27 May 2024

Substation Perimeter Security – Critical Infrastructure Protection 101


Recent acts of sabotage have caused widespread outages across Washington, North Carolina and California. Insufficient security measures and cable theft exacerbated a fire at the Mooikloof substation in Pretoria, knocking out power in many parts of South Africa’s capital. Not to mention, insurgent attacks in Basra, Iraq, have further crippled a region that is still recovering from two decades of war. The following real-life events highlight the importance of substation perimeter security as a crucial layer of any nation’s security strategy to keep the lights on and maintain economic activity. 

While these areas might seem like a lifetime away for some, the knock-on effects that can arise if any electrical substation is damaged or forcibly taken offline are endless and devastating to the communities and regions. Electricity is required for almost everything on which our daily lives depend. Rightly so, governments have designated it as critical infrastructure and Tier 1 assets. 

From commercial and residential to manufacturing, coastal and military installations, Cochrane Global’s primary goal is to develop and install innovative solutions to protect our client’s properties and sites from intruders. This article explores the dangers of insufficient substation perimeter security while showcasing leading physical perimeter security products that safeguard nations and provide uninterrupted power to homes and industries worldwide.

Calculating the Untold Cost of a Breach of Substation Perimeter Security

As electricity becomes increasingly essential globally, the risk of substation intrusions and subsequent damage is a serious, ongoing concern. Such damage can have significant financial, personal, physical, and professional impacts on those in the substation’s service area. Furthermore, these effects can extend regionally, particularly in regions of active conflict or subject to trade and import embargos.

While you may argue that solar energy can mitigate the consequences of a deliberate power outage, its output and scale pale in comparison to what is powered by the electrical grid. Not to mention, the ongoing manufacturing of solar PV and other backup power solutions is dependent on electricity.

Here are just a few examples of the catastrophic effects on business and society that would occur if an electrical substation was deliberately damaged and forced offline.

  • Online Banking and Credit Card Transactions taken offline

  • Limited Refrigeration for homes, shops and factories adversely affects food supply and security.

  • No Air Conditioning or Heating, which is of particular concern in the summer and winter months. 

  • The inability to power (and recharge) technology affects homes and workspaces.

  • Traffic Lights stop working – although this is something that South Africans have become accustomed to, and made provisions (both formal and opportunistic to overcome)

It also goes without mentioning that substation perimeter security breaches and sabotage affect perimeter lighting and electric fencing operations, compromising overall perimeter security for homes, businesses and Government sites. 

While the above may seem unthinkable for many, it has been the unfortunate (temporary) reality for large swaths of communities in the wealthiest and poorest regions of the earth. No society is immune to sabotage or indirect acts of terrorism, which can bring entire regions to a standstill!

No Quick Fix to a Substation Outage!

Many of the world’s power grid’s systems sit out in the open and exposed, are usually located in remote locations, secured by little more than cameras, lights and chain-link fences. Whether through the devastating effects of storms, lightning or hurricanes or unsuccessful intrusion prevention, no community wants to endure the turmoil of lacking the necessities to survive and operate. Worse still, getting the lights back on is no quick fix, as highlighted by the California attack (caused by sniper fire), which took experts 27 days to get the substation back in full operation.

A customized perimeter protection approach is necessary to effectively address a power generator’s specific risk factors, which vary by environment and identifiable vulnerabilities. However, implementing such solutions quickly can be challenging, and many organisations struggle to meet critical infrastructure protection deadlines promptly.

Cochrane Global – A Qualified Partner in Protecting Critical Infrastructure

As high-security experts with over four decades of experience protecting some of the world’s most valuable assets, substation perimeter security is just one of the many applications that Cochrane Global has successfully installed worldwide. We identify our products and services as potentially the most valuable resource in protecting power producers’ assets, which are important for their bottom line and the neighbouring communities and businesses they power. 

Through an intense risk-advisory process and a collaborative approach with both past and current clients, we have developed the following perimeter security solutions

ClearVu Reinforced – A High-Voltage of Perimeter Security

Featuring a high-density mesh combined with an integrated hardened framework of fence posts and unmatched anti-cut and anti-heat resistance, ClearVu Reinforced creates a formidable barrier and an insurmountable challenge to intruders. It is designed using the same technology and precision equipment to produce Defence rated 4 type fences to virtually eliminate intruder and ballistic threats.

ClearVu Shutter Barrier Controlled Visibility with 

Welded from the finest grade steel, the ClearVu Shutter Barrier comprises solid shutters that can be installed or removed when required. It has become the benchmark for substation perimeter security and other critical infrastructure assets where controlled visibility and ballistic shielding are required to combat potential intruders and insurgents. 

ClearVu Elevate – Room to Move

Designed as a low-spec physical perimeter with stronger foundations and posts, ClearVu Elevate offers substations with high-security fencing to match client specifications and risk profiles. The added scale and cost benefits are “room to move” and the ability to relocate per evolving site defence requirements. 

Cochrane Global – Breaking the Circuit of Insufficient Perimeter Security

Cochrane Global is the industry leader in providing physical perimeter barriers and enhancements worldwide, protecting substation perimeter security, manufacturing facilities, military and defense installations, and commercial properties. Our global team meticulously assess unique risk threats and develop solutions tailored to stringent client and environmental requirements. By prioritising robust security measures, Cochrane Global ensures the safety and ongoing operations of vital infrastructure against potential intrusions and attacks. For organisations seeking reliable protection, Cochrane Global offers unparalleled expertise and customised security solutions.

Contact our Team today for any assistance with planning and implementing your substation perimeter security plan.
error: Content is protected !!