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San Jose Substation Attack Prompts Bill Requiring Utility Firms To Beef Up Security

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — An attack on a San Jose substation last year prompted a Peninsula lawmaker to propose legislation on Monday requiring PG&E and its regulators to come up with sufficient security protocols.

State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) announced California Senate Bill SB 699 at a news conference in San Francisco Monday and said last April's attack on the Metcalf Road substation shows power stations are vulnerable to terrorists.

State Senator Proposes Legislation For Utility Security

On April 16, 2013, in the middle of the night, someone sneaked into the underground vault, cut phone cables then fired a thousand rounds knocking out 17 transformers. Nearly 20 minutes had passed before police were able to respond.

As chair of the Subcommittee on Gas and Electric Infrastructure Safety, Hill told KCBS that he wants to require California electric companies to develop sufficient security plans.

"I certainly have no reason to want to know the details, nor do I think anyone else needs to know the details of the plan; we expect them to do it correctly. But as I experienced after San Bruno, we can't trust the utility to do it own their own," he said.

"We certainly can't trust the California Public Utilities Commission to make sure that the utilities use our money to keep us safe in the right way."


The sabotage of the Metcalf Road substation caused over $15 million damage. Last February, Jon Wellinghoff, the former chief Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, called the attack "the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred."

No one has been arrested in the incident.

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