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Substation Physical Security

Physical protection at transmission and distribution substations can be a significant factor in minimizing or deterring various types of threats.

Attacks on substations and other critical utility infrastructure are increasing in frequency and have the potential to cost the utility hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial losses, result in damage to equipment, theft of materials or equipment, and/or power outages.

Around-the-clock centralized monitoring and alerts offers early awareness and visibility into problems enabling the utility to respond. Physical security requires a reliable, secure, high performance communications network between security devices (sensors, cameras, key pads, lights, etc.) and computers located in the utility’s operations center.

Adding network communications to existing substations to extend reach to the various security devices around the yard is often physically or financially prohibitive. As wireless networks require no trenching, they are typically the most cost-effective solution for existing substations. Some of the physical security applications commonly used are video surveillance cameras; access control using biometrics, keypads, etc.; perimeter sensors that detect thermal/motion; and gunshot detection, alerting and location identification.

Substation physical security benefits for utilities include: Reduces potential safety risks and damage – from malicious activity, vandalism and theft with early alert of unauthorized substation access, which could result in physical or cyber security damages.

Deters malicious activity
– and serves as evidence for prosecuting perpetrators.

Logging of authorized personnel
– entering and exiting the facility provides accountability and can improve worker safety.

Reduces truck rolls
– enhances situation awareness and increases operational efficiency and worker safety with ability to monitor physical protection of substations remotely.

Reliable and resilient communications
– foundation for NERC CIP-014-1

ABB offers high-performance broadband, narrowband and cellular solutions that can work together to provide utilities with an optimal end-to-end communications network that enables a wide range of smart grid applications and a foundation for critical infrastructure protection.

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