Manager’s Message – January 2023

We Ask for Your Vigilance

Ned Ratterman headshotIn early December, two substations in North Carolina were damaged, leaving tens of thousands of homes without power. According to law enforcement, an unrelated incident occurred in South Carolina days later when a shooter attacked another substation.

Closer to home, infrastructure in Washington and Oregon has been targeted by criminals whose motivation is yet unknown, but obviously includes intention to cause large-scale power outages.

The question of what can be done to protect the electric grid is not an easy one to answer. For example, a person with a high-powered rifle can shoot from great distances into facilities and have major effects on equipment while going unseen.

How, then, can we protect against that? The entire U.S. electric grid is vulnerable. Even with remote cameras, preventing criminal activity is relegated to after-the-fact investigations.

Wasco Electric Cooperative has safeguards in place to protect unauthorized individuals from entering substations or interfering with other electric equipment, but nothing is foolproof.

Potentially the greatest resource we have to combat this act is one another. We ask you to report any suspicious activity near electric lines and equipment. If you see something, say something. Report any suspicious activity around electric facilities to law enforcement.

If you hear something, please report any information that may result in a lead for law enforcement. It is not uncommon for unsavory individuals to eventually tell others about their past deeds. This could result in their downfall if their admission is reported.

If you have any information that may help prevent or prosecute against damage to any electric equipment, immediately contact local law enforcement with details.

Happy New Year!

General Manager
Ned Ratterman