Catastrophic POWER OUT-Age STUDY . . . NIAC The President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council


Introduction: What the Nation Faces
Across the nation, we experience major threats nearly every year: hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, droughts,
and other serious disasters. For these events, the nation has well-established response processes where the
federal government serves as a backstop for the robust efforts of individuals, businesses, communities, and
states. Even as severe weather increases, the nation has steadily improved its ability to respond to growing
disasters and resulting outages—improving planning and coordination, hardening infrastructure, and
building strong mutual aid agreements.
The risk posed by a catastrophic power outage, however, is not simply a bigger, stronger storm. It is
something that could paralyze entire regions, with grave implications for the nation’s economic and social
well-being. The NIAC was tasked to examine the nation’s ability to withstand a catastrophic power outage
of a magnitude beyond modern experience, exceeding prior events in severity, scale, duration, and

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