Q: Has there been any detailed information released about the national power grid drill scheduled for Nov. 13-14?
— Karen Packard, Warrensburg
A. National Grid will be among the participants in North American Electric Reliability Corp.’s second Grid Security Exercise, which is being referred to as Grid Ex II by those participating.
National Grid also participated in GridEx 2011, NERC’s first drill.
NERC is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to “ensure the reliability” of large interconnected electrical systems, such as National Grid, in the United States, Canada and parts of Mexico.
Many of the specifics of the drill have not been made known to utilities and agencies involved, according to a National Grid spokesman.
“At this time, we do not know exactly who from National Grid will be participating in the drill, or what work sites those employees will be from,” National Grid’s Patrick Stella said in an emailed response to a Post-Star inquiry. “We are unaware of the exact circumstances of the drill.”
In addition to National Grid and other utilities, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology will be involved.
During the Wednesday-Thursday drill, participants will operate from their usual places of business to simulate the response to a “disruptive, coordinated physical and cyber event,” according to Stella.
Most of the company’s involvement will likely be focused on National Grid’s main office in Waltham, Mass. If the scenario involves upstate New York, then locations in New York state will be “engaged as needed,” he said.
The aim, Stella said, is to test the readiness of the electricity industry to respond to a “security incident,” incorporating lessons from the 2011 drill.
Stella, along with a NERC receptionist in Washington, said there will be no disruption in electrical service to the public.
“There will be no shutdown or wipeout of power or electricity of any sort,” said the receptionist, who said NERC officials, who were at a conference in Atlanta this week, asked her to emphasize that to any callers to the office.
A 30-page “after action report” on the 2011 NERC security exercise is available on the NERC website, www.nerc.com, under the Program Areas & Departments page. Click on Critical Infrastructure and then GridEx under the CIP Outreach heading.
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