With over 40 years in the utility industry, I would like to add my perspective. While the potential for an EMP is certainly very real, it is not what keeps the utility managers awake at night. Let me provide you with a couple examples:
1. In the Pacific Northwest, the date escapes me right now, an Eagle dove down and grabbed a large snake for dinner. The snake, obviously displeased, bit the eagle. The eagle dropped the snake, which landed across several high tension lines. The lines shorted out, and much of the Pacific Northwest went dark.
2. Just this past year a team of snipers attacked a substation, damaging several transformers. I am still concerned that this might have been a test.
Another potential danger point because the transmission systems are interconnected is that a group with some explosives could drop a number of transmission towers in strategic locations and cause cascading system failures.
Very low tech, very dangerous. But that shows you how delicate our system is. The economic impact of those transformers being destroyed would be unimaginable. So whether it’s an EMP attack or something much smaller and low tech, the danger is very real.
Just another data point for those of you in Texas, your system is not connected to the national grid. That can be a blessing or a curse.