La. leader calls for security reports from utility companies

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An attack on a California power company has a Louisiana leader pushing for a review of security here in the state.

News of that attack is now mainstreaming across the country. Some leaders are calling for new laws to address better security for the nation's power grid.

The little-publicized attack in California happened back in April 2013 in San Jose. California authorities believe one person or a group of people cut fiber-optic cables, and then used a rifle to shoot out 17 transformers. Some of the cables belonged to companies like AT&T, and caused a disruption to 911 services.

Substation operators had to scramble to prevent a blackout in the Silicon Valley.

No arrests were ever made from the incident.

The event has prompted Louisiana's Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta to comment today, on his Facebook page, that he plans to request confidential security reports from all of the state's electric utility companies.

Here is Skrmetta's announcement:

"After a review of news stories regarding criminal actions committed against a substation in California, it is prudent for the Louisiana Public Service Commission to require a review of security measures that serve to protect the electric utility system. I have prepared a directive that will be submitted to the full commission on February 17. While I do not anticipate any problems, it is best to be prepared. The directive requests the following - I direct electric utilities to file confidential reports regarding the security of their infrastructure and the grid. The commission will review the responses at the earliest date. I am sharing this to let you know your Commission is aware of what is going on nationwide and is keeping on top of all pending issues."

That proposal will go before the Commission on February 17th.

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