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Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization, Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

  • Member since 2017
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  • Dec 6, 2022

Vandalism causes 38,000 people to be without power

There are not a lot of details yet in the news, but intentional vandalism at several substations in North Carolina left 38,000 people in the cold and dark on a sub-freezing night. Likely some of them will not see power restored before Thursday or Friday.

[update - it was gunfire into at least 2 substations from close range, specifically to damage equipment. More specifics on the gun, etc. are being withheld so as to not compromise the investigation. State, Local and Federal officials are working on the investigation].

This sort of issue is rare, but I worry that it could become an increasing issue. Especially as more and more people are totally dependent on electricity and our open radial design in North America, where there is only 1 route to the customer premise.

I join EPRI in advocating for a more resilient design and construction of the distribution grid to minimize outages, when electricity for will become their only source of energy.

I also advocate for motion detectors and high resolution cameras at substations and other critical locations. As well as laws that make charging the people responsible for any health issues charged for them (e.g., damage a substation - kill someone - the charge is murder).

When we finish the energy transition and remove all other fuel sources from our economy the grid has to be robust and resilient.

Roger Arnold's picture
Roger Arnold on Dec 7, 2022

I agree, Doug. Motion sensors and high resolution cameras for sure. That's an easy starting point. Then reestablishment of domestic production capability for large power transformers and an inventory of stand-by spares that can be shipped on short notice. Coupled with a general reorganization of the grid for resilience in the face of substation and transmission line outages. Ability to provide at least limited power to a region from a multitude of distributed generators. A tall order, but it needs to be done.

Doug Houseman's picture
Thank Doug for the Post!
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