Terrorism & the electric power distribution system
A report issued today by the National Academy of Sciences warns of the vulnerability of the USA's electrical power grid to being blacked out for weeks or months due to terrorist attack. The risk has been known to the industry for years.
If years is defined as a period of several decades, then yes.
A prolonged widespread power outage could cause thousands of death from cold or heat,
Not to mention hunger, thirst, deprivation and disease, but do go on.
and hundreds of billions of dollars in damage to the economy.

Of particular concern are certain large high-voltage transformers [HVT] that increase the voltage of electricity to levels suited for bulk transmission and then reduce voltage for distribution to customers. These must be custom-built, most are made abroad, and replacing a single one can take many months.
Some of the recommendations:
  • develop & stockpile a family of easily transported HVTs

  • take steps to reduce system vulnerability & speed restoration

  • give incentives to utilities & transmission operator to do the above

  • invest in basic technology in power delivery

  • develop a national inventory of portable generating equipment for critical loads during extended outages
Of course, the risk to hospitals of putting their emergency generators and fuel supplies in flood-prone areas has also been known for years, and very little has been done about that.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 2012-11-15