June 26, 2018

Security Allegations at a Western Area Power Administration Site

Western Area Power Administration (Western) is one of four power marketing administrations within the Department of Energy whose role is to market and transmit electricity from multi-use water projects.  Western’s transmission system encompasses 15 states and is operated and maintained from 4 regional offices.  Western’s Office of Security and Emergency Management is responsible for physical security at Western’s facilities, and in March 2015, Western approved an acquisition plan to standardize all of Western’s security guard services under one contract.  In June 2016, a contractor was awarded the contract to provide armed guard security services for all Western sites.  In August 2016, the contractor began performing security services at a Western site.  

The Office of Inspector General received two hotline complaints with multiple allegations related to security at a Western site.  For the purposes of our review, we summarized the details of the complaints into 15 allegations that were applicable to either the contractor or Western.  Of the 15 allegations, 2 were substantiated with impact, 3 were substantiated or partially substantiated with no impact, and the other 10 were not substantiated.  In addition, during the performance of our inspection, we identified other matters that warrant management’s attention.

To address the issues identified in our report, we made five recommendations to the Administrator for the Western Area Power Administration.  Completing improvements that address the other matters we identified as warranting management’s attention as well as completing the recommendations included in our report could reduce Western’s risk, safeguard ratepayer interests, and help protect its people and property.  Management concurred with the report recommendations and stated that all corrective actions had been completed.  

Topic: National Security & Safety