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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Attack on Power Grid - Arkansas

Thanks to Larry Taylor, From_the_Edge_Alerts for this:


[sent by John Tarapata]
Arkansas Press..


On Tuesday, October 8, 2013 6:31 AM, John Tarapata wrote:



Weekend Attacks on Arkansas' Electric 



Grid Leave 10,000 Without Power;





 'YOU SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED US.'


More than 10,000 people in Arkansas were dumped into a blackout Sunday following an attack on that state’s electric grid, the FBI said today, the third such attack in recent weeks. In August, a major transmission line in the region, around Cabot, Ark., was deliberately cut.
The FBI said that two power poles had been intentionally cut in Lonoke County on Sunday, resulting in the outage.
“Though we remain confident that we will identify the person or persons responsible for these incidents,” the FBI said in a press release, “we are enlisting the public’s help to be our eyes and ears. We take threats to our power grid very seriously.”

The FBI said it would pay a $25,000
reward for information about the attacks.
And for good reason. The FBI suspects these attacks are linked with a third incident in September.


According to the FBI:


Show More

In the early morning hours of September 29, 2013, officialswith Entergy Arkansas reported a fire at its Keo Substation located on Arkansas Highway 165 between Scott and England in Lonoke County. Fortunately, there were no injuries and no reported power outages. Investigation has determined that the fire, which consumed the control house at the substation, was intentionally set. The person or persons responsible for this incident inscribed a message on a metal control panel outside the substation which reads, ‘YOU SHOULD HAVE EXPECTED US.’


In August, a person or group of people attached a cable to the framework of a 100-foot electric transmission tower and placed the cable across the railroad track in an apparent attempt to use a moving train to pull down the tower.
While the electric power industry has expressed concerns about cybersecurity, the recent spate of attacks in Arkansas suggests that the electric power grid is equally if not more vulnerable to physical acts of sabotage.

Europe has more experience with physical attacks on the electric grid than the United States, according to the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium.
During the 1980′s, anti-nuclear political groups in Germany were believed to be responsible for acts of sabotage on transmission lines from nuclear reactors.

UPDATE

This evening, the FBI released additional details regarding yesterday’s attack on the electric grid in central Arkansas.

According to the FBI’s press release:


The person or persons responsible for this incident took a tractor that had been parked inside a fenced area at the intersection of Poston Road and John Shelton Road . . . and drove it through a locked cattle gate. We believe the person or persons drove the tractor south on John Shelton Road, then turned west on either Billy Lane or Phillips Road, then drove the tractor off road at County Road 466 and Phillips Road, following the cleared area of the power line to the wooded area where the poles are located. Our investigation has determined that this tractor was utilized to pull down one of the poles after the poles were cut.


The “tractor” was manufactured by Kershaw and is sold as the SkyTrim. 



The picture above shows a SkyTrim similar to that found by the FBI, which Kershaw describes as “a rough terrain, rubber-tired vehicle with telescoping boom and saw-type cutter head designed to trim trees.


The SkyTrim is used for vegetation management by utilities in rough terrain.

It appears that the culprit was able to commandeer the local utility’s (or owner of the transmission system) equipment to pull down the utility poles.

The power lines targeted in the attacks, which can be found on Google Maps, appear to link a high-voltage transmission line with a switching station or substation sited at 161 Billy Ln in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

The implication appears to be that the culprit not only knew where to find the equipment he needed to cause a power outage, but he also know how to use that equipment well enough to pull down two utility poles. 






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