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Who Will Pay For The Electricity Grid Cybersecurity

image credit: Electricity Grid Cybersecurity

The roles the utilities, regulators, and other stakeholders carry out to secure the national electricity grid in America is what is referred to a cybersecurity grid.

Our national electrical grid in America is presently going through massive changes. This historical change is to move to smart grid technology. This is a welcome development but it comes with it challenges – it's quite expensive.

The Insecurity Problem

A key issue to note here is that these needed improvements and modernizations though laudable have come with more risks to the grid system than ever was.

The computers that control the United States electricity grid as of today is said to be vulnerable to hackers. Hence the need for improvements and modernization.

Then the big thing is how can we keep hackers from getting access? How much will it cost and who will pay for it? Why not execute these hackers when caught?

The Cost

To fix such magnitude of cyber vulnerability will cost anything from $10 billion and above. Where will such amount come from? It could have come from the tax payer but since Obamacare cost us trillions and was based on statements that did not turn out correct (it would not raise costs, we can keep our doctor), hurt more people than it helped, and took money from responsible people.

Now America cannot afford the necessities. Americans can pay for health insurance (though its harder to do when laws like the ACA increase the costs because of various factors) but when it comes to energy and the grid, that's sort of out of our hands.

To give you an answer, the government (us) isn't going to pay for this, and payment will come from the primary consumers of electricity which is the American people. Though as we are told paying for this isn't a waste of funds but a crucial investment in the community and national security.

In December 2018, US Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet came up with legislation that is expected to improve grid security all over the nation.

It is intended that it will produce a $90 million fund which will be distributed to states to create strong energy security plans.

We have seen that utility companies are sourcing funds in billions of dollars to spend yearly on grid cyber defenses.

When these funds are raised and used these companies will need a return on investment and all these boils down to the consumer dipping hands into his pocket. There may be regulations to checkmate excesses and protect the consumers but they'll still have to pay.

Quantifying the Economic Benefits

The problem of the threats against an insecure grid cannot be imagined but what exactly the benefits are, are still generally a speculation.

The Feds could perhaps come in to help with the huge costs of improving cybersecurity to the grid but as just said – America is broke. We spent too much in Iraq, we spending billions on illegal immigrants, and again the ACA really hurt us. America has to make better decisions.

But, before America can make a decision here, the associated representatives would want hard statistics that tell them how many millions or billions of dollars could be saved, dangers prevented, and benefits. The truth is, it will still take a few more years to gather these hard statistics.

What are Consumers Willing to Pay

Maybe we may need to consider how much consumers are willing to part away with to protect against the impending dangers.

If you want a system that is very safe, secure, and reliable, it costs so much, but no matter the amount, it is justified when compared to the economic benefits. The cost to get this done is huge but how much will it cost each American? And how much is the American people willing to part with?

Benjamin Roussey's picture

Thank Benjamin for the Post!

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