AMERICAN BLACKOUT BEGS THE QUESTION: WILL THE ELECTRIC INDUSTRY REALLY EXAMINE THE GRID’S VULNERABILITY?
A new film by National Geographic suggests the costs of failing to do so.
Washington, DC: On October 27th, National Geographic aired an alarming, and most timely, new docu-drama entitled American Blackout. It explores the trauma that would be experienced by the United States and its people should there be a major disruption in the nation’s electric bulk power distribution system (better known as “the grid”).
The film describes how a cyberattack could leave the Nation without the critical infrastructures that provide everything necessary to life in 21st Century America, including: food, water, fuel, transportation, medicine, communications and finance.
The horrific consequences of such privation – even for the ten-day period explored in the film, let alone a much more protracted period, are such that, if the grid is vulnerable in the way shown in American Blackout, everything possible must be done to eliminate such weaknesses.
Unfortunately, the electric utilities and their trade association / regulatory organization, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), have to date, proven resistant to examining rigorously, let alone remediating, the grid’s vulnerabilities to various threats, including physical attack, cyber warfare and electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
In mid-November, 100 electric utilities and NERC are sponsoring a nationwide exercise dubbed GridEx II that is supposed to demonstrate how well the grid can cope with significant disruption. A new video produced by the EMP Coalition (an ad hoc group made up of many of the nation’s leading experts and organizations committed to preventing the grid and critical infrastructures from the terrible consequences of a long-duration loss of power), however, raises questions about whether GridEx II will actually test the nation’s bulk power distribution system – or be conducted in a manner calculated to obscure the grid’s actual vulnerabilities.
The EMP Coalition encourages every American to view the video “The Real American Blackout” and join in insisting that GridEx II be an honest examination of the state of the Nation’s electric infrastructure, and a catalyst to the corrective actions needed to protect it against all threats including man-caused and naturally occurring.