Edited by Harry W Richardson, Peter Gordon and James E. Moore II
Chapter 14: Risk and Economic Costs of a Terrorist Attack on the Electric System
* Rae Zimmerman, Carlos E. Restrepo, Jeffrey S. Simonoff and Lester B. Lave Understanding the costs of an attack on the electric power system is critical to developing policies and strategies to mitigate the consequences of terrorist attacks, given the very central role that electric power plays in the economy and the fact that it is a common target of terrorist attacks outside of the United States. Since the mid-1980s, government and trade associations have documented over 400 electric power outages in the United States caused by natural hazards, operational circumstances, acts of vandalism, and other causes. Few, however, have been an indirect consequence of terrorism, and probably none of the events have been caused by direct attacks on the power system in the United States. In contrast, roughly 200 terrorist attacks on the power grid have been reported outside of the United States over the past few decades that point to a potential threat to the United States. Estimates of the costs of such attacks can either be scenario-based or based upon statistical analyses of real events. Scenario-based eﬀorts have ranged from conﬁgurations conﬁned to the electric power system (Salmeron et al., 2004) to those of a more generalized nature incorporating generic interdependencies with other infrastructure connected to and dependent upon the electric power system (Apostolakis and Lemon, 2005). They usually are not based on real-event databases. Event-based analyses rarely extend to consequences of actual attacks or outages from other causes. This chapter uses event-based analyses of...
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