AEP operates more transmission equipment than any other utility in the nation. We take the security of this infrastructure very seriously and immediately take action if the integrity of the grid is threatened in any way.
The industry and AEP long ago identified substations that provide critical support for the transmission system, and we proactively work to ensure these critical assets are secure and protected.
The industry and AEP long ago identified substations that provide critical support for the transmission system, and we proactively work to ensure these critical assets are secure and protected. We do not disclose those critical assets, nor our specific security measures. What we can say is that we have taken proactive steps to evaluate our systems, reduce the impact of threats and improve our response if an attack were to occur.
We use a variety of security technologies to safeguard our critical assets and are prepared to respond to emergencies at those locations with internal resources and public safety personnel. We also maintain backup equipment, including spare transformers, and can redirect power flows remotely to address actual or perceived threats to the system. We work with industry working groups that are developing strategies to improve crisis response across the nation.
In 2014, FERC directed NERC to develop mandatory reliability standards to protect the electric grid from physical risks. This directive followed well-publicized news reports about the physical security of the grid. The standards are expected to be drafted and implemented this year.
We support physical security standards for transmission equipment, and it is important that FERC has recognized that a one-size-fits-all approach to security will not be the most effective. Security plans need to be customized for the unique characteristics and location of each facility. New standards are important to protect critical infrastructure from physical threats but will increase the cost of compliance as additional investments would be required.
AEP will continue to work with experts within and outside of our industry to develop effective security plans for critical equipment and improve awareness and response to potential cyber and physical threats to the system.