A wake up call for Everett, Eversource?
By Josh Resnek
Two power substations in a North Carolina County were damaged by gunfire Sunday night causing damage that could days to repair, leaving almost 30,000 people without power.
The shooting of the electrical substations, exactly like those visible to passing traffic along Broadway across from the casino, likely sent chills up and down the spines of Eversource and Constellation officials — the two companies owning the main electric production apparatus operating in Everett.
Nearly all major power plants have substations to step down voltage so electricity can flow smoothly through transmission wires.
Attacks on critical infrastructure have have the ability to turn everyday life into a nightmare if the electricity supply is cut of during December.
We are no more invulnerable in Everett and Greater Boston than the folks now struggling without electricity in North Carolina.
In NC, the FBI is right now trying to determine who did what and why, keeping in mind domestic terrorism is always a possibility.
International terrorism is another possibility.
Angry electric company employees might be a possibility.
Could such a thing happen here?
Of course it could.
Will it happen here. This is another part of the equation for which we do not have an answer.
Hopefully, the North Carolina incident is a one off, that is, something conceived by lunatics just wishing to destroy several sub stations for kicks.
From prior history, we know that Eversource Everett security will take the North Carolina incident seriously.
So too will the Federal government.
Eversource recently surrounded its substations on Broadway, Everett with fencing.
The fencing is believed to be part aesthetic in nature and greater in part for security.
It has more to do with Federal regulations than anything else, according to those familiar with the substations.
Bottom line, Eversource and Constellation take security seriously, according to those familiar with the operation of the Everett energy producing properties.
Substations, however, are soft targets for terrorists – domestic or foreign – and even for those just wishing to do harm for no other reason but to be destructive.
“The Russians have been targeting substations and power plants in Ukraine with great success,” a source told the Leader Herald.
The source said it was hard to know what would happen if terrorists took out the substations on lower Broadway in Everett in December or January or during the height of the winter energy season.
“It would be a real issue,” he said. “We would need to study sophisticated modeling charts to trace what exactly would be disrupted if the Everett substations were taken out of service. Very likely, blackouts could occur in Boston and in the suburbs if such a thing happened. It would take a bit of time to get back up and running,” added the source.