International Electric Outages due to Theft and Sabotage

Posting ID 121176
Date Added: 11/21/2019 12:17 PM EST
Date Modified: 12/3/2019 1:49 PM EST
Jacinta Meredith | E-ISAC Staff


Details: Recent open source articles have noted a few incidents resulting in power outages in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Venezuela. While these are international incidents, they are of interest as the tactics could be an inspiration to those who wish to sabotage the electric grid in North America as well as being a reminder of that damage that can be done.


Bangladesh: In an apparent sabotage effort, nine electric meters caught on fire in four separate locations in Bagerhat. All fires occurred simultaneously after midnight within a quarter of a kilometer from each other. The fire was not due to any short circuit or fault.




Zimbabwe: Transformer vandalism and theft has resulted in power outages over the past week, particularly in Marlborough. Residents have noted outage has affected business, lack of water, reduced ability to use facilities, and other health hazards. The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) noted that it takes about five months to replace transformers due to lack of funds. Over 2,200 transformers have been stolen across the country.




Venezuela:  Most of the country faced an approximate 7-hour blackout starting on November 29, affecting 23 of 24 states. The power company, Corpoelec, claimed that there was sabotage at a hydroelectric plant that caused the blackout, though additional details have not been released.




E-ISAC Analyst Note: While this did not take place in North America and the E-ISAC has not seen any evidence that these incidents will spark actions in North America, it is important to maintain awareness of incidents such as these, as they emphasize the impact of vandalizing electricity related infrastructure.


If further information becomes available, it will be added as an update to this post

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  • Jacinta Meredith, 12/03/2019