An attack on a PG&E substation located near San Jose last year sent up alarm bells in regards to security, and California Senator Jerry Hill introduced legislation that would force utility companies to submit security plans to the State Public Utilities Commission.
In the incident last year, gunshots knocked out 17 transformers, causing more than $15 million in damage, while also knocking out power in select Silicon Valley locations.
PG&E representatives described the attack as a "game-changer" for PG&E and other utility providers, bringing new attention to security. PG&E is boosting security by creating fenced-off buffer zones, trimming back vegetation and adding better intruder detection systems.
I think it's a good sign to see PG&E - and other utility providers - boosting both physical and digital security efforts.
I am typically against added legislation introduced by lawmakers - just a general distrust of a broken system - but think Senator Hill might be on to something here. If utility companies understand the threat and can show they are improving security on their own, I don't know if legislation is necessary - but holding these providers accountable is important.