Four substation attacks in Washington state left 14,000 customers without power on Christmas. The Piece County Sheriff’s Department reported that the four substations were targeted in a series of break-ins, and in one of the attacks, the perpetrators attempted to start a fire inside the substation. Equipment was damaged in each case. Police are not certain whether these recent attacks on substations are a coordinated effort.
1/2 All our customers are back online after the intentional damage to our system yesterday. We appreciate everyone’s patience while our crews worked overnight and into this afternoon on restoration. We were able to deploy a mobile substation to restore power. pic.twitter.com/wloRkJwE3K
— Tacoma Public Utilities (@MyTPU) December 26, 2022
“When the deputies got there, there was nobody on scene, but they saw that the fence area had been broken into. In this one, the suspects cut one of the locks on the fenced area, made their way inside, and caused damage to the substation. When the deputies got there, there was nobody on scene, but they saw that the fence area had been broken into…All three happened in the middle of the night, on Christmas day causing power outages. Nothing was stolen in those facilities, so it’s a good possibility they are related.” PCSD Sergeant Darren Moss (KIRO)
Tacoma Public Utilities and Puget Sound Energy both had intentional damage to various substations. The fourth power station was in Pierce County and was reported to be on fire when repair persons arrived at around 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Power has since been restored to the areas where the power outages occurred.
Substation attacks: are they related?
“Anti-government groups over the past two years have used online forums to urge followers to attack critical infrastructure, including the power grid. They have posted documents and even instructions outlining vulnerabilities and suggesting the use of high-powered rifles.” CNN
Are these attacks related to others in Washington, Oregon, and North Carolina? Are they actually “anti-government groups” or other types of terrorists? Assuming these are related, they could be anything from ANTIFA (government denies their existence) and other anarchist groups, to foreign terror organizations testing the power grid for vulnerabilities. Investigators are probing the incidents, but with the attitudes and bias of federal investigators, real answers may be a while in coming. Local police are requesting that anyone who lives in the areas where the vandalisms took place to please check any surveillance cameras for suspicious activity.
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