Lucci Electric

Our blog

Bright Ideas from Our Experts!

Will Monday’s Solar Eclipse affect our electrical power in Connecticut?

 

Most likely not. While Monday’s solar eclipse will interrupt several hours of sunshine and potentially solar power in

key states like Oregon and California, experts have been working to prevent any disruption to the electrical grid there

and throughout the country.

 

However, if your home is powered by solar energy, you might want to make some back-up preparations during Monday afternoon

even though Connecticut won’t be experiencing the maximum impact of the solar eclipse.

 

The attached article explains the situation in more detail.

 

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/julia-prochnik/how-will-eclipse-affect-solar-power

Hurricane season 2017 could be one of the worst in more than a decade.

Are you prepared, or have you become complacent?

 

It has been more than a decade since a major hurricane made landfall in the United States. According to the National Hurricane Center, this is the longest stretch in history without a Category 3 or greater striking the country since record keeping began.  So odds are that this year or next could bring a significant series of  landfall storms and these could hit here in the Northeast.

 

While hurricane season’s official start is June 1st and remains in effect until November 30th. This does not limit these events to a specific timeframe. Power outages occur from forces of “Mother Nature” at any time.

Here in the Northeast we have experienced major impacts of storms in the past 10 years including Ike, Irene, Debby, Isaac and Sandy, but not a hurricane.  Our power grid continues to be more vulnerable as time passes so these storms could have quite an effect so it’s critical to be prepared.

Hurricanes can cause serious damage, whether wind or water related. Rebuilding takes time and money. While most reminders of recent storms are no longer so visible in this area we should remember the devastation and prepare for the worst.

Do you have an emergency plan for your family?

Power outages affect wide areas and leave millions of utility customers without power. Utility crews take days and sometimes weeks to restore power for all customers. Basements flood without sump pumps. Hot humid air promotes mold growth. Food spoils without refrigeration.  Standby Automatic generators are the best resource to guard against long-term outages.

Along with a backup power generator, everyone should have a week’s supply of non-perishable food, water and medicine for each family member. Goods and services are in short supply after a hurricane. Have flashlights, batteries, and even solar powered charging on hand.

Your home is probably the primary place of shelter for you and your family. This is where you go to stay safe during extreme weather.  Ensure a supply of electrical power to keep your home heated or cool, dry and safe. A standby generator will power your central air conditioner and furnace along with refrigerators and freezers. During wet weather, they keep sump pumps running and the lights on.

The time to install a generator is before you need one. A back up power source is a necessity not a luxury. If you have not prepared with an Automatic Standby Generator or a portable generator, contact Lucci Electric to help solve your emergency power needs.

This U.S.A. Today Article from 6/12/17 further discusses additional threats to the electric grid. Another reason why an automatic standby generator is a must.

Malware discovered that could threaten electrical grid

SAN FRANCISCO —  A new malware variant capable of knocking out networks that run power grids around the globe has been discovered by a computer security company studying an attack on the Ukrainian power grid.

The malicious code is capable of directly controlling electricity substation switches and circuit breakers and could potentially be used to turn off power distribution or to physically damage equipment used in the electricity distribution grid, researchers at ESET wrote in a paper posted Monday.

U.S. power providers are “properly alarmed,” especially at the sophistication of the program, said Sue Kelly, president and CEO of the American Public Power Association.

“We are going up a level in the video game here,” she said. The organization and the power companies it serves are working with national and international organizations and the U.S. government to analyze the malware and the threat it might pose.

Automatic malware that attacks the electric grid is “a big deal,” said Mark Weatherford, chief cybersecurity strategist at the security firm vArmour.

The danger of the malware is that it can automatically trip the breakers within a power system that keep the electrical lines from being overloaded. If one breaker is tripped, the load is shipped to another portion of the power grid. If enough are tripped, in the right places, it’s possible to create a cascading effect that will eventually overload the entire system, said Weatherford, who was formerly the chief security officer at the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, the regulatory authority for North American utilities.

“In some cases, it could then take days to restart all the plants,” he said.

Two things stand out about the malware, dubbed “Industroyer” by the researchers — it’s an order of magnitude easier to use than previous programs and it wasn’t actually deployed to do any real damage, meaning whoever’s behind the December attack might simply have been testing the waters.

Industrial control

Industrial control networks of the type used in power systems use communications protocols that are much less secure than the kinds of computer networks used by banks, retailers and businesses.

“They were developed years ago, without security in mind. They weren’t designed for smart grids or interconnectedness,” said Robert Lipovsky, a senior malware researcher with ESET.

The United States has been concerned about possible attacks on the power system for years. President Trump’s cybersecurity executive order, signed in May, specifically asks for a report on dangers to the electrical grid, for example.

Industroyer’s ease-of-use is so disturbing because industrial systems are still playing security catch-up, said Raheem Beyah at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

“I knew we were going in this direction but I didn’t think it would be this soon,” said Beyah, who teaches a course on infrastructure hacking and protection for graduate computer science students.

Beyah says the software needed to take down an electrical grid no longer requires the resources of a nation to create. Adding a module to the malware is now “something that a strong computer science graduate student could do,” he said.

There’s no evidence the malware has been deployed in the United States, but the highly sophisticated way it was written means it would be very simple to use here, say experts.

Worldwide there are close to 50 power control system protocols, but Industroyer’s modular system makes it easy to build a module aimed at a specific one and add it to the framework.

For example, the malware contained a module to attack IEC61850, the substation automation program used in Ukraine and common in many European electrical systems.

In the United States, the DNP3 program is more commonly used. Given the modular nature of the malware it would be extremely easy to add a module that targeted the U.S.-protocol, said Galina Antova, co-founder of Claroty, a company that provides industrial control security.

“It’s basically plug-and-play,” she said.

The code is “extremely alarming” because it could too easily be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems to devastating effect, said Robert Lee, the CEO and founder of Dragos, an industrial control security company that also analyzed it.

The creators of the malware aren’t known, though several working in cybersecurity have pointed a finger at Russia or entities working for Russia, both because of the Russian-backed rebellion currently fighting in Ukraine and because it is known to have extensive cyber capabilities.

Testing?

ESET researchers were investigating a cyberattack on Ukraine’s electrical system that took place on Dec. 17. The attack occurred at midnight and switched off just one substation, knocking out power to a small area provided power to a small area of the capital Kiev. It came about a year after an earlier cyber attack, which used different malware to knock out power to some 230,000 in Kiev.

During the research, ESET came across the Industroyer malware. The malware discovered by ESET is capable of performing the same type of attack used in 2016, said the cybersecurity company .

Researchers who follow this field wonder if the Ukraine attack was merely a test or even a threat. The attackers did nothing to hide their attack or what they were doing.

“It’s starting to feel like the Ukraine attacks in 2015 and 2016 were a playground for someone running a proof of concept,” said Antova.

Do you take your electrical power supply for granted?

 

Many Americans do, but the fact is that our national electrical grid has become very vulnerable due to an aging and complex infrastructure, the threat of cyber attacks and terrorism, and ever-increasing extreme weather conditions across the country.

 

American homes, industries, and businesses are deeply dependent on reliable electricity, so threats to the consistent delivery of electricity put modern life itself at risk.

Electrical substations are critical links in the power grid, which make it possible for electricity to move long distances and distribute power to residences and businesses throughout the United States.  The interconnectivity of our grid, while beneficial also makes it vulnerable to natural disasters and cyber-attacks. Evidence of these attempted attacks is increasing in frequency.  While our utilities have many systems in place to thwart these attacks, it could happen.

Our aging electrical infrastructure also poses risks to our power needs. Reliability in our local areas is another factor. Isolated incidents, as well as wider spread outages are a familiar occurrence.  Being prepared for a power interruption with an automatic Generac Standby Generator or portable generator is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, especially for  those who work from home and require computer access on a daily basis. The conveniences of water and a refrigerator and the need for heat or sump pumps depending on the circumstances of the outage can be critical as well.

Storms and natural disasters have caused hardships due to lost power for hours, days or weeks at a time. But a cyber or physical attack on our electrical infrastructure could be much longer.

We highly recommend that all households have a personal disaster recovery plan.  A generator should be an integral part of this plan. Loss of power effects communications, emergency dispatch, fuel and transportation, security, banking, medical facilities and medications, as well as food and water.

If you don’t have an Automatic Standby Generator, or an ongoing service contract on your present generator, we urge you to be prepared and talk to Lucci Electric about the alternatives. We can provide a range of solutions that will insure that you and your family have ample power should the grid be compromised.

 

Outdoor Lighting Installation:

Warmer days and nights entice us to spend more time outdoors. As you begin to plan landscaping or where to place your outdoor furniture, don’t forget that outdoor lighting design and installation can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful extension of your home. And completely enhance all the other things you do to make your outdoor space enjoyable.

Lucci Electric can design a custom plan for you to bring your outdoors living area to life by making your outdoor lighting magical. From path lighting to up lighting or accent lighting as well as flood lighting, we have the ideas and solutions to illuminate your property and home and truly make your outdoor experience special as well as bringing you peace of mind.

We consider several elements when developing a plan for outdoor lighting installations, including safety (on pathways), security, and pure aesthetics (lighting a beautiful garden, wall, patio or tree).

When planning your outdoor and landscape lighting, we encourage you to think in threes: light something close to the house, something midrange in the yard, and something afar.  This creates interesting focal points when viewed from the house or the street at night. One overlooked benefit of outdoor lighting is that it minimizes the reflection of glass surfaces viewed from inside the house at night. If you install an outside fixture just outside a door, you will be looking beyond the glass reflection.

We also develop our plans with the philosophy that less is more and avoid the mistake of using too much light outdoors. People often think more is better, brighter is better, but outside wherever you create a super bright area you’ve also created super dark areas, and that can be unsafe. It’s better to have low levels of lighting all around. The front door is one of the few outdoor areas where a brighter light is acceptable, with a traditional lighting plan calling for two wall-mounted fixtures flanking the door.

Ask yourself what your purposes are for wanting illumination in your yard. You may wish to set a mood during the evening hours. Maybe you have a bench or a shadowy garden corner you need to illuminate for security reasons. A path leading through the garden may require landscape lighting to mark its boundaries.   Add outdoor lighting, and your outdoor space is immediately transformed into usable space. You might want to highlight some features of your backyard like a water fountain or pond. Flood lights provide security and illumination.

Since paths and areas are on the ground, it makes sense that all path and area lights project downward. And, most of them have some kind of shade or glare guard to prevent the light from shining into people’s eyes. High quality fixtures may be constructed out of brass or copper. Brass and copper have the advantage of better weathering the environment and offer a nice patina after installation.

Our expertise in vision, design and implementation can help you to expand your space with outdoor lighting installation and create a beautiful and safe area that you will enjoy and be proud of.