Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 11, 2014

PG&E offers $250K reward in California grid attack

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. offered a $250,000 reward Thursday for information leading to an arrest and conviction in a startling attack mounted nearly a year ago on telephone lines and the power grid in Silicon Valley.

The nighttime, coordinated attack on April 16, just a day after the Boston Marathon bombings, involved snipping AT&T fiber-optic lines to knock out phone and 911 service in the area and firing shots into a PG&E substation.

Millions of people in Santa Clara County were asked to conserve energy after power lines were damaged.

Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman Jon Wellinghoff has called the incident an act of terrorism. FBI spokesman Peter Lee reiterated Thursday, however, that the agency has no indications to back that up and the investigation is ongoing.

"One year later, the perpetrator or perpetrators of this crime remain at large and we want to help change that," Gregg Lemler, PG&E's vice president of electric transmission operations, said at a news conference Thursday announcing the reward.

PG&E's reward would be funded by shareholders and comes nearly a year after AT&T offered its own $250,000 reward for information leading to arrests.

The sniper bullets knocked out 17 transformers powering parts of Silicon Valley and caused more than $15 million in damage.

Officials rerouted power to avoid a blackout, but it took PG&E workers nearly a month to repair the damage. No arrests have been made.

Wellinghoff, who was in office during the incident, said he reached his conclusion after consulting with Defense Department experts about the attack.

On Thursday, Wellinghoff's successor and FERC's acting chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur testified before Congress about a report blasting officials for improperly allowing widespread access to a sensitive document the commission created in response to the attack on the PG&E substation.

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