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California utility plans to increase substation security with enhanced cameras, other measures

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. renewed its support on Tuesday for a three-year, $86 million project to heighten security at electricity substations following the sabotage last April of one of its Silicon Valley facilities.

After meeting with law enforcement and security consultants, the utility plans to install opaque walls and deploy advanced camera systems, enhanced lighting and additional alarms at the San Jose substation and other sites , PG&E spokesman Brian Swanson said.

"It's an ongoing effort," said Swanson, noting that the walls will make it harder for would-be saboteurs to see inside potential targets.

The utility increased security at the San Jose substation immediately after the attack, deploying around the clock guards,

The utility is considering a rate increase to pay for the security enhancements, Swanson said.

Millions of people in Santa Clara County were asked to conserve energy after the substation in San Jose was shot with a high-powered rifle.

Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff has characterized the attack as terrorism, though the FBI has said it has found no indication of terrorism.

Swanson said alarms on the night of the attack alerted corporate security officers and operators at their electronic control centre who were able to reroute power and keep lights on for customers.

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