Former California Utility Official Unworried by Cyberthreats

(TNS) — The electrical grid may likely represent a prime target after Iran has vowed “crushing revenge” on the United States following a drone strike that killed its top general, Qassem Soleimani.

But the former director of the organization that oversees the power system for the bulk of California says he’s not overly worried about a major disruption.

“We spend a lot of time, money and energy to harden the system so this doesn’t happen,” said Jim McIntosh, who was director of grid operations from 2000 to 2009 at the California Independent System Operator. “And the system is broken up into a lot of pieces. We can isolate areas very readily and keep control of the system. So it’s a very difficult task to take the grid down — very difficult.”

Based in Folsom, the California ISO manages the flow of electricity across the high-voltage and long-distance power lines that make up 80 percent of California’s grid, as well as a small part of Nevada’s power system. The ISO not only balances the flow of electricity in the state but also makes power purchases to match demand and avoid power outages.

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