Filed Under:Risk Management, Loss Control

NRC: U.S. Energy Grid Increasingly Susceptible to Terror Attack

The East Coast electric grid’s slow recovery from Hurricane Sandy highlights the shortcomings of the overburdened utility system and its susceptibility to damage from a different kind of surprise threat: terrorist attacks, especially hackers, notes one risk manager.

A report released by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, in conjunction with the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), shows that a terrorist attack on the U.S. electric delivery system could cause massive blackouts and cost the country billions, even more than what was triggered by the unprecedented storm.

The report proposes that companies develop and stockpile smaller, easier-to-use universal recovery transformers, such as the ones tested by energy companies ABB and CenterPoint Energy during the May 2012 RecX emergency drill program, in which three smaller, universal transformers were deployed from St. Louis to a Texas substation.

Besides the logistics of repairing a transformer, electrical systems may span hundreds of miles of unguarded facilities vulnerable to cyber-attacks through Internet or other telecommunications systems. Modern power systems rely on automated, centrally-controlled supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems that send data to and from circuit breakers and other locally-operating equipment.

Featured Video

Most Recent Videos

Video Library ››

Top Story

PIA's national president was born to insure

Robert W. Hansen Jr., a fourth-generation insurance professional, reflects on what drives him to keep selling after more than 30 years in the business.

Top Story

Taiwan earthquake collapses two high-rises. Shoddy construction investigated

The Taiwanese government has ordered an investigation into a building's collapse, as images show tin cans built into the walls of the toppled complex.

More Resources

Comments

eNewsletter Sign Up

PropertyCasualty360 Daily eNews

Get P&C insurance news to stay ahead of the competition in one concise format - FREE. Sign Up Now!

Mobile Phone

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.