Talks of cyber security are at an all-time high yet too many utilities wait in limbo between no action and reaction. That’s because real cyber defense involves more than firewalls and controls.
This past October, SSS met with dozens of rural co-ops at the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation’s Engineering and Operations Workshop. The conversation was unanimous — rural utilities urgently need SCADA upgrades, network security, and affordable radio solutions. To meet the demand, rural co-ops are looking to GE MDS radios with built-in routing and firewalls to protect electrical distribution systems and reduce outages, but at a fraction of the cost of traditional IT network firewall devices and software.
October’s Hurricane Matthew put the smart grid to the ultimate test. The tropical cyclone packing sustained winds of up to 150mph cut off power to 2.2 million homes and businesses in the U.S. Southeast. In the final analysis, the smart grid performed well against such extreme weather. By making the grid self-healing, advanced sensors and automation helped utilities avert prolonged outages. Here’s how Florida Power & Light and other utilities were able to out-smart Hurricane Matthew and other storms.
SSS to provide communications installation, configuration, and testing for multi-substation project
For Immediate Release: (October 5, 2016) Second Sight Systems (SSS) has been selected by Ameren Corporation to help the electric utility comply with the new security requirements of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the company announced today.
NERC revised its security standards for electric utilities in 2013, requiring utilities to develop a comprehensive plan to mitigate the threat of cyber and physical attacks on the power system.
NERC’s Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Version 5 mandates several measures including a multi-tiered classification system that identifies grid assets along a spectrum of security risk from low to high impact. It also requires the development of a physical security plan to protect facilities that are critical to system restoration, particularly transmission stations and substations.
This past August, Ameren commissioned SSS to help deploy the utility’s CIP V5 low security compliance plan. The project covers more than 500 substations across Ameren’s entire network in Illinois and Missouri and involves communications installation, configuration and testing at every site. Each substation must have hardened entry-points to the substation house through controlled card-swipe access, in addition to surveillance cameras.
The scope of work includes designing and installing the wireless data systems to transfer the security data from the card swipe access points and surveillance video. In addition to this, Second Sight is designing a customized amplifier for enhanced cellular signal strength for secure, redundant communication.
SSS field technicians are uniquely certified to industry standards that meet NERC requirements related to substations and on-site substation work. These certifications include:
- Transmission and power line awareness and safe working distance training
- Power Safe Substation and High voltage training for High Voltage awareness
- NERC certified Cyber requirement training
“SSS recognizes the importance of a hardened network to reduce cyber and physical threats to the power grid. Our extensive experience working with tier-one utilities as a strategic partner gives us unique insight into substation hardening within the regulatory environment. We are excited to partner with Ameren and deploy our expertise to ensure the utility is compliant with NERC’s new security standards,” says Todd Deibel, President of SSS.
Second Sight Systems is a leading provider of industrial communications and wireless data solutions for utility and industrial operations worldwide. With a record of successful projects in every state in the U.S., we deliver world-class solutions that provide years of reliable service. A full-service GE partner, we design and install applications for any size network. Our mission is to provide superior service in a field where quality and timely service are sometimes hard to find.