String of electrical grid attacks in Pacific Northwest is unsolved
Four electrical substations in the Pacific Northwest were attacked in recent weeks. Substations convert high-voltage electricity that travels across long-distance transmission lines to the lower voltages used by businesses and residences. Pictured: Bonneville Dam power lines.
Bradley W. Parks / OPB

The electrical grid has been physically attacked at least four times in Oregon and Western Washington since late November, causing growing alarm for law enforcement as well as utilities responsible for parts of the region’s critical infrastructure.

According to information obtained by Oregon Public Broadcasting and KUOW Public Radio, at least two of the incidents bear similarities to the attacks on substations in North Carolina on Saturday that left thousands of people without electricity for days.

Portland General Electric, the Bonneville Power Administration and Puget Sound Energy each confirmed Wednesday a total of four separate attacks on electrical substations they manage in Oregon and Washington. Attackers used firearms in at least some of the incidents in both states, and some power customers in Oregon experienced service disruption as a result of an attack.

All three utilities stated they were cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI declined to confirm whether it was investigating.’