Managing Risks In Utility And Substation Physical Security

Reinier Tuinzing, Strategic Alliance Manager at Milestone Systems, shares his insights on how to manage the new risks in utility and substation security.

Written by Reinier Tuinzing, Strategic Alliance Manager, Milestone Systems and published by Business Solutions.

Traditionally, electrical substation security was aimed only at preventing access to stop vandalism and improve safety. But today, security efforts have been redefined to address new threats in order to protect critical infrastructure. Substations are a critical element in the distribution of high-voltage electrical networks, and any disruption can have a severe negative impact on society.

With these new threats have come new government mandates that drive more security implementations. Fortunately, there are technologies available that can assist utilities in their compliance with the new requirements.Today, utilities must address threats from multiple areas: theft, cyber terrorism, and destructive attacks. For example, the higher price of copper has escalated many instances of stealing wires, pipes, and tubing over recent years.

While in the past the electrical grid operated with concepts and mechanisms that relied on physical or manual resources, modern systems have become a technological, interoperating network of control and data acquisition. Electrical generation, a foundation of modern convenience that contributes significantly to higher quality of daily life, has grown to become a critical component of practical and economic stability — and therefore a major focus in national security, vulnerable to acts of terrorism. The challenges can be daunting.

The right substation security system will support interoperability between automatic sensor detection systems and verification with video surveillance systems that notify operators before an intrusion occurs. No one vendor can supply all the pieces to the puzzle, so the important factor is to ensure flexibility in the technology design. Be sure to choose a security system based on a video software management platform with open architecture in order to allow the exchange of information in real time between all the components for a systematic approach to detection, notification and response.

Read the full article about Milestone Systems' viewpoint on physical security changes.