New report looks at ways of improving US resilience and response to catastrophic power outages

Published: Thursday, 13 December 2018 09:02

The President's National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) has issued a draft report which looks at preparedness for a future catastrophic power outage impacting the United States. NIAC was tasked to examine ability of the US to ‘respond to and recover from a catastrophic power outage of a magnitude beyond modern experience, exceeding prior events in severity, scale, duration, and consequence’.

What is a catastrophic power outage? The report states it is a defined as follows:

NIAC interviewed dozens of senior leaders and experts and conducted an extensive review of studies and statutes. It found that ‘existing national plans, response resources, and coordination strategies would be outmatched by a catastrophic power outage’. NIAC concludes that significant public and private action is needed to prepare for and recover from a catastrophic outage ‘that could leave the large parts of the nation without power for weeks or months, and cause service failures in other sectors - including water and wastewater, communications, transportation, healthcare, and financial services - that are critical to public health and safety and our national and economic security’. 

The report makes two main recommendations which are then discussed in detail:

The United States should:

Read the report (PDF).