Data-center worker sabotages California power grid

A computer technician at a data center that administers power supply to part of California's power grid pleaded guilty to trying to shut it down.

A computer technician at a data center that administers power supply to part of California's vast power grid pleaded guilty last week to trying to shut down the grid.

The technician, Lonnie Charles Denison, 33, was working at the data centre in Folsom, California, in April when he broke a glass protective cover and pressed a power-off switch on a system, leaving the power grid vulnerable to shortages for two hours, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Repairs cost the state US$14,000. Denison had been working as a contract employee.

Denison pleaded guilty in court to hitting the "emergency power-off" switch, and said that he was unhappy with his employer at the time. Denison had originally been charged with sending an e-mailed bomb threat the day after the incident that read: "Hey, at one point I respected you... you have a new kid. So this is only because of him. Get out before the timer expires. Not long now. Take care."

No blackout occurred as a result of the incident, but 20 computer specialists were required to repair the damage, according to the newspaper.

Denison is due to be sentenced on 29 February, 2008.

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