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SeciaIisl in Inergy and Infraslruclure IoIicy
}une 17, 2014
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Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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In the United States, the electric power grid consists oI over 200,000 miles oI high-voltage
transmission lines interspersed with hundreds oI large electric power transIormers. High voltage
(HV) transIormer units make up less than 3 oI transIormers in U.S. power substations, but they
carry 60-70 oI the nation`s electricity. Because they serve as vital nodes and carry bulk
volumes oI electricity, HV transIormers are critical elements oI the nation`s electric power grid.
HV transIormers are also the most vulnerable to intentional damage Irom malicious acts. Recent
security exercises, together with a 2013 physical attack on transIormers in MetcalI, CA, have
Iocused congressional interest on the physical security oI HV transIormers. They have also
prompted new grid security initiatives by utilities and Iederal regulators. Legislative proposals,
notably the Grid Reliability and InIrastructure DeIense Act (H.R. 4298 and S. 2158), would
expand these eIIorts by strengthening Iederal authority to secure the U.S. grid.
For more than 10 years, the electric utility industry and government agencies have engaged in a
number oI initiatives to secure HV transIormers Irom physical attack and to improve recovery in
the event oI a successIul attack. These initiatives include coordination and inIormation sharing,
spare equipment programs, security standards, grid security exercises, and other measures. There
has been some level oI physical security investment and an increasing reIinement oI voluntary
grid security practices across the electric power sector Ior at least the last 15 years. Several major
transmission owners have recently announced signiIicant new initiatives speciIically to improve
the physical security oI critical transIormer substations in light oI the MetcalI attack.
On March 7, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ordered the North
American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to submit to the Commission new reliability
standards requiring certain transmission owners 'to take steps or demonstrate that they have taken
steps to address physical security risks and vulnerabilities related to the reliable operation oI the
power grid. In its order, FERC states that physical security standards are necessary because 'the
current Reliability Standards do not speciIically require entities to take steps to reasonably protect
against physical security attacks. According to FERC`s order, the new reliability standards will
require grid owners to perIorm risk assessments to identiIy their critical Iacilities, evaluate
potential threats and vulnerabilities, and implement security plans to protect against attacks.
There is widespread agreement among state and Iederal government oIIicials, utilities, and
manuIacturers that HV transIormers in the United States are vulnerable to terrorist attack, and that
such an attack potentially could have catastrophic consequences. But the most serious, multi-
transIormer attacks would require acquiring operational inIormation and a certain level oI
sophistication on the part oI potential attackers. Consequently, despite the technical arguments,
without more speciIic inIormation about potential targets and attacker capabilities, the true
vulnerability oI the grid to a multi-HV transIormer attack remains an open question. Incomplete
or ambiguous threat inIormation may lead to inconsistency in physical security among HV
transIormer owners, ineIIicient spending oI limited security resources at Iacilities that may not
really be under threat, or deployment oI security measures against the wrong threat.
As the electric power industry and Iederal agencies continue their eIIorts to improve the physical
security oI critical HV transIormer substations, Congress may consider several key issues as part
oI its oversight oI the sector: identiIying critical transIormers, conIidentiality oI critical
transIormer inIormation, adequacy oI HV transIormer protection, quality oI Iederal threat
inIormation, and recovery Irom HV transIormer attacks.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1
Congressional Interest ............................................................................................................... 2
HV TransIormer Risks and Vulnerability ........................................................................................ 2
High Voltage Power TransIormers ............................................................................................. 2
ManuIacture and Cost ......................................................................................................... 4
U.S. ManuIacturing Capability ........................................................................................... 5
HV TransIormer Sites in the United States ......................................................................... 5
Criticality oI HV TransIormers .................................................................................................. 6
Physical Vulnerability oI HV TransIormers .............................................................................. 6
Targeting oI HV TransIormers ................................................................................................... 8
Physical Security Measures Ior HV TransIormers .................................................................... 9
Sector Initiatives Ior HV TransIormer Security ............................................................................. 10
Coordination and InIormation Sharing .................................................................................... 10
DOE`s Energy Sector-SpeciIic Plan .................................................................................. 11
ESCC`s Critical InIrastructure Strategic Roadmap ........................................................... 12
TransIormer Equipment Programs .......................................................................................... 12
DHS Recovery TransIormer Program ............................................................................... 12
EEI Spare TransIormer Equipment Program ..................................................................... 13
NERC Spare Equipment Database .................................................................................... 13
Grid Security Exercises and Simulations ................................................................................ 14
GridEx and GridEx II ........................................................................................................ 14
FERC 'Electrically SigniIicant Locations Study ............................................................ 15
HV TransIormer Security Standards ........................................................................................ 16
IEEE Substation Security Standard ................................................................................... 16
NERC Physical Security Guidance ................................................................................... 16
FERC Physical Security Best Practices............................................................................. 17
NERC Physical Security Regulations ............................................................................... 18
Company-SpeciIic Initiatives .................................................................................................. 19
The Tennessee Valley Authority ........................................................................................ 19
PaciIic Gas and Electric (PG&E) ...................................................................................... 20
Dominion ........................................................................................................................... 20
Bonneville Power Administration ..................................................................................... 21
Issues Ior Congress ........................................................................................................................ 21
IdentiIying Critical TransIormers ............................................................................................ 21
ConIidentiality oI Critical TransIormer InIormation ............................................................... 22
Adequacy oI HV TransIormer Protection ................................................................................ 24
Quality oI Federal Threat InIormation .................................................................................... 25
Recovery Irom HV TransIormer Attacks ................................................................................. 26

Figure 1. Electric Transmission Network ........................................................................................ 1
Figure 2. Step-Up and Step-Down HV TransIormers in the Grid .................................................... 3
Figure 3. 345 kV TransIormer Installation ...................................................................................... 4
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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Author Contact InIormation........................................................................................................... 26

Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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The electric utility industry operates as an integrated system oI generation, transmission, and
distribution Iacilities to deliver electric power to consumers. In the United States, this system
consists oI over 9,000 electric generating units connected to over 200,000 miles oI high-voltage
transmission lines strung between large towers and rated at 230 kilovolts (kV)
or greater.
network is interspersed with hundreds oI large electric power transIormers whose Iunction is to
adjust electric voltage as needed to move power across the network (Figure 1). High voltage
(HV) transIormer units make up less than 3 oI transIormers in U.S. power substations, but they
carry 60-70 oI the nation`s electricity.
Because they serve as vital transmission network
nodes and carry bulk volumes oI electricity, HV transIormers are critical elements oI the nation`s
electric power grid.
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Portions oI this report were drawn Irom CRS Report R42795, Electric Utilitv Infrastructure Julnerabilities.
Transformers, Towers, and Terrorism, by Amy Abel, Paul W. ParIomak, and Dana A. Shea.
1 kV1,000 volts.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation, 'Understanding the Grid, Iact sheet, August 2013,
http://www.nerc.com/AboutNERC/Documents/Understanding20the20Grid20AUG13.pdI. Note that there is no
industry consensus as to what voltage rating or other operating characteristic constitutes 'high voltage. This report
uses 230 kV as the high voltage threshold, but other studies may use a diIIerent threshold, such as 115/138 kV, or may
include an additional 'extra high voltage category above 345 kV. See, Ior example, U.S. Department oI Energy, Large
Power Transformers and the U.S. Electric Grid, April 2014, p. 4.
C. Newton, 'The Future oI Large Power TransIormers, Transmission & Distribution World, September 1, 1997;
William Loomis, 'Super-Grid TransIormer DeIense: Risk oI Destruction and DeIense Strategies, Presentation to
NERC Critical InIrastructure Working Group, Lake Buena Vista, FL, December 10-11, 2001.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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The U.S. electric power grid has historically operated with such high reliability that any major
disruption, either caused by weather, operational errors, or sabotage, makes news headlines. Such
outages can have considerable negative impacts on business, government services, and daily liIe.
Notwithstanding its high reliability overall, the U.S. power grid has periodically experienced
major regional outages. Recent examples include the Northeast Blackout oI 2003 (which aIIected
55 million customer in eight states and Canada) and extended outages in the New York/New
Jersey area aIter Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
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The various parts oI the electric power system are all vulnerable to Iailure due to natural or
manmade events. However, Ior reasons discussed below, HV transIormers are considered by
many experts to be the most vulnerable to intentional damage Irom malicious acts. Congress has
long been concerned about grid security in general, but recent security exercises, together with a
2013 physical attack on transIormers in MetcalI, CA, have Iocused congressional interest on the
physical security oI HV transIormers, among other speciIic aspects oI the grid.
They have also
prompted new grid security initiatives by utilities and Iederal regulators. Recent legislative
proposals, notably the Grid Reliability and InIrastructure DeIense Act (H.R. 4298 and S. 2158),
would expand these eIIorts by strengthening Iederal authority to secure the U.S. grid. The
physical security oI HV transIormers and associated policy issues are the subject oI this report.
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The main risk Irom a physical attack against the electric power gridprimarily towers and
transIormersis a widespread power outage lasting Ior days or longer. Utilities regularly
experience damage to transmission towers due to both weather and malicious activities and are
able to recover Irom this damage Iairly rapidly. Thus, while occasionally causing blackouts,
physical attacks on towers generally have not resulted in widespread or long-lasting outages.
Likewise, the power industry has experienced mechanical Iailure oI individual HV transIormers
within a single control area resulting in blackouts lasting hours. However, no region in the United
States has experienced simultaneous Iailures oI multiple HV transIormers. Experts have long
asserted that a coordinated and simultaneous attack on multiple HV transIormers could have
severe implications Ior reliable electric service over a large geographic area, crippling its
electricity network and causing widespread, extended blackouts. Such an event would have
serious economic and social consequences. This section discusses in more detail HV transIormer
characteristics and physical security risks associated with them.
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Utility transIormers control the voltage oI electricity so that it can be synchronized with other
power supplies, transmitted long distances, and distributed to customers. TransIormers range in
size Irom small, pole-mounted units that may serve a dozen homes to transmission units that
serve an entire city. The larger the transIormer, the higher the voltage the transIormer can handle.

See, Ior example: Senators Dianne Feinstein, Al Franken, Ron Wyden, and Harry Reid, letter to the Honorable Cheryl
LaFleur, Acting Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, February 7, 2014, http://www.Ierc.gov/industries/
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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Utility transIormers, regardless oI size, Iundamentally consist oI copper wire wrapped around a
metallic 'core within an insulated protective housing covered with a 5/8 to 3/4-inch mild steel
tank. They are linked to the power grid by protruding metal and (usually) ceramic connectors
called 'bushings which resemble giant spark plugs. Larger transIormers generate waste heat
during operation, so they are cooled by a system oI internally circulating oil and external
radiators, analogous to the cooling system in a car engine. Transmission transIormers are located
in network substations along with transmission lines, associated electric equipment, and system
controls. These substations may be Iound in remote locations or near urban centers, depending
upon regional transmission needs. Many are located alongside electric generation plants, linking
those plants to the grid.
High-voltage transIormers, especially units above 345 kV, are physically large and extraordinarily
heavy. For example, Figure 3 shows a new 345 kV transIormer many times larger than the pickup
truck parked alongside. This transIormer unit weighs 435 tons, including 29,000 gallons oI
cooling oil.
(Note that the vertical bushings are not yet connected to transmission lines because
the unit is being moved.) This is a three-phase unit, with one bushing Ior each oI the three phases.
Some substations alternatively employ separate single-phase transIormers in sets oI three.

The three currents are sine wave Iunctions oI time with the same Irequency (60 Hertz). The phases are spaced equally,
oIIset 120 degrees Irom each other. With three-phase power, one oI the phases is always nearing a peak.
The loss oI power on the transmission system is proportional to the square oI the current (Ilow oI electricity) while the
current is inversely proportional to the voltage.
Pauwels Canada, Inc., personal communication, October 20, 2003.
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Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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Generally, the higher the transIormer`s voltage, the larger the transIormer. A three-phase 765kV
transIormer could be 45 Ieet tall and occupy a Iootprint oI 2,200 square Ieetabout the size oI an
average new single-Iamily house.

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Most HV transIormers are unique and thereIore are designed and manuIactured to custom
speciIications Ior a speciIic network application. In 2010, the lead time between an HV
transIormer order and delivery ranged Irom 5 to 12 months Ior U.S. manuIacturers and 6 to 16
months Ior Ioreign manuIacturers, although lead times well over 20 months could be required in
certain situations.
This process may include three to Iour months Ior the engineering design
Since manuIacturing generally occurs on a single production line with just-in-time
component supplies, advanced production scheduling is important Ior managing delivery.
Physical assembly is labor intensive, requiring manual winding oI the copper wire around the
transIormer core and Irequent engineering checks during manuIacturing. Extensive testing oI
completed units also contributes to HV transIormer manuIacturing time.
The installed cost Ior an HV transIormer depends heavily on its conIiguration and speciIic design
requirements. New HV transmission substations can cost well in excess oI $10 million, including
the cost oI transIormers and other station equipment. According to the U.S. Department oI Energy
(DOE), the Iactory prices Ior HV transIormers typically range Irom $2 million Ior a 230 kV unit
to $7.5 million Ior a 765 kV unit, beIore transportation and installation costs.

U.S. Department oI Energy, April 2014, p. 7.
U.S. Department oI Energy, April 2014, p. 9.
Pauwels Canada, Inc., October 20, 2003.
U.S. Department oI Energy, April 2014, p. 7.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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From 1950 to 1970, utility construction oI large generation plants and associated transmission
networks Iueled a robust U.S. manuIacturing market Ior large transIormers. During this period,
the United States (and Canada) accounted Ior approximately 40 oI global demand Ior such
AIter 1970, however, utility investment in transmission inIrastructure began Ialling oII
due to perceived overcapacity, public resistance to transmission siting, and greater regulatory
scrutiny oI capital expenditures. Beginning in the late 1980s, uncertainty about industry
restructuring and the introduction oI competition made grid owners even less willing to invest in
new transmission. This decline in U.S. transmission investment greatly reduced domestic demand
Ior large transIormers, especially HV transIormers. By the late 1990s, the United States and
Canada accounted Ior only 20 oI global large transIormer sales.
Demand in the United States
has subsequently increased, however. For example, between 2005 and 2013, the total value oI
large transIormers (including medium- and high-voltage units) imported to the United States
more than doubled, Irom $284 million (363 units) to $676 million (496 units).

At the same time, global demand Ior transIormers continued to grow and more Ioreign
manuIacturers entered the market. According to U.S. industry representatives, many oI these
Ioreign manuIacturers beneIited Irom dramatically lower labor costs, so they could underbid U.S.
transIormer makers Ior the remaining U.S. demand. Some oI these Ioreign manuIacturers may
have been protected by import barriers which eIIectively closed their home markets to U.S.
transIormer imports. Today, there is limited manuIacturing capacity in the United States Ior HV
transIormers. Five U.S. Iacilities state that they can manuIacture transIormers rated 345 kV or
above, although it is not clear how many units in this range they have actually produced. Canada
and Mexico have Iive additional HV manuIacturing plants.
While limited domestic HV
transIormer manuIacturing may increase delivery time, utilities have not reported diIIiculty in
obtaining needed equipment.
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There are several thousand HV transIormers operating in the United States. Approximately 2,100
are very large units rated 345 kV and above.
Investor-owned utilities own most oI these,
although public utilities such as the Power Marketing Administrations (i.e., Bonneville Power
Administration and Western Area Power Administration), Tennessee Valley Authority, and the
Los Angeles Department oI Water and Power own many HV transIormers as well.
transIormer substations are distributed throughout the electric grid, as shown in Figure 1, with
the greatest number in the eastern part oI the country.

C. Newton, 'The Future oI Large Power TransIormers, Transmission & Distribution World, September 1, 1997.
C. Newton, September 1, 1997.
U.S. Department oI Energy, April 2014, p. 27.
Kenneth Friedman, U.S. Department oI Energy, 'DOE Update on GMD/EMP-Related Activities, Presentation to
the Geomagnetic Disturbance Task Force Working Group, North American Electric Reliability Corporation, November
13, 2013.
John Kappenman, Geomagnetic Storms and Their Impacts on the U.S. Power Grid, Meta-R-319, Metatech Corp.,
prepared Ior Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2010, p. 1-14, http://www.Ierc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/
HV substation inIormation Ior speciIic investor-owned utilities is publicly available in annual reports Iiled with the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC Form-1).
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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Because they carry so much electricity, the destruction oI HV transIormers can seriously reduce
the transmission capacity oI a regional electric power grid and lead to extended blackouts. The
impact oI such a Iailure would depend on the electricity Ilows in that part oI the grid, congestion
Irom major network bottlenecks, and the status oI other key Iacilities such as power plants,
transmission lines, and other substations. Power grid planners generally anticipate the possible
loss oI a single HV transIormer substation and are prepared to reroute power Ilows as necessary
to maintain regional electric service. But the simultaneous loss oI multiple HV transIormers,
especially in a constrained transmission area, could exceed the capability oI a regional network to
reroute power through secondary lines.

Numerous publicly available studies have analyzed the risks oI a multiple HV transIormer Iailure.
For example, the Congressional OIIice oI Technology Assessment (OTA) in a 1990 report on the
physical vulnerability oI the electric power system Iound that
In most cases, the nearly simultaneous destruction oI two or three transmission substations
would cause a serious blackout oI a region or utility, although oI short duration where there
is an approximate balance oI load and supply.... The destruction oI more than three
transmission substations would cause long-term blackouts in many areas oI the country.

In such an emergency scenario, limited electric service could likely be restored in the short term
by imposing 'rolling blackouts, rerouting transmission, and using portable transIormers.
Nonetheless, the loss oI key HV substations would leave the regional network crippled and highly
susceptible to Iurther disturbance and cascading Iailure.
According to power industry experts,
certain parts oI the U.S. transmission network are particularly vulnerable to HV substation
disruption. These areas may have severely constrained transmission paths relying on a small
number oI HV transIormers in extremely critical network locations. According to press accounts,
a FERC power Ilow analysis in 2013 identiIied 30 such critical HV transIormer substations across
the continental United States; disabling as Iew as nine oI these substations during a time oI peak
electricity demand reportedly could cause a 'coast-to-coast blackout.
Not all industry experts
agree on the potential severity and duration oI a blackout Irom a multi-transIormer attack,
however, although it is generally accepted that severe outages may be technically possible.

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All HV transIormers are designed to withstand operational risks such as lightning strikes,
hurricanes, and network power Iluctuationsbut they are vulnerable to intentional physical
attacks. Despite their great size and internal complexity, HV transIormers can be readily disabled
or destroyed. According to one manuIacturer, 'iI someone were to intentionally try ... it is a

National Research Council (NRC), Terrorism and the Electric Power Deliverv Svstem, 2012, p. 69.
OIIice oI Technology Assessment (OTA), Phvsical Julnerabilitv of Electric Svstems to Natural Disasters and
Sabotage, OTA-E-453, June 1990, p. 37.
See, Ior example, R"ka Albert, Istvan Albert, and Gary L. Nakarado, 'Structural Vulnerability oI the North
American Power Grid, Phvsical Review E, Vol. 69, 025103(R), 2004.
Rebecca Smith, 'U.S. Risks National Blackout From Small-Scale Attack, Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2014.
Rebecca Smith, 'Assault on CaliIornia Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential Ior Terrorism, Wall Street Journal,
February 5, 2014.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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surprisingly simple task and there are a large number oI ways to conceivably damage a
transIormer beyond repair.
TransIormer experts have asserted that a bad actor with basic
knowledge oI transIormer design could inIlict irreparable damage. Such attacks can cause
massive electrical short circuits and oil Iires that would destroy an HV transIormer and damage
surrounding inIrastructure. One Iire at a 345 kV substation in Texas, Ior example, destroyed the
transIormer and burned Ior Iive hours, causing 'plumes oI smoke that could be seen Ior miles.

In addition to direct attacks on the transIormers themselves, HV substations can be Iurther
disabled by damaging associated transmission lines or control centers that may be located on site.
Because HV transIormers are so big and are connected to the largest overhead transmission
towers, they are easily identiIied along major transmission corridors. High voltage transIormers
are usually housed in substations that are enclosed with a chain-link Ience. Guards are not oIten
stationed at these Iacilities under normal operating circumstances. Consequently, HV
transIormers are ordinarily easier to access than other critical electric Iacilities such as generation
plants and control centers. Utilities use closed-circuit surveillance and other methods to detect
intrusion. However, access to the substation may be achieved by either cutting or scaling the
chain-link Ience. Once inside, a saboteur could cause damage by accessing the control room or
physically damaging the HV transIormer. Penetrating the 5/8 to 3/4-inch steel tank with any
device could short-circuit the windings and irreparably destroy the transIormer. Alternatively, a
saboteur could attempt to open a valve and drain the insulating oil. Igniting the oil might cause
the transIormer to arc and eventually explode. With a clear line oI sight, an attacker could also
disable transIormers Irom a distance using conventional riIles.
The vulnerability oI individual transIormer substations has been demonstrated by successIul
attacks in recent years. In the most serious case, a riIle attack occurred in April 2013 at PG&E`s
500 kV substation in MetcalI, CA. In this attack, multiple individuals outside the substation
reportedly shot at the HV transIormer radiators with .30 caliber rounds, causing them to leak
cooling oil, overheat, and become inoperative.
In October 2013, the U.S. Justice Department
charged an individual with attacks on the transmission grid in Arkansas, including a deliberate
Iire at Entergy`s 500 kV substation in Lonoke County. The Iire consumed the substation control
house but electrical service was not interrupted.
In 2005, at a Progress Energy substation in
Florida, a riIle attack ruptured a transIormer oil tank, ultimately causing an explosion and local
Other attacks on substation equipment have been reported with some regularity,
although most have been attributed to vandals or careless hunters.
It is very diIIicult to restore a damaged HV transIormer substation. As noted above, transmission
experts assert that most HV transIormers currently in service are custom designed and, thereIore,
cannot be generally interchanged. Furthermore, at $3-5 million per unit or more, maintaining
large inventories oI spare HV transIormers solely as emergency replacements is prohibitively
costly, so limited extras are on hand. The number oI spares a utility maintains is increasingly
sensitive inIormation, but one regional transmission control area reported in 2007 that it

Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc., personal communication, Warrendale, PA, September 23, 2003.
Lower Colorado River Authority, 'August 6 Update on TransIormer Fire, ,ress release, Austin, TX, August 6, 2003.
RTO Insider, 'Substation Saboteurs No Amateurs`, April 2, 2014, http://www.rtoinsider.com/pjm-grid2020-1113-
Chelsea J. Carter, 'Arkansas Man Charged in Connection with Power Grid Sabotage, CNN, October 12, 2013; Max
Brantley, 'FBI Reports Three Attacks on Power Grid in Lonoke County, Arkansas Times, October 7, 2013.
Jim Peppard, 'Reward OIIered in Power TransIormer Shooting, WTSP News (Tampa), October 17, 2005.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 8
maintained 29 spares Ior 188 transIormers rated 500 kV on its system.
Programs Ior the sharing
oI spare HV transIormers among multiple utilities are discussed later in this report.
Within the United States, transportation oI HV transIormers is diIIicult. Due to their size and
weight, most HV transIormers are transported on special railcars, each with up to 36 axles to
distribute the load. There are Iewer than 20 oI these railcars in the Unites States rated to carry 500
tons or more, which can present a logistical problem iI they are needed in a transIormer
Some specialized Ilatbed trucks can also carry heavy transIormer loads over public
roadways, but the Iew such trucks that exist have less carrying capacity and greater route
restrictions than the railcars because HV transIormers may exceed highway weight limits.
;'-8+.%<8 /0 7: ;-'<$0/-=+-$
Malicious individuals could, without signiIicant training, identiIy critical HV transIormer
locations and time an attack Ior greatest eIIect. This could be accomplished with basic knowledge
oI transmission operations and regional network characteristics drawn Irom publicly available
sources, including electric marketing data indicating constrained areas oI the network.
As stated
in a 2012 National Research Council report, 'terrorists could selectively target key equipment,
especially large transIormers.
The OTA report describes such a scenario:
|One| example is a city served by eight transmission substations spread along a 250-mile line
and located in Iive States. A knowledgeable saboteur would be needed to identiIy and Iind
the eight transmission substations. A highly organized attack would also be required.
However the damage would be enormous, blacking out a Iour-State region, with severe
degradation oI both reliability and economy Ior months.

In 1997, the Irish Republican Army reportedly planned this kind oI coordinated attack against six
transmission substations in the United Kingdom. Although the attack was prevented, had it been
successIul it reportedly could have caused widespread power outages in London and the South
East oI England Ior months.

It is relatively easy to learn about HV transIormer vulnerabilities Irom engineers and operators
experienced with this technology, either domestically or abroad, since the same technology is
used in power grids throughout the world. In the past, transIormer experts have provided CRS
with detailed descriptions oI numerous 'simple ways terrorists could destroy HV transIormers.
General transIormer sabotage inIormation is also available on the Internet. One sabotage manual
associated with white supremacist groups available online includes the Iollowing discussion:

David Egan and Kenneth Seiler, PJM Interconnection, 'PJM Manages Aging TransIormer Fleet, T&D World,
March 1, 2007.
Tom Daspit, 'Schnabel Cars in Service, web page, August 15, 2013, http://southern.railIan.net/schnabel/
Marija Ilic, ProIessor, Engineering and Public Policy and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon
Univ., Pittsburgh, PA, personal communication, September 22, 2003.
NRC, 2012, p.79.
OTA, June 1990, pg. 37.
Stewart Tendler, 'IRA Bombers Plotted to Black Out London and South East Ior Months, The Times, London,
England, April 12, 1997.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 9
The power generation and distribution systems oI most major Western cities are surprisingly
vulnerable.... Attacking during peak consumption times (Winter in cold climates and
Summer in hot climates) will make power diversion impossible.... Arson, explosives or long-
range riIle Iire can be used to disable substations, transIormers and suspension pylons. A
simultaneous attack against a number oI these targets can shut down power ... with the
advantage that service cannot be quickly restored by diverting power Irom another source.
Each broken link in the power grid must be repaired in order to Iully restore service. An
individual, equipped with a silenced riIle or pistol, could easily destroy dozens oI power
transIormers in a very short period oI time.

Security analysts and other industry oIIicials acknowledge that the vulnerability oI HV
transIormers in general is widely known, although understanding the criticality oI particular
assets within the power grid would require more dedicated eIIort.
!"#$%&'( *+&,-%.# G+'$,-+$ 0/- 7: ;-'<$0/-=+-$
Although HV transIormers are relatively large and oIten exposed, Irequently in rural areas, there
are a number oI measures available to help prevent an intentional physical attack against a
transIormer substation. Many oI these measures are employed Ior public saIety and to protect
against theIt, so they may serve multiple purposes. Although security measures appropriate Ior a
particular substation vary depending upon its particular conIiguration and operating proIile, such
measures Iall into a set oI general categories:
! Protecting information about critical HV substations, such as engineering
drawings, power Ilow modeling runs, and site security inIormation, which could
be useIul to a potential attacker.
! Surveillance and monitoring through the use oI video cameras, motion
detectors, imaging, acoustical monitors, aerial drones, and periodic inspection by
security employees.
! Restricting physical access, such as limiting entry only to necessary employees,
installing electronic locks and other access controls, and erecting physical
barriers and controls Ior vehicle entry. Posting Iull-time guards may also be an
option in some circumstances.
! Shielding assets Irom oIIsite attacks using visual barriers such as opaque or
hardened Iencing, erecting taller Iences, or erecting protective walls.
! Modifying substation designs to make them more resistant to physical damage,
Ior example, by strengthening transIormer cooling systems or bushings.
ReconIiguring substation layouts to limit asset visibility or limit the spread oI Iire
may also be options.
Industry and Iederal eIIorts to promote the deployment oI such physical security measures are
discussed later in this report. In addition to these categories, other measures can help to mitigate
the immediate eIIects oI a successIul attack ('resiliency), or to speed Iull system recovery Irom
such an attack. Measures to enhance the cybersecurity oI substation inIormation and control

Axl Hess (a.k.a. AquiliIer), White Resistance Manual J2.4, 2001. See also Herschel Smith, 'A Terrorist Attack That
America Cannot Absorb, captainsjournal.com, blog, September 28, 2010, http://www.captainsjournal.com/2010/09/
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 1:
systems, especially supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are an important
component oI power grid security and are usually coordinated with physical security measures.
*+&./- E<%.%'.%C+$ 0/- 7: ;-'<$0/-=+- *+&,-%.#
Over the last decade or so the electric utility industry and government agencies have engaged in a
number oI initiatives to secure HV transIormers Irom physical attack and to improve recovery in
the event oI a successIul attack. These initiatives include coordination and inIormation sharing,
spare equipment programs, security standards, grid security exercises, and other measures
discussed below.
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The National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), initially published by the Department oI
Homeland Security in 2006, 'outlines how government and private sector participants in the
critical inIrastructure community work together to manage risks and achieve security and
resilience outcomes.
The plan organizes critical inIrastructure into distinct sectors, designating
a Iederal department or agency as the lead coordinator Ior each sectorthe Sector SpeciIic
Agency (SSA). Under the NIPP and Presidential Policy Directive 21 on Critical InIrastructure
Security and Resilience, the Department oI Energy (DOE) is designated as the SSA Ior the
Energy Sector, which includes the electric utility industry (excluding nuclear power plants). As an
SSA, the department is responsible Ior working with the Department oI Homeland Security
(DHS), other Iederal agencies, critical inIrastructure owners, independent regulators, and other
agencies to implement national policy on critical inIrastructure security and resilience.
NIPP also establishes a sector partnership model including private and government coordinating
! The Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC), initially established
in 2004, was organized and administered by companies in the electric power
industry to meet regularly to coordinate policy-related activities designed to
'improve the reliability and resilience oI the electricity subsector, including
physical and cyber inIrastructure.
Through August 15, 2013, the ESCC was
chaired by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the not-
Ior-proIit organization responsible Ior ensuring the reliability oI the North
American grid.
The ESCC has since transitioned to a new structure led by
electric utility industry executives, although NERC`s chieI executive oIIicer
remains on the ESCC steering committee.

Department oI Homeland Security (DHS), 'National InIrastructure Protection Plan, web page, April 7, 2014,
https://www.dhs.gov/national-inIrastructure-protection-plan. The NIPP was mandated under Homeland Security
Presidential Directive 7 issued on December 17, 2003.
Presidential Policy Directive 21, Presidential Policv DirectiveCritical Infrastructure Securitv and Resilience,
February 12, 2013.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), 'Electricity Sub-sector Coordinating Council, web page,
April 7, 2014, http://www.nerc.com/pa/CI/Pages/ESCC.aspx.
Among other Iunctions, NERC develops and enIorces reliability standards, monitors the grid, and trains industry
personnel. In the United States, NERC is subject to FERC oversight.
Gerry W. Cauley, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), letter to U.S. Secretary oI Energy Ernest
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 11
! The Energy Sector Government Coordinating Council (EGCC), also
established in 2004, is the government counterpart to the ESCC. The EGCC is
chaired by the DOE and DHS, incorporating other agencies at all levels oI
government with interest in energy security. The EGCC plays a key role in
implementing the Sector-SpeciIic Plan (discussed below), collaborating with the
ESCC to develop and prioritize security programs and initiatives.

In addition to these councils, other organizations have been established with more speciIic
responsibilities related to grid security.
! The Electricity Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ES-ISAC),
established in 1998, is the electricity sector`s primary communications channel
Ior security-related inIormation, situational awareness, incident management, and
The ES-ISAC is operated by NERC in collaboration with the
DOE and ESCC. Members may anonymously share security-related incident
inIormation with the ES-ISAC by means oI a secure Internet portal. Registered
users receive inIormation on security threats and alerts, remediation, task Iorces,
events, and other security-speciIic resources.

! NERC`s Critical Infrastructure Protection Committee (CIPC) coordinates
NERC`s security initiatives and advises NERC`s Board oI Trustees, its standing
physical and cybersecurity committees, and the ES-ISAC. One oI the CIPC`s key
Iunctions is developing, reviewing, and revising security guidelines; and assisting
in the development and implementation oI NERC standards.

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The 2006 National Infrastructure Protection Plan required each critical inIrastructure sector to
develop a Sector-SpeciIic Plan (SSP) that describes strategies to protect its critical inIrastructure,
outlines a coordinated approach to strengthen its security eIIorts, and determines appropriate
Iunding Ior these activities. The section oI the DOE`s Energv Sector-Specific Plan addressing
electricity was developed in collaboration with the ESCC and EGCC. The plan identiIies high-
voltage transIormers as an electric sector vulnerability due to their criticality to the power grid
and the diIIiculty oI replacing them in the event oI a successIul attack. Among other measures,
the SSP established a goal oI implementing 'agreements that require participants to maintain
transIormers Ior possible sharing in the event oI a terrorist act.
The plan also identiIied the
'need Ior a new type oI emergency spare (recovery/mobile) high-voltage transIormer that can be

Moniz, August 23, 2013, http://www.publicpower.org/Iiles/PDFs/DOESecLetterHistoryESCC.pdI.
Department oI Energy, Energv Sector-Specific Plan, 2010, p. 20.
The ES-ISAC was established under Presidential Decision Directive 63, May 22, 1998.
Electricity Sector InIormation Sharing and Analysis Center (ES-ISAC), 'Frequently Asked Questions, web page,
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), 'Critical InIrastructure Protection Committee (CIPC),
web page, http://www.nerc.com/comm/CIPC/Pages/deIault.aspx, April 8, 2014.
Department oI Homeland Security, Energv Sector-Specific Plan, 2010, p. 54.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 12
deployed and energized quickly to rapidly recover Irom outages caused by natural disasters and
deliberate attacks.

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In November 2010, the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council published its Critical
Infrastructure Strategic Roadmap report, to provide a Iramework Ior identiIying risks that could
seriously disrupt the grid and Ior promoting actions to enhance grid reliability and resilience. The
report paid particular attention to 'severe-impact risks with the potential to impact large portions
oI the grid, or disrupt service Ior an extended period oI time.
The report considered three
principal risk scenarios, including
Scenario 1: Physical Attack on Significant Electricity System Equipment
A coordinated physical attack on key nodes oI the bulk power system critically disables
diIIicult to replace equipment in multiple generating stations or substations and could have a
signiIicant aIIect |sic| on the remainder oI the system. A prolonged period oI time is required
to Iully restore the bulk power system to normal operation.

The report recommended a current capability assessment to prevent and respond to such a
scenario as a 'high priority. The report also recommended as 'important both a study oI
'options and practices to enhance physical protection oI critical equipment requiring long
recovery times (e.g., large high-voltage transIormers) and an initiative to 'enhance the
availability oI critical spare equipment ... starting with high voltage transIormers.

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Consistent with the recommendations oI the studies above, several programs have been instituted
within the electric power sector to address the operational issues that emerge due to the scarcity
oI spare HV transIormers and associated equipment in the event oI a physical attack or other grid
I7* B+&/C+-# ;-'<$0/-=+- !-/8-'=
In 2008, the Department oI Homeland Security (DHS) initiated a program to develop a prototype
'Recovery TransIormer (RecX) which could enable recovery Irom transIormer Iailure within
days rather than months or longer.
The RecX transIormer was intended to be adaptable to a
range oI common grid speciIications as well as being smaller, lighter, easier to transport, and
quicker to install than conventional HV transIormers. The RecX prototype was designed to
replace the most common HV transIormers (345 kV) used in the U.S. grid.
This conIiguration

Department oI Homeland Security, Energv Sector-Specific Plan, 2010, p. 70.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Critical Infrastructure Strategic Roadmap, November
2010, p. 2, http://ccpic.mai.gov.ro/docs/NERCESCCCriticalInIrastructureStrategicRoadmap.pdI.
NERC, November 2010, p.18. This scenario involved the loss oI three HV substations serving large urban centers
with a restoration time to 100 operating capacity oI 6-18 months.
NERC, November 2010, pp.19-20.
The program was partly Iunded by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate in a consortium with the Electric
Power Research Institute, CenterPoint Energy, and ABB.
ABB, 'US Rapid Recovery TransIormer Initiative Succeeds Using Specially-Designed ABB TransIormers, press
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 13
reportedly could be used to replace approximately one quarter oI the 2,100 transIormers in this
voltage class currently deployed.
In 2012, the only three single-phase RecX prototype units
were installed in an operating 345 kV substation in Texas during a simulated emergency drill. The
units remain in operation, having met or exceeded their service requirements. Although the RecX
transIormers have reliability and eIIiciency characteristics comparable to other 345 kV
transIormers, and are also comparably priced ($7.5 million each), the manuIacturer had received
no orders Ior commercial production oI these units as oI February 2014.
Having successIully
demonstrated the RecX concept, the DHS is no longer Iunding the RecX program.
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In 2006, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the main trade association Ior U.S. investor-owned
electric utilities, initiated its Spare TransIormer Equipment Program (STEP) to strengthen 'the
sector`s ability to restore the nation`s transmission system more quickly in the event oI a terrorist
The STEP program requires participating utilities to maintain (or acquire) a speciIic
number oI transIormers up to 500 kV to be made available to other utilities in case oI a critical
substation Iailure. Sharing oI transIormers is mandatory based on a binding contract subject to a
'triggering eventa coordinated act oI deliberate, documented terrorism resulting in the
destruction or disabling oI a transmission substation and the declaration oI a state oI emergency
by the President.
FERC granted blanket authorization Ior the transIer and cost recovery oI
transmission equipment under the STEP program in September 2006.
State regulators with
jurisdiction over participating utilities have also granted pre-approval Ior STEP transIers.
program is designed to deal with terrorist events, but it also provides a mechanism Ior voluntary
sharing oI transIormers in other emergencies, although these may require additional regulatory
approvals. EEI requires annual recertiIication and conducts a STEP program drill every summer
to ensure the program and its members will be Iully prepared to respond in the event oI an actual
triggering event.

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In 2012, NERC initiated its Spare Equipment Database (SED) program intended to serve as a tool
to 'Iacilitate timely communications between those needing long-lead time equipment damaged

release, October 4, 2012.
Matthew L. Wald, 'A Drill to Replace Crucial TransIormers (Not the Hollywood Kind), New York Times, March
14, 2012.
National Research Council (NRC), The Resilience of the Electric Power Deliverv Svstem in Response to Terrorism
and Natural Disasters. Summarv of a Workshop, 2013; Sarah Mahmood, Department oI Homeland Security, personal
communication, February 10, 2014.
Edison Electric Institute (EEI), 'Spare TransIormers, web page, April 10, 2014, http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/
Edison Electric Institute (EEI), 'Overview oI the Spare TransIormer Equipment Program, slide presentation,
February 23, 2014.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Order on Application for Blanket Authori:ation for Transfers of
Jurisdictional Facilities and Petition for Declaratorv Order, Docket Nos. EC06-14-000 and EL06-86-000, September
22, 2006.
EEI, February 23, 2014.
Edison Electric Institute, brieIing Ior the Congressional Research Service, February 23, 2014.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 14
in a |High Impact, Low Frequency| event and those equipment owners who may be able to share
existing equipment being held as spares by their organization.
The SED program is a
conIidential web-based catalog oI spare transIormers rated at 100 kV or higher. Only NERC and
the equipment owners can see their spares data (although NERC can make high-level reports to
FERC); requests Ior equipment are double-blind. Participation is voluntary and requires no
commitment or mandatory sharing oI spares.
Unlike EEI`s STEP program, however, the SED
program has not been granted pre-approval Irom FERC or state regulators Ior equipment
transIers. Thus, the ability to transIer the ownership oI transIormers Irom one company to another
may require additional approvals, even during an emergency.
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NERC and FERC have conducted grid security computer simulations and exercises speciIically
incorporating hypothetical attacks on HV transIormer substations.
4-%5KO '<5 4-%5KO EE
In 2011, NERC conducted GridEx 2011, its Iirst electric sector-wide grid security exercise. The
exercise assessed the readiness oI utilities to respond to a cyberattack, strengthened their crisis
response, and provided input Ior internal security program improvements. Although the exercise
was Iocused on a cyberattack, it did involve physical incursions into power grid substations as
well as aspects oI grid monitoring and recovery that would be relevant to an attack on HV
Among other Iindings, the exercise determined that 'utilities took appropriate
steps to secure the grid.
Nonetheless, NERC recommended that 'entities should ensure their
response protocols address a coordinated threat, and that it would 'Iacilitate and support the
development oI updated physical security guidance.

AIter the MetcalI attack in 2013, NERC conducted a second, more expansive grid security
exercise, GridEx II. The exercise scenario, developed using open-source techniques, included a
cyberattack on the grid coupled with a coordinated physical attack against a subset oI
transmission and generation assetsincluding HV transIormer substations.
Among other
conclusions, NERC`s aIter-action report stated:
While the electricity industry has experienced occasional acts oI sabotage or vandalism, a
well-coordinated physical attack also presents particular challenges Ior how the industry
restores power.... The extreme challenges posed by the Severe Event scenario provided an

North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Special Report. Spare Equipment Database Svstem,
August 2011.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), 'Spare Equipment Database, slide presentation, NERC
Industry Webinar, July 22, 2013, http://www.nerc.com/pa/RAPA/webinardl/SEDPresentationJuly222013.pdI.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), 2011 NERC Grid Securitv Exercise. After Action Report,
March 2012, p. i.
NERC, 2012, p. ii.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Grid Securitv Exercise (GridEx II). After-Action Report,
March 2014, p.15; Matthew L. Wald, 'Attack Ravages Power Grid. (Just a Test.), New York Times, November 14,
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 15
opportunity Ior participants to discuss how the electricity industry`s mutual aid arrangements
and inventories oI critical spare equipment may need to be enhanced.

NERC did not publicly report details about the overall impacts to the grid or outages in particular
regions due to the sensitive nature oI such inIormation. Utilities and other agencies participating
in the exercise viewed it a useIul tool Ior utilities to test their readiness and preparedness Ior
attacks on the grid.

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In early 2013, prior to the MetcalI attack, then-FERC Chairman John WellinghoII directed FERC
staII to prepare an analysis identiIying critical HV substations in the North American power
Using power Ilow analysis soItware to model the impacts to the transmission system Irom
the loss oI speciIic grid assets,
FERC staII compiled a list oI 'Electrically SigniIicant Locations
(ESLs) within the grid.
Neither details oI the ESL study methodology nor its results have been
released publicly by FERC or other agencies, although some Iindings have been reported in the
press and discussed publicly by Iederal oIIicials. According to the Wall Street Journal, the FERC
analysis identiIied 30 critical transIormers substations; in FERC`s simulation, losing nine oI these
substations (in various combinations) as the result oI a coordinated attack reportedly was Iound to
cause a nationwide blackout Ior an extended time.

Members oI Congress were highly critical oI both the Wall Street Journal and FERC oIIicials Ior
inappropriately releasing what was perceived to be highly sensitive inIormation about power grid
physical vulnerability.
A subsequent investigation by the Department oI Energy`s Inspector
General concluded that FERC`s handling oI the ESL study Iindings was improper.
protection oI inIormation about grid security is Iurther discussed in a later section oI this report.

NERC, March 2014, p. 5.
See, Ior example, American Public Power Association, 'Physical Security and the Electric Sector, Iact sheet,
February 2014, http://www.publicpower.org/Iiles/PDFs/PhysicalSecurityIBFebruary2014.pdI; Matthew L. Wald,
'Power Grid Preparedness Falls Short, Report Says, New York Times, March 12, 2014.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), 'Second Set oI Responses oI the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission to Senator Murkowski`s Separately Submitted Questions Ior the Record Irom April 10, 2014 Hearing oI
the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, May 5, 2014, pp. 12-13, http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/
FERC staII employed the commission`s Topological and Impedance Element Ranking (TIER) model to identiIy
'signiIicant assets based upon undisclosed criteria. For more details oI the TIER model, see Bernard C. Lesieutre et
al., 'Topological and Impedance Element Ranking (TIER) oI the BulkPower System, University oI Wisconsin
Madison, prepared Ior the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, August 2009, https://www.Ierc.gov/EventCalendar/
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), 'Response to Senator Murkowski`s Separately Submitted
Questions Ior the Record Irom April 10, 2014 Hearing oI the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee,
Question 39, May 5, 2014, p. 2, http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cIm/Iiles/serve?Fileid2826I80a-a986-
Rebecca Smith, 'U.S. Risks National Blackout Irom Small-Scale Attack on Substations, Wall Street Journal, March
13, 2014.
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 'Landrieu, Murkowski Ask Inspector General to Examine
Leaks oI Grid Vulnerabilities, press release, March 31, 2014.
U.S. Department oI Energy, OIIice oI Inspector General, 'Review oI Internal Controls Ior Protecting Non-Public
InIormation at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE/IG-0906, April 9, 2014.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 16
7: ;-'<$0/-=+- *+&,-%.# *.'<5'-5$
Several grid security guidelines or standards have been developed or proposed to address the
physical security oI the grid, including HV transIormers. These standards have been promulgated
by NERC as voluntary best practices since at least 2002, with subsequent revisions. However, in
the wake oI the MetcalI incident, FERC has ordered the imposition oI mandatory physical
security standards in 2014.
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In 2000, the Institute oI Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a technical proIessional
society, published its Iirst standards Ior electric power substation physical and electronic security.
The voluntary standard addressed 'security issues related to human intrusion upon electric power
supply substations and various methods to mitigate them.
The standard called Ior the
development oI security assessments and, Ior 'high-risk areas, increased security measures such
as motion detectors, perimeter/area detection systems, security cameras, physical barriers, and
posted guards.
However, according to the IEEE, the standard is intended to address security
issues related to unauthorized access, theIt, and vandalism. The IEEE states that 'attacks against
the substation Ior the purpose oI destroying its capability to operate, such as explosives,
projectiles, vehicles, etc. are beyond the scope oI this standard.

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In June 2002, NERC published its initial guidance Ior physical response to security alerts Irom
the Iederal government. This alert system was revised in October 2002 to correspond to DHS`s
new color-coded threat level system.
NERC`s guidance was voluntary, intended to provide
'examples oI security measures that electric utility organizations may consider taking, based on
the Alerts issued.
NERC`s guidance included 35 speciIic security measures Ior the Iive threat
DHS levels. These measures ranged Irom 'occasional workIorce awareness programs and
annual security plan reviews during times oI low threat (green) to continuous monitoring oI
critical Iacilities, potentially with armed guards, during times oI highest threat (red).
Along with
this guidance, NERC published initial guidelines Ior vulnerability and risk assessment to help
identiIy critical Iacilities and countermeasures to mitigate threats.

Institute oI Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 1402-2000 - IEEE Guide for Electric Power Substation
Phvsical and Electronic Securitv, January 30, 2000.
IEEE, January 30, 2000, p. 16.
Institute oI Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 'P1402Standard Ior Physical Security oI Electric Power
Substations, web page, June 3, 2014, http://standards.ieee.org/develop/project/1402.html.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Threat Alert Svstem and Phvsical Response Guidelines for
the Electricitv Sub-sector, Version 2.0, October 8, 2002, http://www.iwar.org.uk/inIocon/threat-levels/
NERC, October 8, 2002, p. 2.
NERC, October 8, 2002, pp. 3-4.
NERC, Securitv Guidelines for the Electricitv Sector. Julnerabilitv and Risk Assessment, June 14, 2002,
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 17
In November 2005, NERC published a third version oI its physical security guidelines, to provide
'examples oI security measures that other electricity sector organizations should consider when
responding to threat level alerts |emphasis added|.
Thus, while still voluntary, these measures
appear to have been intended as recommendations rather than considerations as stated in the
earlier versions. The 2005 document included 55 measures, including new measures and existing
measures expanded or described more speciIically. New measures during times oI low threat
included, Ior example, annual audits oI critical Iacility access programs and identiIying critical
Iacility long-term and short-term security measures (e.g., vulnerability assessments and security

The Energy Policy Act oI 2005 (P.L. 109-58) mandated the implementation oI electric grid
reliability standards under new authority granted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
FERC subsequently designated NERC as the Electric Reliability Organization certiIied by the
commission to establish and enIorce reliability standards Ior the U.S. electric transmission grid,
subject to commission review. In 2008, FERC approved NERC`s initial reliability standards Ior
critical inIrastructure; however, these standards were developed primarily to address transmission
grid cybersecurity, not physical security.
Subsequent NERC standards have expanded these
cybersecurity requirements.
In October 2013, NERC published its most recent revision to its physical security guidance,
Securitv Guideline for the Electricitv Sub-sector. Phvsical Securitv Response, providing to
electricity sector members 'actions they should consider when responding to the threat alerts
issued by the DHS.
Continuing its voluntary (rather than regulatory) approach to physical
security, NERC`s guidance states that 'each organization decides the risk it can accept and the
practices it deems appropriate to manage its risk.
This version oI NERC`s guidance lays out 77
distinct security measures corresponding to three levels oI threat: (1) Normal Operations/Best
Practices, (2) Elevated, and (3) Imminent.
DKBA !"#$%&'( *+&,-%.# S+$. !-'&.%&+$
In 2013, FERC staII along with staII Irom the Federal Bureau oI Investigation (FBI), DOE, DHS,
and NERC participated in a number oI meetings with utilities and law enIorcement agencies to
discuss immediate Iindings and recommendations stemming Irom the MetcalI substation attack.
As part oI these meetings, FERC staII shared with utilities a list oI best practices Ior physical
security. Although the list has not been made public, it reportedly included prescriptive security
measures (e.g., outward-Iacing video surveillance) Iocused on security threats similar to that
experienced at the MetcalI substation.
In 2014, DHS, in coordination with FERC, the ES-ISAC,

NERC, Securitv Guidelines for the Electricitv Sector. Phvsical Response, November 1, 2005, p.1,
NERC, November 1, 2005, p. 3.
FERC Order 706.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), NERC. Securitv Guideline for the Electricitv Sub-sector.
Phvsical Securitv Response, October 28, 2013, p. 1, http://www.nerc.com/comm/CIPC/SecurityGuidelinesCurrent/
NERC, October 28, 2013, p.1.
Edison Electric Institute, brieIing Ior the Congressional Research Service, February 23, 2014.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 18
NERC, the FBI, and industry experts, has convened another series oI regional brieIings across
North America with utilities and law enIorcement oIIicials to Iollow up on the initial outreach
regarding substation physical security.

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On March 7, 2014, FERC ordered NERC to submit to the commission within 90 days proposed
reliability standards requiring certain transmission owners 'to take steps or demonstrate that they
have taken steps to address physical security risks and vulnerabilities related to the reliable
operation oI the power grid.
In its order FERC states that physical security standards are
necessary because 'the current Reliability Standards do not speciIically require entities to take
steps to reasonably protect against physical security attacks.
According to FERC`s order, the
new reliability standards must require transmission owners or operators to perIorm a risk
assessment oI their systems to identiIy their 'critical Iacilities, evaluate the potential threats and
vulnerabilities to those identiIied Iacilities, and develop and implement a security plan designed
to protect against attacks to those identiIied critical Iacilities.
The order requires that each oI
these steps be veriIied by NERC or another third party qualiIied to review them.
On May 23, 2014, NERC Iiled with FERC its proposal Ior mandatory physical security
The proposed standard applies to transmission owners with assets operating at 500
kV or higher as well as owners with substations operating between 200 kV and 499 kV iI they
meet certain interconnection or load-carrying criteria.
The standard consists oI six principal
requirements (R1-R6), summarized as Iollows:
R1. Risk assessments by transmission owners to identiIy critical transmission Iacilities;
R2. Independent third party veriIication oI risk assessments conducted under R1;
R3. Requirement Ior transmission owners with critical Iacilities identiIied under R1 but not
under their operational control to notiIy the transmission operator oI these Iacilities;

R4. Mandatory threat and vulnerability assessments Ior critical Iacilities conducted by
transmission owners and operators;

Gerry Cauley, CEO, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), letter to Senator Harry Reid,
February 12, 2014, p. 2, http://www.nerc.com/news/Headlines20DL/
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Reliabilitv Standards for Phvsical Securitv Measures, Order
Directing Filing oI Standards, Docket No. RD14-6-000, March 7, 2014, p.1, http://www.Ierc.gov/CalendarFiles/
FERC, March 7, 2014, p. 2.
FERC, March 7, 2014, pp. 3-4.
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Petition oI the North American Electric Reliability
Corporation Ior Approval oI Proposed Reliability Standard CIP-014-1, May 23, 2014, http://www.nerc.com/
NERC, May 23, 2014, Exhibit A, p. 1.
A regional transmission operator (RTO) administers the transmission grid Ior multiple transmission owners in a
speciIied region in accordance with FERC Order No. 2000. RTOs and independent system operators (ISOs) are deIined
in section 3 oI the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 796).
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 19
R5. Development, documentation, and implementation oI physical security plans to protect
critical Iacilities; and
R6. Independent third party review oI the threat and vulnerability assessments perIormed
under R4 and security plans developed under R5.

The proposed standard also lays out a process Ior compliance monitoring and assessment
including audits, selI-certiIications, spot checking, violation investigations, selI-reporting, and
handling complaints.
The new standard would be enIorced by NERC or another Regional Entity
under a penalty review policy Ior mandatory reliability standards approved by FERC subject to
the Commission`s enIorcement authority and oversight under P.L. 109-58.

A/=H'<#9*H+&%0%& E<%.%'.%C+$
Electric utilities have long had an ongoing responsibility to ensure grid reliability, in part through
operating practices and investments related to grid saIety and security.
As the standards in the
previous section suggest, there has been some level oI physical security investment and an
increasing reIinement oI grid security practices across the electric power sector Ior at least the last
15 years. Nonetheless, several major transmission owners have recently announced signiIicant
new initiatives speciIically to improve the physical security oI critical transIormer substations in
light oI the MetcalI attack. Other utilities have included new substation security investments in
broader initiatives Ior company security.
The Iollowing examples illustrate the types oI security
changes being proposed by these grid owners. Note that other major utilities have not publicly
announced similar new security initiatives. A comprehensive review or comparison oI physical
security plans among all major grid owners in the United States is beyond the scope oI this report.
;"+ ;+<<+$$++ :'((+# T,."/-%.#
In February 2012, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced that it was 'realigning its
operations and structure to enhance security at TVA`s non-nuclear power Iacilities ... Iocusing
more oI our non-nuclear security resources on our critical inIrastructure, including HV
The realignment included ending uniIormed patrols in Iavor oI installing more
security technology, and the stationing oI contract guards 24 hours a day at critical Iacilities.
Together with local law enIorcement cooperation, the shiIt to contract guards was intended to

NERC, May 1, 2014, Section B.
NERC, May 1, 2014, p. 14.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Statement of Administrative Policv on Processing Reliabilitv
Notices of Penaltv and Order Revising Statement in Order No. 672, Docket Nos. AD08-6-000 and RM05-30-002, April
17, 2008.
For example, see security discussion in Con Edison, Initial BrieI on BehalI oI Consolidated Edison Company oI New
York, Inc. in Support oI a Permanent Electric Rate Increase, BeIore the New York State Public Service Commission,
November 30, 2007, http://media.corporate-ir.net/mediaIiles/irol/61/61493/total120507.pdI.
See Southern CaliIornia Edison, Safetv, Securitv, & Compliance (SS&C).Jolume 4Corporate Securitv and
Business Resiliency, 2015 General Rate Case, BeIore the Public Utilities Commission oI the State oI CaliIornia,
November 2013, http://www3.sce.com/sscc/law/dis/dbattach5e.nsI/0/0B9F998127246B4288257C21008148B0/$FILE/
Tennessee Valley Authority, 'TVA Realigns Security to Enhance Protection at Non-Nuclear Assets, press release,
February 17, 2012, http://www.tva.gov/news/releases/janmar12/tvap.html.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 2:
provide a more persistent security presence and Iaster incident response at key locations. Among
the security technologies reportedly deployed by TVA are 'surveillance, inIrared cameras, video
analytics Ior alarm veriIication and assessment, virtual perimeters, card readers, |and| automated
TVA`s security initiatives in 2012 appear to have been motivated primarily by security
concerns such as copper theIt, but would be applicable to more serious security risks such as
terror attacks. In February 2014, aIter the MetcalI incident, TVA reportedly stated that it was
'intensiIying eIIorts to educate local law enIorcement about the importance oI substations,
including taking police on site visits to see substations during normal operations.
The utility
has also been canvassing residents near TVA property asking them to report unusual activity
around grid Iacilities.
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In February 2014, in response to the attack on its MetcalI substation, PG&E announced that it
would be investing approximately $100 million over three years to improve substation security.
Physical security measures mentioned by the company include new perimeter barriers, shielding
Ior certain equipment, more cameras (inside and outside the Ience), and clearing vegetation. For
its most critical Iacilities, the company is 'studying advanced detection technology such as night
vision and thermal imaging.
Other security measures mentioned in news reports about PG&E
include enhanced lighting, 24-hour security guards, and increased patrols by local law
enIorcement agencies.

In February 2014, Dominion Virginia Power, an operating company oI Dominion, announced
plans to spend up to $500 million over Iive to seven years 'to harden its transmission substations
and other critical inIrastructure against man-made physical threats and natural disasters, as well as
stockpile crucial equipment Ior major damage recovery.
Dominion reportedly began to
increase substation security eIIorts in 2013, Iocusing Iirst on substations at greatest risk.

Among the security measures identiIied by the utility are physical barriers, additional access
control, equipment design/hardening, polymer bushing installation, additional spare equipment,
and relocation oI spare equipment to oII-site storage areas. Other measures reportedly include
dual-perimeter 'no man zones around substations and installing systems Ior key-card access to
substation yards.
Dominion`s security plan has yet to be approved by Virginia regulators Ior
cost recovery in electric rates.

'Addressing Cyber and Physical Risks in Modern Utility Security, Securitv, March 1, 2014,
Rebecca Smith, 'U.S. Utilities Tighten Security AIter 2013 Attack, Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2014.
Geisha Williams, Executive Vice President oI Electric Operations, PaciIic Gas and Electric Company, 'PG&E
MetcalI Attack: GunIire on Substation Has Led to Greater Security, San Jose Mercurv News, April 15, 2014.
'PG&E to Spend $87M on Security to Protect Large Substations Irom Attack, KTVU, Oakland, CA, February 12,
Dominion. 'Substation Security, Iact sheet, Spring 2014, https://www.dom.com/about/electric-transmission/pdI/
Tracy Sears, 'Troopers Increase Security at Virginia Substations Critical to Grid, WTVR, March 11, 2014.
Peter Bacque, 'Va. Power to Spend Up to $500M on Security Plan, Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 8, 2014.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 21
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In its 2014 draIt Securitv Asset Management Strategv, the Bonneville Power Administration
(BPA) proposes approximately $37 million in additional capital spending through FY2020 Ior
physical security measures at approximately 60 critical transIormer substations.
BPA`s Strategv
states that, over the last 13 years, the utility 'has conducted hundreds oI security and risk
assessments using several industry accepted methodologies, and began implementing security
improvements based on these risk assessments beginning in 2001.

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The recent transIormer substations attacks, together with Iederal grid security exercises, have
Iocused attention on the vulnerability oI HV transIormer substations to organized physical
attacks. As the electric power industry and Iederal agencies continue their eIIorts to improve the
physical security oI critical HV transIormer substations, Congress may consider several key
issues as part oI its oversight oI the sector.
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A Iundamental consideration regarding HV transIormer security is a clear and stable
understanding oI which transIormers are 'critical. The USA PATRIOT Act oI 2001 deIines
'critical inIrastructure in the most general sense as 'systems and assets ... so vital to the United
States that the incapacity or destruction oI such systems and assets would have a debilitating
impact on security, national economic security, national public health or saIety, or any
combination oI those matters.
It its 2009 guidelines Ior identiIying critical assets speciIically
in the electricity sector, NERC deIines critical assets as those 'that iI destroyed, degraded,
compromised (e.g., misused) or otherwise rendered unavailable would unacceptably aIIect the
reliability or operability oI the |Bulk-Power System| as a whole....
FERC`s 2014 order
mandating physical security standards Ior the grid deIines a 'critical Iacility as 'one that, iI
rendered inoperable or damaged, could have a critical impact on the operation oI the
interconnection through instability, uncontrolled separation or cascading Iailures on the Bulk-
Power System.
All three deIinitions associate 'criticality with a Iailure event oI national
signiIicance, although none provides a more prescriptive basis Ior identiIying such assets.
In its physical security order, FERC does not require that a 'mandatory number oI critical
Iacilities be identiIied under the standards.
Determination oI whether a speciIic HV transIormer

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Securitv Asset Management Strategv, February 2014, p. 29,
BPA, February 2014, p. 31.
P.L. 107-56 1016(e).
North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), 'Security Guideline Ior the Electricity Sector: IdentiIying
Critical Assets, September 17, 2009, p. 1, http://www.nerc.com/IileUploads/File/Standards/ReIerence20Documents/
FERC, March 7, 2014, p. 3.
FERC, March 7, 2014, p. 3.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 22
is 'critical will be based on each individual asset owner`s 'objective analysis, technical
expertise, and experienced judgment.
In its proposed physical security standards, NERC
requires transmission owners with HV assets meeting prescriptive criteria to examine whether
they mav have critical transIormers, but it is up to the owners to determine themselves iI any oI
their assets are critical through a periodic risk assessment based on their own respective
transmission analyses, subject to independent validation.
Thus, grid owners could have
considerable latitude in determining which oI their transIormer substations (iI any) are critical
and thereIore subject to the requirements oI the new standard.
Although there are many candidate transIormer substations in the grid, relatively Iew are likely to
be oI national signiIicance. As discussed above, oI the numerous HV transIormer substations in
the United States, FERC`s 2013 power Ilow analysis identiIied only 30 as being critical to the
national grid (although each oI these substations may contain multiple HV transIormers).
Whether the number oI critical transIormer substations under FERC`s deIinition above turns out
to be higher or lower than 30, it will likely be only a small Iraction oI the total asset base. This
conclusion is consistent with FERC`s expectation that under NERC`s new standard 'the number
oI Iacilities identiIied as critical will be relatively small.... For example, oI the many substations
on the Bulk-Power System, our preliminary view is that most oI these would not be critical` as
the term is used in this order.
Consistent with this view, the NERC working group responsible
Ior draIting the proposed physical security standard likewise expects the number oI critical
Iacilities to be 'small and that many Transmission Owners that meet the applicability oI this
standard will not actually identiIy any such Facilities.

Properly identiIying which HV transIormer substations are critical is a key issue. Otherwise, the
electricity sector risks the possibility oI hardening too many substations, hardening the wrong
substations, or both. Either outcome could increase ultimate costs to electricity consumers
without commensurate security beneIits, and could potentially divert limited security resources
Irom other important grid priorities (e.g., cybersecurity). Independent veriIication is intended to
validate utility assessments oI substation criticality, but the standard`s reliance on company-by-
company assessments may still allow Ior important diIIerences in analytic methodology or
assumptions, and thus inconsistent conclusions about transIormer criticality. Furthermore,
company-speciIic studies may not align with a 'top down assessment oI asset criticality like that
perIormed by FERC in its Electrically SigniIicant Location (ESL) analysis. Congress may
examine whether company-speciIic assessments oI transIormer criticality could diIIer Irom
national-level assessments and what implications, iI any, such diIIerences might have on overall
grid security and company eIIorts to protect particular substations.
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Ensuring the conIidentially oI critical inIrastructure inIormation has been a long-standing concern
across all critical inIrastructure sectors. It is a key reason Ior the establishment oI sector
InIormation Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), including the Electricity Sector ISAC,
discussed above. ConIidentiality also Iactors into the administration oI the industry`s spare

FERC, March 7, 2014, p. 3.
NERC, May 1, 2014, p. 30.
FERC, March 7, 2014, p. 3.
NERC, May 1, 2014, p. 28.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 23
transIormer programs and other activities related to critical inIrastructure. FERC has established
policies Ior the protection oI critical energy inIrastructure inIormation (CEII) through a series oI
orders, beginning with Order 630, issued February 21, 2003.
The order ( 27) deIines CEII as
inIormation that 'must relate to critical inIrastructure, be potentially useIul to terrorists, and be
exempt Irom disclosure under the Freedom oI InIormation Act |FOIA|. It also establishes
procedures and responsibilities Ior determining what inIormation qualiIies as CEII and handling
CEII requests.
FERC`s 2014 order mandating physical security standards also requires
procedures to ensure conIidential treatment oI sensitive inIormation.

Press articles in the wake oI the MetcalI attacks, notably in the Wall Street Journal, cited speciIic
details about FERC`s 2013 ESL analysis, reportedly Irom a copy oI a FERC presentation obtained
by the paper. Notwithstanding FERC`s orders on CEII, Members oI Congress and FERC oIIicials
have expressed concern that the release oI the presentation by FERC staII and the publication oI
details in the press potentially compromised grid security.
Others reportedly have disputed this
concern, including the Iormer FERC Commissioner responsible Ior commissioning and
presenting the ESL study Iindings at industry meetings.
In April 2014, the DOE Inspector
General concluded that the FERC presentation in question 'should have been classiIied and
protected Irom release and 'that the Commission may not possess adequate controls Ior
identiIying and handling classiIied national security inIormation.
The Acting Chairman oI
FERC has testiIied that the commission is adopting the Inspector General`s recommendations to
improve its handling oI CEII and requested additional authority Irom Congress Ior exemption
Irom FOIA.

FERC staII may be improving the way CEII is saIeguarded in response to the Inspector General`s
report, but securing CEII may continue to be an issue iI NERC`s new physical security
regulations are approved by the commission. NERC`s regulations would require independent risk
assessments by multiple grid owners and 3
party validation oI those assessments. This process,
by construction, would cause considerable new CEII to be created (e.g., multiple Midwest power
Ilow models) and shared among utilities, RTOs, and consultants in ways that may be new to the
industry. Ensuring that CEII generated and transIerred among these entities remains secure could
require special attention. As FERC`s improper management oI the ESL study inIormation shows,
having strong CEII policies in place may not guarantee that those policies will be correctly and
uniIormly Iollowedeven by the agency that created them.

For an overview, see Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), 'Critical Energy InIrastructure InIormation
(CEII) Regulations, web page, June 28, 2010, http://www.Ierc.gov/legal//maj-ord-reg/land-docs/ceii-rule.asp.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Order No. 630, Final Rule, February 21, 2003,
FERC, March 7, 2014, p. 10.
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 'Sens. Landrieu, Murkowski Ask Inspector General to
Examine Leaks oI Grid Vulnerabilities, press release, March 27, 2014; The Honorable Cheryl LaFleur, Chairman
(Acting), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Testimony BeIore the Senate Committee on Energy and
Natural Resources Hearing, 'Keeping the Lights OnAre We Doing Enough to Ensure the Reliability and Security oI
the U.S. Electric Grid?, April 10, 2014.
Bobby McMahon, 'WellinghoII Says FERC Analysis oI Grid Vulnerability was Public, Calls Review Waste oI
Time`, Inside FERC, March 31, 2014, p. 1.
U.S. Department oI Energy, OIIice oI Inspector General, 'Review oI Internal Controls Ior Protecting Non-Public
InIormation at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE/IG-0906, April 2014, p. 1.
The Honorable Cheryl LaFleur, Testimony on April 10, 2014.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 24
T5+M,'&# /0 7: ;-'<$0/-=+- !-/.+&.%/<
The electric power sector has had physical security guidelines in place Ior well over a decade, as
discussed above. These voluntary guidelines have been updated and expanded periodically to
reIlect industry experience, changes in the security environment, and new technologies. Prior to
2014, however, it appears that the physical security initiatives among grid owners were Iocused
primarily on preventing vandalism and theIt (oI copper wire) rather than a terrorist attack.
the recent substation attacks in CaliIornia, Arkansas, and Florida have shown, many other security
measures available to grid owners were not implementedeven at critical HV substations.
A grid owner`s Iocus on vandalism and theIt may be understandable because such incidents have
occurred Irequently and their associated costs are tangible and well-understood. Investing in
security against a terrorist attack presents a greater challenge in terms oI costs and beneIits. As a
2006 report Irom the Electric Power Research Institute states,
Security measures, in themselves, are cost items, with no direct monetary return. The
beneIits are in the avoided costs oI potential attacks whose probability is generally not
known. This makes cost-justiIication very diIIicult.

Note that cost-justiIication requires not only the approval oI utility management, but also oI
FERC and potentially state public utility commissions which regulate the rates grid owners may
charge Ior electric transmission and distribution service. Regulators are responsible Ior ensuring
that electricity rates are just and reasonable. They must be convinced that any new grid security
capital costs and expenses are necessary and prudent beIore they will allow them to be passed
through to ratepayers.
The MetcalI incident and GridEx exercises have provided the electric sector with valuable new
inIormation about the potential threat, vulnerability, and consequence oI a coordinated attack on
HV transIormers. Risk assessments incorporating this inIormation presumably would justiIy
(with or without a new NERC standard) increased security investments at critical substations to
prevent intentional attacks. The recently announced voluntary spending plans at PG&E,
Dominion, and BPA Ior HV substation security appear to reIlect such risk and cost-beneIit
reassessments. Nonetheless, there continues to be considerable uncertainty about the risk oI terror
attacks on the power grid, and what measures are economically justiIied in addressing them.
PG&E, BPA, and the other utilities announcing large security investments have already decided
to make such investments, but they are in the minority. Other major owners oI critical HV
transIormers have not publicly announced similar plans.
NERC`s proposed standards Ior power grid physical security would ensure considerable
consistency in the process utilities must undertake to identiIy critical substations and develop
plans to secure them. However, they may not ensure consistency among the various security plans
nor in the speciIic measures the individual asset owners will choose to implement to reduce the
risk oI intentional attacks. As FERC continues to implement its policy oI regulating physical
security oI the power grid, Congress may examine whether company-speciIic security initiatives

See, Ior example, Michael Wills, 'Changes at Duke Energy Substations Crack Down on Copper Thieves, WUNC
Radio 91.5, May 22, 2013; Scott Kraus, 'Hit Hard by Copper Wire Thieves, PPL Fights Back, The Morning Call
(Lehigh, PA), June 6, 2013.
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Technologies for Remote Monitoring of Substation Assets. Phvsical
Securitv, March 2006, p. viii.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

!"#$%&''("#)* ,&'&)%-. /&%0(-& 25
appropriately reIlect the risk proIiles oI their particular assets, and whether additional security
measures across the grid overall uniIormly reIlect terrorism risk Irom a national perspective.
X,'(%.# /0 D+5+-'( ;"-+'. E<0/-='.%/<
The power industry`s physical security risk assessments rely upon inIormation about security
threats provided by the Iederal government, among other sources, communicated through the
ISAC, during DHS and other agency brieIings, or through other channels. The quality oI this
threat inIormation is a key determinant oI what grid owners need to be protecting against and
what security measures to take. Incomplete or ambiguous threat inIormationespecially Irom the
Iederal governmentmay lead to inconsistency in physical security among grid owners,
ineIIicient spending oI limited security resources at Iacilities (e.g., that may not really be under
threat), or deployment oI security measures against the wrong threat. For example, prior to
FERC`s physical security order, the head oI NERC, which initially opposed mandatory physical
security standards stated,
I am concerned that a rule-based approach Ior physical security would not provide the
Ilexibility needed to deal with the widely varying risk proIiles and circumstances across the
North American grid and would instead create unnecessary and ineIIicient regulatory
burdens and compliance obligations.

DiIIerences in the interpretation or application oI threat inIormation, as discussed in the previous
section, may be a reason why some large utilities have announced major new substation security
initiatives while others have not.
Concerns about the quality and speciIicity oI Iederal threat inIormation have long been an issue
across all critical inIrastructure sectors.
Threat inIormation continues to be an uncertainty in the
case oI power grid physical security. For example, some Iederal oIIicials reportedly have
characterized the MetcalI incident as a domestic terrorist attack, potentially a 'dry run Ior a more
destructive attack on multiple HV transIormer substations, while the FBI has stated that it does
not believe MetcalI was a terrorist incident.
Because the perpetrators have not been identiIied,
it is impossible to know Ior certain, but the ambiguity has signiIicant implications Ior HV
substation security going Iorward. Although there is wide consensus that the MetcalI attack was
extremely serious, some industry analysts have opined that FERC`s physical security order may
be an 'overreaction to MetcalI.
By contrast, Iormer DHS Secretary Michael ChertoII has
predicted that 'the sophistication and resulting damage oI the MetcalI attack will ... be exceeded
in a Iuture attack.
Still others have expressed concern that FERC`s physical security concerns

Gerry Cauley, President and CEO, North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Letter to Senate
Majority Leader Harry Reid, February 12, 2014, p. 2, http://www.nerc.com/news/Headlines20DL/
See, Ior example, Philip Shenon, 'Threats and Responses: Domestic Security, New York Times, June 5, 2003, p.
Rebecca Smith, February 5, 2014.
Deborah Carpentier, 'NERC Gains in Vegetation Management, Cyber and Physical Security, and Reliability
Assurance, Natural Gas & Electricitv (Wiley Periodicals), May 2014, p. 31, http://www.crowell.com/Iiles/NERC-
Michael ChertoII, 'Building a Resilient Power Grid, Electric Perspectives, May/June 2014, p. 35.
Physical Security of the U.S. Power Grid: High-Voltage Transformer Substations

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may be too heavily Iocused on another MetcalI-type scenario (the last threat) rather than a wider
range oI potential Iuture threats (the next threat).

There is widespread agreement among government, utilities, and manuIacturers that HV
transIormers in the United States are vulnerable to terrorist attack, and that such an attack
potentially could have catastrophic consequences. But the most serious, multi-transIormer attacks
would require acquiring operational inIormation and a certain level oI sophistication on the part
oI potential attackers. Consequently, despite the technical arguments, without more speciIic
inIormation about potential targets and attacker capabilities, the true vulnerability oI the grid to a
multi-HV transIormer attack remains an open question. As Congress seeks to establish the best
policies to address HV transIormer vulnerability relative to other inIrastructure security priorities,
understanding this vulnerability in the context oI speciIic demonstrable threats may become
increasingly important. To this end Congress may examine how Iederal threat inIormation is
developed and used by grid owners, and how limitations and uncertainty oI this inIormation may
aIIect the HV transIormer physical security among electric utilities.
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Physical security Ior HV transIormer substations has the primary purpose oI preventing
successIul attacks against these critical assets within the power grid. However, in the event oI a
successIul attack, measures to minimize its eIIect on the overall grid are equally important so that
the loss oI any particular transIormer remains a local event. To this end the electric power
industry emphasizes its strategy oI 'deIense-in-depth, which includes incident response and
recovery in addition to preparation and prevention.
Industry initiatives to enhance grid
resiliency, including incident recovery programs such as the DHS recovery transIormer program
and EEI`s spare transIormer program, contribute to the power grid`s ability to sustain a terrorist
attack without widespread grid Iailure. Indeed, some analysts have pointed to the MetcalI incident
as a successIul demonstration oI grid resiliency; electric service was not interrupted despite the
loss oI a critical substation in the San Francisco Bay area. As Congress continues its examination
oI physical security policy, maintaining a holistic perspective on prevention and recovery as
integrated aspects oI HV transIormer security may help to clariIy an eIIective balance in terms oI
industry investment and regulatory oversight.

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Paul W. ParIomak
Specialist in Energy and InIrastructure Policy
pparIomakcrs.loc.gov, 7-0030

Edison Electric Institute, brieIing Ior the Congressional Research Service, February 23, 2014.
Edison Electric Institute, 'The Electric Power Industry`s Commitment to Protecting Its Critical InIrastructure,
February 2014, http://www.eei.org/issuesandpolicy/cybersecurity/Documents/CriticalInIraPhysicalProtection.pdI.