power reliability,” Hadley told KTRH. “We continue to look for ways to improve security.”
But Baldick doesn't necessarily agree with Hadley on that assessment.
“As a general rule substations have little more than a fence with barbed wire at the top of it. It’s conceivable that they are vulnerable to attack,” Baldick stated. “With enough resources you could attack it.”
But Baldick says it would take a large scale attack on multiple substations to cause a blackout.
KTRH called ERCOT, which runs the grid for the story but they couldn't talk to us before our deadline.