PGE Fined for Security Breakdown

PG&E Fined for Security Breakdown

Pacific Gas & Electric has been fined $50,000 for an incident that occurred at its San Jose substation

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has been fined $50,000 by state regulators for failing to fix security flaws that were identified after a sniper attack in 2013.

The California Public Utilities Commission said that PG&E failed to safely maintain its San Jose substation, allowing burglars to steal $40,000 worth of equipment.

Among the flaws found were a lack of training for supervisors and on-site personnel. Security guards also failed to respond to burglar alarms while the break-in was in progress, according to a report.

“This was the second time, and even though the alarms went off, PG&E security didn’t know that it happened,” said Constance Gordon, spokeswoman for the utilities commission. “They had time after the previous breach to improve the security, but they didn’t.”

Update:

Joe Molica of PG&E has given the following statement to Security Today:

"We take the security of our critical facilities very seriously, and we took immediate action to get to the bottom of what happened. Immediately following the burglary, PG&E took numerous initial actions to address security gaps at the facility, including:
  • Increased security officer presence on site;
  • Enhanced lighting onsite;
  • Addressed alarm and incident response protocols for security operations center personnel;
  • Performed security review and penetration testing at Metcalf substation;
  • Enhanced camera systems;
  • Replaced third party guard contractors and security operations contractors; increased staffing and supervision.

After the burglary in August, PG&E conducted a thorough root cause analysis to identify actions we can take to prevent a recurrence.  All upgrades at Metcalf, which were identified in the investigation, are complete.”

About the Author

Matt Holden is an Associate Content Editor for 1105 Media, Inc. He received his MFA and BA in journalism from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. He currently writes and edits for Occupational Health & Safety magazine, and Security Today.

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