Dominion Virginia Power plans to invest up to $500 million over the next decade to protect transmission substations against security threats.
The Richmond-based power company has more than 400 electrical substations throughout its 6,400-mile system of high-voltage power transmission lines.
The utility will focus on the highest-risk stations to start.
"We're trying to do things that make common sense," Scot C. Hathaway, vice president for electric transmission, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The plan calls for improving protection for critical equipment, expanding the company's spare equipment inventory, and adding more levels of security at its substations.
The company's nearly 2.4 million customers would pay for the improvements, provided the changes win regulatory approval.
Dominion serves major U.S. government and defense facilities in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, and Hathaway said that's one reason to improve substation security.
Starting this year, the security improvements will include the construction of building anti-climb fences or barrier walls around substations, the establishment of dual perimeters around substations with "no-man zones" between them, and the addition of key-card access systems for substation yards.