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Remote Substation Monitoring for Utilities

As Substation Attacks Increase, So Do Remote Security and Monitoring Needs

In recent years – but especially over the past six months – attacks on electrical substations in the United States by suspected political groups have been on an uptick. These attacks are incredibly alarming because attacks on substations can completely shut down the grid across a geographic area and cause immense damage and hardship to the individuals and businesses affected.

As civilization and society have developed, individuals increasingly rely on electricity. The electrical grid not only powers our modern conveniences, but interruptions in power delivery can be a matter of life or death for those relying on electricity to power critical medical devices or provide heat or air conditioning in extreme temperatures. Attacks on just a few substations could knock out power to half the country, which could have catastrophic consequences.

In some states, legislatures are introducing bills to ensure that substations have 24/7 protection and security to protect one of the country’s most essential and vulnerable resources.

Substations Require 24/7 Monitoring and Surveillance

However, many substations don’t have 24/7 dedicated security personnel, even those requiring technical assistance since substations can be quite large, taking up several acres. Additionally – many substations are located in remote and/or rural areas where it may take personnel considerable time to get there in an emergent situation. In all of these instances, remote video surveillance and monitoring systems are necessary to ensure the security of substations.

MCA’s video surveillance and remote monitoring solutions provide electric utilities with the technology they need to ensure the substation is secure at all times, including:

Utility Substation Detection Systems

Video Surveillance and Motion Detection

Suppose an intruder is detected on the property – or even approaching the property – of a remote substation. In that case, security is directly notified, and live video is transmitted over Private LTE to the central control room, allowing the security personnel to monitor the situation in real time and determine if a call to local authorities needs to be made or if internal personnel need to be dispatched.

The Motorola Solutions Nitro™ LXN 7900 Broadband Core is a network solution that can access the Anterix 900 MHz PLTE band and offers a secure and dependable LTE broadband connection. The Evolved Packet Core (EPC) adheres to full US DoD security protocols, with IPSec encryption, carrier-grade capacity, and robust priority management, that provides a resilient and reliable network. This solution allows you to create and manage a private broadband network exclusively for your use, ensuring the safe storage of sensitive information within your data network.

Utility Substation Security Systems

Facial and License Plate Recognition

When an intruder is captured on the initial camera, they will be tracked across multiple cameras as they make their way around or onto the premises. Facial recognition and License Plate recognition systems can compare individuals and vehicles to databases of known bad actors or log the information for future situational comparisons.

Utility Substation Communication Systems

Dispatch and Communication

Speakers on the cameras allow the security team to inform the intruder that their presence has been recognized, that they must vacate the premises, and/or that resources are being dispatched to the site. This is especially important as some “intruders” may mean no mal intent and may not realize they’re trespassing on protected property. For bad actors, however, it potentially gives them an opportunity to reconsider their actions while buying time for law enforcement to arrive.

Utility Substation Incident Response Solutions

Incident Management and Interoperability

Once a threat has been identified, local law enforcement are informed and provided with the video footage. An incident report is created with pre-populated fields to aid in any post-incident investigations and potential prosecution.

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About MCA

Mobile Communications America (MCA) is one of the largest and most trusted integrators in the United States, offering world-class voice, data, and security solutions that enhance the quality, safety, and productivity of customers, operations, and lives. More than 65,000 customers trust MCA to provide carefully researched solutions for a safe, secure, and more efficient workplace. As your trusted advisor, we reduce the time and effort needed to research, install, and maintain the right solutions to make your workplace better.  

Our team of certified professionals across the United States delivers a full suite of reliable technologies with a service-first approach. The MCA advantage is our extensive service portfolio to support the solution lifecycle from start to finish.

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