January 3 update: Today, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of two suspects in Christmas Day’s substation attacks. Tacoma Public Utilities values its close working relationships with local, state, and federal law enforcement, and we appreciate their quick and diligent work in arresting the suspected perpetrators. We take the safety and security of our substations and all critical infrastructure we operate seriously. We committed significant resources to both cyber and physical security over the past several years to increase protection of our assets. As noted by federal investigators, those security measures aided in these swift arrests. We also want to thank our customers, who were not only patient and gracious as we worked to restore power during their interrupted holiday, but who also provided important tips to law enforcement to aid in the investigation.
Tacoma Power was notified this morning, December 25, that two of our substations were deliberately targeted with physical damage. Over 7,000 customers in Graham and Elk Plain were without power, and we continue to work to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. There is no danger to public safety, and we are working with federal and local law enforcement.
Earlier this month, we were alerted by federal law enforcement of a security alert for the electrical grid. Tacoma Power follows federal reliability standards, including assessing physical risks to our critical energy infrastructure and applying recommended mitigation measures. In accordance with best practices, we do not share the details of our resiliency and security tactics.
The investigation into today’s incidents is ongoing, and therefore we cannot provide any further details about the incidents to allow law enforcement time to do their job. We appreciate customers’ patience while we work with law enforcement to investigate the damage to our substations. Our most immediate priority is safe, quick restoration of power service to all our customers, and we will keep our customers informed about our power restoration efforts.
See information from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department: