Americans Worry about a Potental Grid Attack: Poll

Americans worry about a potential grid attack, yet are unprepared if one occurs, according to a new poll released by the not-for-profit group Protect Our Power (POP).

attack on the electric gridMore than 60 percent of the 1,207 Americans polled in March fear cyber or physical attacks from foreign enemies. Roughly the same number see themselves as unprepared for a power outage that lasts more than two weeks. Yet, losing power for even more than a week would cause “significant harm” to the daily lives of about half the respondents, according to the poll.

Government takes the brunt of the blame for the situation. Only about nine percent of respondents believe that the U.S. government is doing all it should to avert a grid attack.

“Recently, we’ve learned of increased cyber attacks and there is a growing real concern expressed by the American people about our vulnerabilities,” said Jim Cunningham, POP executive director.

Almost half of those surveyed want lawmakers to prioritize passage of a comprehensive federal law protecting the nation from a grid attack.

“The nation’s electric grid is incredibly complex,” said Suedeen Kelly, POP’s regulatory counsel and chair of the energy regulation, markets and enforcement practice at Washington law firm Akin Gump, and a former commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “To improve the grid’s resilience, we must help industry leaders, regulators and legislators work together to determine and implement the most practicable solutions with suitable funding mechanisms to pay for them.”

Findings of the survey include:

  • Nearly 70 percent are aware of threats to the grid, such as cyber and physical attacks
  • Nearly 61 percent believe the electric grid is vulnerable to a cyber or physical attack
  • Nearly 64 percent would feel unsafe in the event of an extended power outage
  • Nearly 65 percent say they are unprepared for an extended power outage
  • More than 68 percent say they would anticipate significant financial or quality-of-life damage in the event of an extended outage

The poll’s margin of error is +/- 3%.

POP, a collective of industry experts and stakeholders, formed last year to advocate for protecting energy infrastructure from physical harm and cyber threats. The complete poll results are available on POP’s website.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

Comments

  1. Nice piece, Elisa., many thanks. Although I have been following this issues for decades (going back to Lovins’ 1980 Brittle Power book), I have just picked up Ted Koppel’s scintillating book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath. Sadly, it didn’t get the media exposure it deserves.

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