National Grid swaps Chinese tech due to cybersecurity worries

December 18, 2023
1 min read

Key Points:

  • National Grid has reportedly begun the removal of components supplied by China-backed Nari Technology due to cybersecurity concerns.
  • The decision, made in April, sought advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of GCHQ.

Britain’s energy provider, the National Grid, has initiated the removal of components supplied by a unit of China-backed Nari Technology from its electricity transmission network. The key reason behind this decision is linked to cybersecurity concerns. This news was reported by Financial Times quoting an employee from the Nari subsidiary, NR Electric UK, who claimed the company was no longer allowed access to the sites where their components had been installed.

Though National Grid did not provide specific reasons for terminating the contracts, according to an unnamed source, the components supplied by NR Electric UK were said to be responsible for grid control, balancing, and minimizing the risk of blackouts. Hence, it is suggested that cybersecurity concerns surrounding this essential infrastructure is the main reason behind the decision.

Both National Grid and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero were approached for comment regarding the situation but there has been no official response at the time of report. This move comes during a heightened international awareness and concern over potentials cyber threats impacting sensitive infrastructures, particularly those linked to countries with perceived geopolitical tensions.

The decision was reportedly made in April after National Grid sought advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of British intelligence agency, GCHQ. This highlights the level of seriousness with which the potential cyber threats were perceived and also the increasing trend of infrastructure and energy providers seeking external expert advice to ensure the security of their systems.

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