T&D World Magazine
Physically Securing Substations and Critical Assets

Physically Securing Substations and Critical Assets

Substation security is accomplished by assessing the threat level, implementing a solution, and increasing substation protection.

Electrical power substations are a critical part of the backbone of the U.S. power grid. Physical attacks could create system instability and possible cascading failures that would result in massive power outages in large sections of the country. In fact, recent planned attacks have been carried out on transmission substations. Although these attacks did not significantly impact power availability, one case experienced severe equipment damage requiring almost a month to repair before returning back on-line.

In response to these recent events, NERC (North American Electric Reliability Corp.) was directed by FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) to develop, propose, and file for approval mandatory Reliability Standards that would address the threats and vulnerabilities of critical facilities, including transmission substations. In addition, Utilities have initiated development of a “Guide for Electric Power Substation Physical and Electronic Security”.

The protection of these substations comes down to reliable and threat resistant solutions which may include the use of ballistic walls to prevent critical equipment from damage due to projectiles and perimeter fencing that can control access and deplete chances of interference.

The Southern States’ Ballisti-Wall and Ballisti-Cover are lightweight, corrosion proof, non-conductive, and electromagnetically transparent solutions that can be customized and implemented to protect these critical substation assets.

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