Electro Magnetic Pulse, or EMP, has been identified as a possible threat to our electric infrastructure and one way an EMP can occur is as the result of a solar flare.

Currently NASA is monitoring massive solar flares that have erupted from the sun over the past few days. Luckily, the coronal mass ejections have not been directed toward earth but many scientists worry that if a powerful flare is directed toward earth it could have a major impact on the electric power system.

Director of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Tom Welch says it’s not science fiction and you need only recall a massive black out on the east coast.

"A few years ago the system at Hydro Quebec was rather severely damaged by a solar storm.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has now also put this issue higher on its radar than it had been before and it's pretty actively looking at what kind of options there are, what kinds of things can be put into place to increase the protection."

Besides a solar flare, EMP waves can be created by a nuclear detonation above our atmosphere which I’ve been reporting on extensively in a series on our website called Got Power?

The Maine Public Utilities Commission has been directed by a legislative committee to fully study the vulnerability of our electrical power infrastructure and to investigate the cost of commercially available equipment Maine utility companies could install to harden our infrastructure from EMP. The PUC ‘s preliminary report is due to the committee next month.