Operational and economy-wide impacts of compound cyber-attacks and extreme weather events on electric power networks

Charalampos Avraam, Luis Ceferino, Yury Dvorkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growing frequencies of extreme weather events and cyber-attacks give rise to a novel threat where a malicious cyber actor aims to disrupt stressed components of critical infrastructure systems immediately before, during, or shortly after an extreme weather event. In this paper, we initiate the study of Compound Cyber–Physical Threats and develop a two-stage framework for the analysis of operational disruptions in electric power networks and economy-wide impacts under three scenarios: a Heatwave, a Cyber-attack, and a Compound scenario when the Cyber-attack is timed with the Heatwave. In the first stage, we use a bilevel optimization problem to represent the adversarial rationale of a cyber-attacker in the upper level. In the lower level, we model disruptions in the electric power network using an optimal power flow model. In the second stage, we couple the disruption of electricity supply with a Computable General Equilibrium model to elucidate the impacts on all economic sectors. For the New York Independent System Operator, we find that a 9% demand increase in a Heatwave may not lead to unserved load. The cyber-attack can lead to 4% of unserved electric load in Long Island, while the Compound scenario can increase unserved electric load in Long Island to 12% and affect almost 198,000 customers. Our results show that the activity of state and local government enterprises can decrease by 37% in the Compound scenario. We conclude that the vulnerability of federal, state, and local government enterprises to electricity disruptions can affect a broad range of populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121577
JournalApplied Energy
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023


  • Bilevel optimization
  • CGE
  • Compound risks
  • Cyber-attack
  • Cyber–physical systems
  • Heatwave

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Energy
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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