Abstract for: Understanding and Managing the Threat of Disruptive Events to the Critical National Infrastructure

Concern about the vulnerability of utility networks, (electricity gas and water) and other infrastructures, including transport and telecommunications, to environmental, terrorist and other threats has increased in recent years, motivated both by a perceived increase in such threats and by recognition that the commercial pressures and regulation of companies operating these infrastructures could unintentionally have increased that risk. Powerful simulation tools already help utility operators assess the physical consequences of disruptive events on their networks, whilst others have helped increase their capability to respond efficiently when such events occur. However, better understanding is needed of the relationship between operational, commercial and regulatory pressures, the strategic choices these lead to on the part of infrastructure operators and the long-run consequences for the resilience of these systems and hence for service continuity. This paper describes a high- level model portraying these relationships, and early findings from testing alternative strategies, both over the long and short term.