State officials working to add more security to electrical substations

Photo provided by NBC.

POSTED: Monday, February 10, 2014 - 5:38pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 6:17pm

Is Louisiana prepared if one of our power grids gets attacked? That's the question state officials are trying to answer after an attack on a California electricity substation just last year.

If something happened to one of our substations, it could knock out power and internet connectivity for thousands of people. That's why the Commisioner said, even though nothing major's happened, he doesn't want to take the chance.

Electricity is something many people wouldn't know what to do without. It keeps us connected, especially in times of emergency, but what if an incident put that all in jeopardy?

"We know there are people out there planning attacks on the nation through cyber attacks," said Eric Skrmetta, Louisiana Public Service Commissioner. "Even though we feel as though there are adequate security at this time, we want to see what the plans are down the road in the future."

The electric meltdown in California hit the Golden State hard. That's why state officials are working with companies and other state agencies to get a game plan and make sure we're covered if it happens here. They're only in the research phase right now.

"To give us a report on their current security positions both physical security and cyber security. We'll then take the next step from there to develop the rule structure," Skrmetta explained.

That means more security because usually these substations don't have anyone there to protect them, but more security will protect more than just the thousands of stations around Louisiana.

"We do this to protect the economy. We do this to protect the comfort activity of citizens," Skrmetta said.

Ryan Chenevert lives and works in Baton Rouge. Chenevery said it's better to be safe than to be sorry later.

"Right now, with the attacks, even though it happened a year ago, it's still very relevant to us and we have to be prepared," Chenevert said. "The last thing that Baton Rouge should do would to wait around and have something happen, and then try to figure it out. So I'm excited to see that Baton Rouge is stepping up to the plate and put in the plan now, and hopefully we'll be protected."

Skrmetta will meet with other state public service commissioners on the 17th to see what the next step will be.

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