A coordinated attack on just nine of the United Statesâ€™ 55,000 electric-transmission substations on the right day could cause a blackout from Los Angeles to New York City, according to the study conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The studyâ€™s results have been known for months to select people in federal agencies, Congress and the White House, but were reported publicly for the first time Wednesday. The WSJ did not publish a list of the 30 most critical substations identified by the FERC study.
Electric substations play a vital role in keeping the electric grid humming by boosting voltage for long-distance travel and then transforming it to usable levels upon arrival. On a hot summer day, with the grid operating at high capacity, FERC found that taking out the right amount of substations could lead to a national blackout lasting weeks or even months.