Lawmakers concerned about aftermath of an electrical grid cyberattack

Lawmakers want to know what contingency plans are in place in the event of a large-scale cyberattack on critical electrical grid infrastructure. At an April 14 House hearing on the subject, they were especially interested in how federal agencies would work with local and state officials in such an emergency.

“The federal government does not have this basic planning scenario for a cyber threat to the power system,” Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) said at the hearing, which was held by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. “[T]here is a huge disparity in what different groups think is a potential scenario for which states and local governments should prepare.”

Barletta, who chairs the subcommittee, and several other members pressed the witnesses on what the consequences would be if power was out for weeks or even months because of a cyberattack. Oregon Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, the panel’s ranking Democrat, voiced concerned about the loss of transformers and what the federal government can do to prepare, since it can take months for a replacement transformer to be ordered, built, delivered and installed.

Continue reading: