The Chelan County Public Utility District (PUD), an important utility provider in Washington, has decided to increase its security measures due to confrontations with frustrated cryptocurrency miners in the region.
Crypto miners are always searching new ways to reduce costs and increase the profits of their mining activities. One of the main factors when setting up a mining rig is the cost of the electricity. The Chelan county has cheap and abundant hydroelectric power, which miners have been using to power their operations.
This is the reason why the Chelan County public utility placed an emergency moratorium on new high-density load hookups. The main purpose of this decision was to give time to the staff to develop a plan to deal with the increasing electricity demand from crypto miners.
PUD spokeswoman Kimberlee Craig, said:
“PUD employees in the field and those in the office who are handling issues related to high-density load service have encountered an increasing number of upset customers and potential customers. In some cases people can get agitated and argumentative. Our goal always is to provide excellent customer service, as well as to keep customers, the public and employees safe, especially when emotions may be running high.”
Fortunately for everyone involved, the incidents didn’t escalate and did not require the involvement of law enforcement officials.
New fees & charges (up to $11,400) for investigation & enforcement of unauthorized services including cryptocurrency & similar data operations, & for loss of useful life for overtaxed power equipment. Customers can also face prosecution for power theft. https://t.co/h5yZoGAMKL pic.twitter.com/MQ7d4lWoP5
— Chelan County PUD (@chelanpud) April 23, 2018
“The volume of the requests and the sense of urgency by applicants has changed the dynamics of the interaction by staff with the cryptocurrency customers,” said Ms. Craig.
Another important issue that was registered by PUD’s staff, was the increased amount of unauthorized bitcoin operators overloading the system, creating fire hazards, and damaging power grid infrastructure.
According to PUD Security Director, Rich Hyatt, the staff is taking some proactive measures to reduce the problems mentioned before.
Among the steps that Hyatt outlined we find:
- Designing a lobby were people can request and discuss new services.
- Add ballistic panels and more cameras to he headquarters lobby.
- Provide more training on when to call PUD staff.
- Increase visibility of uniformed security staff.
These improvements will be added to the existing security measures now in place.