WASHINGTON – The recent derecho storm that wiped out power for a week in some areas in the D.C. region highlights another potential problem: vulnerability to a cyber attack.
Former CIA director James Woolsey says there are 50 separate public utility commissions across the country, but someone needs to step in and take charge if the entire system goes down.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley suggests the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is the place to start.
“Everyone has a role to play here,” O’Malley says. “We need to make our electric grid more resilient and do the upgrades that are required in order to make it more resilient to more extreme weather, because of climate change, but also more resilient so that it can withstand a cyber attack.”
While D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray acknowledges there’s a potential security problem, he isn’t sure how to fix it.
“We know that we are increasingly vulnerable,” Gray says. “Whether a federal agency to oversee that is the right answer, I don’t know at this stage.”
WTOP’s Hank Silverberg contributed to this report. Follow Hank and WTOP on Twitter.