Congressman: U.S. not ready for aftermath of cyberattack on power grid

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA)
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) | Contributed photo
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the U.S. is woefully ill-prepared for the aftermath of a cyberattack that takes out the nation's electrical grid.

“The federal government does this now for almost every significant hazard we face,” Barletta said. “Whether it is a Category 5 hurricane hitting Miami or an 8.0 earthquake in Los Angeles, the federal government has realistic estimates or scenarios for states to plan. The federal government does not have this basic planning scenario for a cyber threat to the power system, and there is a huge disparity in what different groups think is a potential scenario for which states and local governments should prepare.”

Barletta highlighted the discrepancies in estimates for how long a cyber attack could disrupt power services, ranging from days or weeks to several months of on-and-off blackouts.

“I am encouraged to hear the industry talk about an 'all-hazards' approach and focusing on mitigating the greatest risks, but I think there are some unique characteristics of the cyber threat that require specific planning guidelines,” Barletta said. “I know we cannot 'gold plate' the system, but given the interdependency of electricity with our daily lives, it is crucial that we understand the risks and be prepared for the likely consequences possible from the failure of that system."

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U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure U.S. Representative Lou Barletta (PA-11)

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