Britain’s National Grid Drops China-Based Supplier, Citing Cyber Security

Britain’s National Grid has begun removing components from its electricity transmission network that were supplied by a company backed by communist China, citing cybersecurity fears.

According to British officials, the decision was made back in April after the National Grid sought advice about the issue from the National Cyber Security Centre, a branch of Britain’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ.

The National Grid has declined to comment on the decision, citing “confidential contractual matters.”

“We take the security of our infrastructure very seriously, and have effective controls in place to protect our employees and critical assets to ensure we can continue to reliably, safely and securely transmit electricity,” a statement from the National Grid read.

Meanwhile, an employee at the communist China-backed company, Nari Technology, has confirmed to the Financial Times that the company no longer has access to sites where the components were installed. The employee also told the outlet that the National Grid did not give Nari Technology a reason for their decision when they informed them that they were terminating the contracts.

According to the outlet, a second individual familiar with National Grid’s decision claimed that the cyber security concerns were mainly about components that aid in controlling and balancing Britain’s electric grid and minimizing the risk of power blackouts. The unidentified person also told the Financial Times that these components were used to automate the process by which energy projects and the power grid “talk to each other.”

It is unclear whether the National Grid will continue to use the components that it has already installed from the Chinese company.

This decision comes as numerous countries around the world have begun to take concerns about Chinese involvement in critical infrastructure more seriously in recent years, citing possible threats to national security.

The news comes as China has been accused of using hackers to infiltrate U.S. infrastructure in a massive cyber attack, which has only strengthened the aforementioned concerns about Chinese involvement in critical infrastructure.

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