National Grid has today (18 March) said it has “robust systems” in place after reports it has been put on high alert by security chiefs due to a growing threat of Russian cyber-attacks.

Concerns are increasing about the safety of the country’s key energy infrastructure and supply in the face of rising hostilities between Britain and Russia over the nerve-agent attacks on a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury earlier this month.

Some national media reports today said National Grid was contacted by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – an arm of intelligence agency GCHQ – which advised it on how to increase its guard against criminally-instigated power cuts. Fears are also rising about assaults on electricity and gas supplies, water firms and on the nuclear fuel processing site at Sellafield.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning foreign secretary Boris Johnson said Britain must make sure it is adequately and properly defended, adding: “…When it comes to the defences of this country we are also ensuring that we’re protected against cyber-attack and attacks on our critical national infrastructure, and other such threats.”

He continued: “…It’s a threat that has changed over the last few years because cyber-attacks are a relatively new development, but we have the National Cyber Security Centre, we have fantastic preparations against such threats.”

When contacted by Utility Week today, National Grid said the “safe and reliable supply of energy” to consumers throughout the country is its “most important job”.

It added: “…We have robust systems in place which enable us to monitor, detect and protect our network to keep energy flowing.

“We work closely with government, industry partners and regulators to share information and intelligence to protect our network from current and future threats.”

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