In modern, highly technical societies based on the division of labour, the supply of the population with (vital) goods and services is carried out by a highly developed, closely interwoven network of "critical infrastructures". These include information technology and telecommunications, transport and traffic, energy supply and health care. These are highly vulnerable due to their internal complexity and great interdependence. Terrorist attacks, natural disasters or particularly serious accidents have not only in the past decade made it clear what far-reaching consequences the impairment or failure of critical infrastructures can have for the social system as a whole.
Due to the almost complete penetration of the living and working environment with electrically operated devices, the consequences of a prolonged and widespread power blackout would add up to a damage situation of special quality. All critical infrastructures would be affected, and a collapse of society as a whole could hardly be prevented. Despite this potential danger and catastrophe, society's risk awareness is only rudimentary.