But as scholars of grid cybersecurity, we understand it's not very clear what consumers will be getting for their money, nor whether utility companies themselves should bear some share of the cost. Paying for reliability In the U.S., the electricity grid is a ubiquitous system that's highly reliable. Hackers took down portions of Ukraine's electricity grid in 2015 and 2016, cutting power to hundreds of thousands of people. While media coverage and neighborly conversations have increased public awareness of the risks to the grid, most people's thinking hasn't changed much. Recouping the costs Collectively, utility companies in the U.S. are already planning to spend billions of dollars a year on grid cyber defenses. Ultimately, consumers can reasonably expect to shoulder some of the cost – but should get as much information as possible about the benefits that will result from the rates they're paying.