It has become blatantly obvious to me that I am falling behind in my quest to read a book per week. So, I’ve decided to take the week out of the title and just stick with the book…feels more productive that way!
Today’s book is a delightful romp through the ways in which the electrical grid could be brought down, and the effects that an extended outage could have. There is also a very interesting look at so-called “preppers” and the Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), and how they’ve prepared for many hazards, including a long-term electrical grid outage.
Ted Koppel is well-known in the US for his extended stint as the original host of Nightline on the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). In this book, he takes his excellent investigative reporting skills and puts them to work investigating the security of the electrical grid and the possible outcomes of a major long-term grid failure. In typical American fashion, this is as the result of an intentional attack on the grid, which is not only possible, but likely. Because of international interconnections, an attack on the US electrical grid will also affect the Canadian and Mexican electrical grids.
While an attack on the electrical grid is likely, as Koppel explains, because of malicious foreign actors who have likely already entered the Industrial Control System (ICS) or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems of US electrical companies, this isn’t the only reason that the grid could suffer a long-term outage. 1998 saw catastrophic damage to the electrical infrastructure in Ontario and Quebec as a result of an extended winter storm. 2003 saw a massive power outage in the North-Eastern US and parts of Canada as a result of a tree touching a line and safety systems not functioning normally. Additionally, there is the possibility of an attack on electrical infrastructure, a solar storm, an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), or just simple failure of decades-old equipment.
This book is a phenomenal read, and anyone who has any involvement with emergency management or business continuity should add this book to their must-read list. This is something that is not only possible, but probable, and something that we should all prepare for.
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