The security of electrical substations impacts the reliability of the electrical grid in a city or town. Increasing frequency of attacks on electrical substations and the on-going threat of the terrorist/saboteur makes continual evaluation of substation security programs a necessity. Most substations appear impenetrable, but with close inspection, it is relatively easy to identify areas of the facilities where unauthorized access with intent to damage, vandalize or otherwise intrude upon the property may occur.
Unauthorized access to electrical substations endangers the lives of the intruders, employees and inhabitants of the nearby community. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has been designated by the US Department of Energy to coordinate critical infrastructure protection activities within the electricity sector. NERC has issued a number of advisory security standards for electrical utilities, including guidelines pertaining to physical security of their facilities.
According to NERC, each facility should implement physical security measures at their critical substations to safeguard personnel and prevent unauthorized access to critical assets, control systems, equipment, and information that may be resident in the substation. Each entity should implement substation security solutions in a way that is consistent with the criticality of the substation and sufficient to provide appropriate situational awareness of activity at these substations so that the entity can initiate an appropriate and timely response.