Conventional attack - electricity infrastructure

This risk is featured in the full matrix, representing the<br>averages of multiple different scenarios presented together in the<br>‘conventional attack on infrastructure’ category.

Impact 5
risk indicator
ID 10
Risk theme Terrorism
Impact & Likelihood
Impact key
5 Catastrophic
4 Significant
3 Moderate
2 Limited
1 Minor
Likelihood key
5 >25%
4 5-25%
3 1-5%
2 0.2-1%
1 <0.2%


The UK has a highly resilient electricity network. A successful attack on electricity infrastructure has not taken place in Great Britain, though attempts were made to attack electricity infrastructure in the 1990s. Multiple attacks on electricity infrastructure have occurred internationally, in countries such as Iraq and Colombia. Industry works to continuously minimise the risk of unplanned disruption while taking the risk of such outages into account in forward planning. Both the government and the Electricity System Operator have robust response plans in place in the unlikely event that significant electricity supply disruption should occur.


The reasonable worst-case scenario is based on a conventional attack against a major electricity infrastructure. This would lead to a loss of electricity output at the site instantly, resulting in an initial regional power cut. The Network Operator would reconfigure their network to stabilise the grid and reconnect most customers.

Response capability requirements

There would need to be preparations in place to support wider recovery and the continued operation of multiple sectors. This includes functioning telecoms, emergency services and fuel distribution. Additional support could be provided via mutual aid agreements.


Most customers would be reconnected on a staggered basis within 24 hours. However, when damage is widespread, or impacts located on the more remote parts of the network, it could take several weeks to fully restore all customers. This is due to the difficulties of accessing remote locations and the amount of time to repair physical damage. It could take 6-12 months for the affected infrastructure to be fully repaired.