Utilities on high alert after Paris, as war games heat up in Washington


The utility industry went on high alert over the weekend after terrorists attacked downtown Paris, federal and industry officials said Thursday.

The alert was part of a highly orchestrated plan that industry and government have established in recent years to protect the nation's electricity supply system, the life-blood of the economy, from physical attacks from shooters or cyber espionage targeting a power plant's command-and-control systems. The industry and government have a number of hubs where they share information on threats and coordinate their response.

"I can assure you … [the threat information sharing hub] was turned on after Paris … and there has been coordination" throughout the weekend between the government and industry, said Tom Fanning, CEO of utility Southern Co. and co-chairman of a special group created by the Energy Department to protect the grid.

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