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During a Power Outage: Safety Tips

  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors to electronics or have a licensed electrician install whole house surge protection.
  • If you have an automatic generator, make sure you have fuel, and any debris is cleared around the generator.
  • If you have a portable generator, make sure it is properly connected (installation by a licensed electrician) and  NEVER run a portable generator inside a home or garage

3 Reasons Why Maintaining Your Standby Generator is Essential

 

There’s A Lot To Check

Standby generators seem simple enough — using LP or natural gas as to create electricity — but really it’s a complex machine, just like your car. Would you let your car go a year without a check-up? Of course not, because you know if you miss a little problem in your car it can quickly turn into a big one. As an authorized Generac Service Center and Dealer, we check the oil, oil filter, spark plugs, air filter, adjust and tighten the valves, perform a transfer test, check the gas pressure, check the voltage, hertz, and RPM outputs, and check the battery.

It Will Pay Off In The Long Run

A well-maintained standby generator can last from 10,000 to 30,000 hours.  On the conservative end your generator could last about 10,000 hours; that means your standby generator, if well-maintained has a potential life span of at least 20 years. That is definitely a long-term investment. A well-maintained standby generator should last you years and give you peace of mind.

It’s Not Worth The Risk

Your family is the most important thing to you. You can’t protect them from everything, but if there’s something you can protect them from, wouldn’t you want to? When you neglect to regularly maintain your standby generator you are risking it not working when you need it the most. We all know that most blackout occur in terrible weather such as blizzards or rainstorms. It’s at these times that heat, information, and comfort are the most important to your family, and a standby generator you can rely on is most important to you.

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.