Your Views: Attack on utility substation must serve as wake-up call

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Recently we learned of the disastrous attack on a Pacific Gas and Electric substation in San Jose, Calif., which occurred April 16, 2013. Snipers armed with standard-issue military rifles were able to knock out 17 giant transformers and leave before police arrived.

Suppose this had occurred in Wisconsin in this winter, with sub-zero weather, day and night, for months. If several of our largest utilities were hit simultaneously, it may have made rerouting electric power to replace the lost power difficult if not impossible. It could have become a terrible tragedy with unheated homes, frozen water systems and broken pipes.

Unfortunately, the tragedy would not be that it had occurred but that our government may have, unforgivably, allowed it to occur. A book titled “Brittle Power” was written by physicist Amory Lovins and his wife. It was the result of a unique study commissioned by the Civil Defense Arm of the Pentagon. Unfortunately, it has apparently been forgotten.

Peggy Noonan said at the conclusion of her column on the April 16, 2013, attack in the Feb. 8-9 issue of the Wall Street Journal, “You always want to think our government is on it. You want to think they see what we see, but really they’re never on it. They always have to be pushed.”

Let’s hope this is the wake-up call that gets our government mobilized.


Fort Atkinson

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