I’ve had mixed feelings over the flapping about infrastructure security, dubbed “Critical Energy Infrastructure” and “Critical Energy Infrastructure Information,” concern about which was trumped up after 9/11, with notions of foreign terrorists attacking our energy infrastructure.

But just last week, DOMESTIC TERRORISTS took out two substations in Moore County, North Carolina.

Repairs complete on Moore County substations, power restored

And before that, for sure an issue:

Group With Ties to Racially Motivated Violent Extremists Including two Former Marines Facing Additional Charge of Targeting Energy Facilities

And a different bunch:

Three Men Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Provide Material Support to a Plot to Attack Power Grids in the United States

Years ago, a substation near a new New Jersey transmission project started on fire:

FIRE! ACE’s Orchard substation is on fire!

There’s a quite narrow definition of Critical Energy Infrastructure Information, and it applies only to information filed with FERC and categorized as Critical Energy Infrastructure Information. Utilities, however, have made Critical Energy Infrastructure Information claims very broadly, to things not properly deemed CEII, and have used this to limit the public’s knowledge of utility plans, both in planning and development, and actual “on the ground” construction plans.

For years, I’ve been noting that concerns about vulnerability of our electrical grid are a valid argument for increased distributed generation, ending reliance on central station power, long transmission lines, and big substations. It’s been very handy for utilities to use against anyone opposing their plans, making it impossible to get information. And where basis is a concern about foreign terrorism, it’s misused — I’ve experienced first hand the Critical Energy Infrastructure law used against me in a hearing, to prevent entry of a 2005 transmission map in a transmission proceeding, a public map issued long before CEII was invented. I’d added some large coal plants, entered in the record of the PPSA Annual Hearing way way back when, 15 years ago, maybe?

Now really, how on earth can “need” be established without a map to look at the system as a whole and how this line fits in it, how on earth can you get a feel for what’s all connected, and what generation the proposed lines would facilitate?

I’ve also been confronted when taking a photo of a power plant, a shuttered, out of service power plant! Guard comes driving up, screeches to a halt, and runs up to van, hand on gun… oh, get real. I hand him my card. Such a threat…

Through claims of “Critical Energy Infrastructure Information,” I’ve also been barred from attending MISO transmission planning meetings.


That’s something that really pissed me off, and attempting to deal with that took hours and hours over months, between FERC, whose counsel was MOST helpful, and MISO, which was MOST obstreperous, blocking participation.

MISO bars access to planning meetings

MAPP adopts shroud of secrecy

“Grid Security” Notice of Comment Period

It’s a mixed bag, as MISO has been using “CEII” as a way of excluding the public from their planning meetings, PJM too, per FERC, and yet now it’s clear that domestic terrorists are targeting electric infrastructure. What to do?

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