make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

Ex-CIA chief asks NC lawmakers to protect grid

READ MORE:

RALEIGH, NC (AP) -- Some academics and a former CIA director are urging North Carolina state lawmakers to require better protection of electricity transmission systems from solar flares and cyber and terrorist attacks.

Tuesday's comments from ex-director James Woolsey to a legislative oversight committee anchored a presentation about potential calamity should large transformers be damaged severely by a widespread weather event or disruption of Earth's magnetic field.

Peter Pry with the Task Force on National and Homeland Security says Congress has failed to act but the General Assembly could set state requirements to secure extra high-voltage transformers and other structures. Speakers estimated North Carolina protections could cost $20 million annually or less.

Lawmakers asked why utilities couldn't pay. Committee co-chairman Sen. Bob Rucho says he'll ask utility representatives to respond at a later meeting.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»

Utilities should pay

Utilities should pay for this. An overwhelming amount of the nation's critical infrastructure is privately owned but the federal government has stepped in too often to provide grants and other assistance to private companies to do what is in the best interest of that company anyway.

This should not be a state by state thing working through each state's general assemblies and utilities commissions. Congress has the authority through the interstate commerce clause to regulate industry that crosses state lines and many power companies fit that characterization. The question does come from our states's Electricities program where some cities in NC are in the electrical utilities business. I think that is our weakest link.