Infrastructure Failure

Infrastructure failure is a significant failure of critical public or private utility infrastructure resulting in a temporary loss of essential functions and/or services. Failure of gas, electricity, or wastewater treatment services for 12 hours, or failure of phone or water services for any period of time, is considered significant.

  • All of these systems rely to some extent on the internet, which is made up of communication lines, electrically-dependent servers, and satellites. When one system fails, it can impact others.
  • Our critical infrastructure systems are interconnected. Water and wastewater systems rely on electricity, as do petroleum and natural gas distribution pipelines.
  • Some electrical systems, like the Board of Water and Light’s REO co-generation plant, depend on natural gas.


Damage to overhead lines can be reduced by keeping trees near lines trimmed. Damage could also be reduced by burying power lines underground. Much of the damage caused by weather is to individual masts (meters and wires connected to a pole on the side of the house) being pulled away from houses by ice or wind. This is also the damage that takes the longest to restore, since it is the responsibility of the homeowner, who must hire an electrician during a time that they are in great demand. If power lines between the street and the home are buried, the number and length of power outages could be reduced. Masts could also be protected by breakaway devices installed on service lines.