KISSIMMEE, Fla., October 27, 2013 – Kissimmee Utility Authority is reminding its customers not to be concerned by tonight’s broadcast of a television docudrama that examines the after effects of the collapse of the nation’s power grid.
American Blackout is a suspense/horror movie from National Geographic Channel that imagines 10 days of a nationwide power outage caused by a devastating cyber-attack — told in real time by those who kept filming on cameras and phones. The fictional account uses camcorder footage combined with real-life disaster clips (including bits featuring President Obama) to chronicle society rapidly falling apart in the wake of the attack.
The movie airs on the 75th anniversary of The War of the Worlds 1938 radio drama, directed and narrated by actor and filmmaker Orson Welles, that caused widespread outrage and panic by listeners, who had believed the events described in the program were real. Likewise, American Blackout is designed to play on the deep-seated fears of a new generation of citizens.
The film also comes in advance of a biennial grid security drill, called GridEx II, that will take place in the United States, Canada and Mexico on Nov. 13-14. The exercise, which uses best practices from utilities and other contributions from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is designed to validate the readiness of the electric utility industry to respond to a cyber incident, strengthen utilities’ crisis response functions and provide input for internal security program improvements.
“Cyber and physical security are top priorities for our utility and the electricity industry as a whole,” said KUA spokesman Chris Gent. “While the scenario in the National Geographic drama is not probable, the industry continues to work to make the grid stronger. In fact, the electricity industry is the only critical infrastructure sector with mandatory and enforceable cybersecurity standards.”
Founded in 1901, KUA (http://kua.com) is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility powering 64,000 customers in Osceola County, Fla.
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Chris M. Gent