Accession Number:



Critical Infrastructure Protection: Electricity Suppliers Have Taken Actions to Address Electromagnetic Risks, and Additional Research is Ongoing

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

Corporate Author:

United States Government Accountability Office

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



A severe GMD or HEMP event could potentially have significant impacts - including power outages - on the nations electric grid, which could affect other sectors that depend on electricity, such as communications. In response, NERC created two regulatory standards requiring certain U.S. and Canadian suppliers to assess their vulnerability to GMD and take appropriate steps in response. GAO was asked to review electricity industry actions to prepare for and mitigate electromagnetic risks. This report examines, among other things, 1 to what extent U.S. and Canadian electricity suppliers have identified information about GMD and HEMP effects on the grid, 2 what steps selected U.S. and Canadian suppliers have taken to protect against GMD and HEMP, and 3 what opportunities exist for U.S. suppliers to recover costs for protecting against GMD and HEMP. GAO examined government and industry studies and interviewed federal and industry officials about potential GMD and HEMP effects on grid infrastructure reviewed regulatory standards, monitoring processes, and NERC compliance audit data from April 2015 through August 2017 reviewed federal regulations and interviewed state regulators on cost recovery issues and interviewed officials from a nongeneralizable sample of 13 U.S. and Canada electricity suppliers, selected based on factors such as GMD experience and preparation for GMD and HEMP events.

Subject Categories:

  • Electric Power Production and Distribution

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]