Cybersecurity fears prompt National Grid to ditch Chinese equipment

December 18, 2023
1 min read
  • The National Grid in the UK has reportedly started removing Chinese-manufactured equipment from its network due to cybersecurity concerns.
  • The decision follows consultation with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
  • It echoes a wider trend of Chinese technology being purged from the UK’s critical infrastructure network.

The UK’s National Grid is the latest organization to begin pulling China-manufactured equipment from its network due to fears surrounding cybersecurity. The move comes after the termination of a contract with the UK subsidiary of China’s state-owned Nari Technology, NR Electric UK, following advice from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).

The components being removed from the UK’s electricity transmission network are critical for managing communication between energy projects and the grid. They also play a key role in grid balancing to mitigate the risk of blackouts.

A spokesperson for the National Grid highlighted their commitment to the security of their infrastructure but declined to comment further on confidential contract matters. Reports suggest that NR Electric UK was not given a reason for the termination of the contract and that the company’s staff can no longer access the sites where the components are installed.

This action represents the latest incident of a Chinese company being removed from the UK’s critical infrastructure due to cybersecurity worries. Huawei, a Chinese multinational technology company, was outlawed from the UK’s 5G network in 2020, with telecommunication companies being legally obliged to remove its technology by 2027.

While hard evidence of China abusing its position as an infrastructure provider has never been made public, concerns stem from fears that Beijing can legally compel companies to share data with it, including data collected from operations in other countries. China has reportedly been caught deploying malware in foreign nations’ electricity grids on two previous occasions.

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