Publication – Insecurity in the Supply of Electrical Energy: An emerging threat to information and communication technologies?

January 15th, 2011 by University of Leicester

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This monograph evaluates the consequences for ICT users of failures in the supply of electricity. As demand for electricity grows it is vital that the electricity generating industry expands its capacity. It is also vital that the networks (grids) that deliver that electricity are up to the task. There is talk in Britain of an impending ‘energy gap’ and in the United States of a grid at breaking point. Case studies illustrate the consequences for advanced societies of power outages.

Simon Bennett concludes that the best way to secure the ICT systems of both the private and public sectors is to maintain a reliable supply of electrical energy. Security of supply would also reduce the burden on crisis management agencies. The private and public sectors must ensure that governments address the energy security issue. Governments must fully meet their public safety responsibilities by investing in resilient power generation and distribution systems.

Governments’ empowerment of producers and markets within a de-regulated, laissez-faire world economic system should not be seen as an opportunity to scale-down investment in infrastructure. It is up to governments to invest for the long-term. Bennett asserts that reports of the death of the post-war settlement are premature. Keynes’s ideas are relevant still.


Simon Bennett has degrees in politics and communications and a PhD in the sociology of scientific knowledge.

He directs the MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management at the University of Leicester’s Civil Safety and Security Unit (CSSU).

He works as a human factors consultant to the aviation and rail industries where he uses ethnography to improve communication and teamwork. He has published widely on aviation human factors.

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