Transmission Site Hardening

Investor Owned Utility Client

  • Tier 1 critical sites estimated total installed cost of more than $110 million
  • Tier 2 critical sites being addressed following the completion of Tier 1 sites
  • Implemented measures to protect against:
    • Perimeter breaches by both intruders on foot and in vehicles
    • Long-range shooter
    • Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)
    • Deliberate communication link interruption

Multiple Locations

On April 16, 2013, a Silicon Valley power substation was attacked by a sniper. Shots were fired into the radiators and conservators of 17 transformers, causing the equipment to leak 52,000 gallons of oil, disabling the yard and interrupting service to customers. Prior to this attack, communication lines were deliberately severed near the site to delay local law enforcement’s response time. As a result, $15.4 million in damages were reported by the utility company, with 27 days spent repairing the substation to bring it back online.

In light of this attack, critical utility service providers are now compelled by the Utility Commission, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reduce the vulnerability of critical sites through the enactment of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standard 014 (CIP-014). To comply with these guidelines, a large electrical utility provider partnered with SSOE and a well known security equipment supplier to design and implement site hardening strategies at its Tier 1 critical sites.

An overall programmatic approach was established, including the definition of hardening objectives, identification of site threats and vulnerabilities, development of recommendations for hardening protocols, and identification of technology sources. SSOE provided project management and engineer of record services for plan implementation by creating detailed design packages with coordinated designs from civil, structural, electrical, and data / fire / security disciplines.

In compliance with safety protocols, SSOE worked with the client’s transmission group in providing all engineering and construction support for the implementation of the following security measures:

  • Electronic access control systems
  • Complete video surveillance
  • Multiple layers of perimeter intrusion detection
  • Anti-climb and anti-cut perimeter fencing
  • Vehicle rated barriers, ditches, bollards, and gates
  • Landscape modifications for visual block
  • Intrusion detection system triggered alarm based lighting
  • Ballistic protection and detection around major assets

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