Smart Grid may be Hacked to Generate Blackouts

Tom Azlin, N4ZPT n4zpt at
Mon Mar 23 10:53:45 CDT 2009

thanks Frank,

Was a good briefing at the last VWS meeting from the Manassas OVH hams.

My response filing to the FCC after the power company objections to our
2200 meter band request was that if there was that much susceptibility
to interference with the power line control communications then there
must be two additional true items.

One, the power companies lied when they asserted power lines were not
antennas and could not broadcast BPL given symmetry. If is not an
antenna then can not be problem either way. If an antenna on one of the
two topics then must be an antenna on both topics.

And secondly, there was a huge infrastructure protection issue if it was
that easy to take down the power grid. If a couple watt ERP transmitter
is that dangerous then smart terrorists (nation state players for
example) could set them up near critical locations and trip off the
power circuits remotely.  If you can pull power off of the lines using
magnetic coupling then surely you can inject VLF RF into the power lines
the same way.

Nothing came of my comment of course. But I got it in the record.

Lower volume carrier current traffic on the power lines, in a way as to
not be broadcast and meeting the proper part 15 regs, would be a
reasonable use of their power lines. But bridging into the meters in
houses or doing active control of high current applications in houses
seems difficult to do without the same RFI issues.

73, Tom n4zpt

fgentges at wrote:
> Many AMRAD members will recall our work on LF and the effort to provide
> amateurs a small LF band.  In the end, the power companies were opposed
> because their unlicensed signaling over the power lines might be
> interfered with by amateurs.
> Manassas put up a BPL system that caused a lot of interference with the
> HF bands and amateur radio.  Now they are looking to use the BPL
> infrastructure they built for the city to use for reading meters and
> controlling traffic lights.  This suggests they are moving towards some
> of the same concepts of the smart grid.
> Now we see it reported that the new smart grid technology might be
> vulnerable to intentional interference/manipulation that could shut down
> the power grid causing a widespread blackout.  In the government's
> effort to spend money they are talking about spending $4.5 billion in
> smart grid technology.
> We could find Amateur Radio once again on the defensive as some would
> think interference from amateurs would shut down the grid.  We need to
> keep an eye on this technology and hopefully we can get some amateurs on
> the decision making boards for this technology.
> See
> Frank K0BRA
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