Europe with no "Plan B" in case of power outages: experts

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No backup plan is present should a Europe-wide power blackout occur, experts warned at a conference on "Sudden Blackout" in Vienna Thursday.

"National crisis management is not enough, as it requires technical communication to be possible," said Herbert Saurugg, initiator of the conference.

He added broader society must be a part of problem-solving efforts, including the first step of acknowledging that a large-scale power outage is a possibility.

Ideally 50 percent of the population should also know what to do in such a situation, particularly when oil, gas, food, and water supplies are potentially cut off, according to Saurugg.

Bernd Benser of GridLab, a German-based power systems security company, said the threat of large-scale blackouts is a very real possibility, with potential triggers including cyber attacks and terrorism.

A blackout could last more than six days, he said, and with hospitals having an average emergency power supply of only about 48 hours, the lives of intensive-care patients could be at risk.

Additionally, in the case of Germany alone it would cost about 580 million U.S. dollars per hour without electricity, he added.

Bernd said the entire European power network "interconnected from Portugal until shortly before Moscow" is potentially at risk, and that particularly larger cities require concepts for dealing with an emergency situation. Endi

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