Could we Americans survive a Natl blackout?? - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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Default Could we Americans survive a Natl blackout??

Doug MacKinnon: Will you survive the coming blackout?

Douglas MacKinnonOPINIONBy Douglas MacKinnon | Fox News

NOW PLAYINGRetired Navy SEAL breaks down threat of EMP attack on US

There are many seemingly never-ending debates: Republicans vs. Democrats; impeach vs. don’t impeach; capital punishment vs. life in prison; wall vs. no wall; legalizing marijuana vs. not; self-driving cars vs. human drivers; Red Sox vs. Yankees; takeout vs. home-cooked; or “Gone With the Wind” vs. any other movie.

All of these issues are stunningly important, right up to the second where cataclysm falls and creates a nightmare scenario that so many fear.

That cataclysm is a complete loss of electricity and every mode of convenience and survival we take for granted.


The largest red flag on this issue in years just waved in South America. Last weekend, tens of millions of people in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay found themselves in a complete blackout. In one moment, they had electricity. The next moment, they had none, and they were catapulted back to the 1800s.

The national power grid of the United States is truly a mess held together with, as the joke goes, by not much more than "baling wire and chewing gum."

Only much worse.

People in the 1800s were not dependent upon electricity for their jobs, money, communication, Internet, transportation, education, security, medical services, prescriptions, water, and very lives.

The national power grid of the United States is truly a mess held together with, as the joke goes, by not much more than "baling wire and chewing gum."

The average age of large power transformers in the United States is 40 years. Seventy percent of all large power transformers are at least 25 years old. It's little wonder that, according to data from the Department of Energy, the United States suffers more blackouts than any other nation in the developed world.

The overall system is so weak, so taxed, and so vulnerable that in 2003, over 50 million people in the United States and Canada were hit with cascading blackouts simply because a tree branch fell on a power line in Ohio.

Because the infrastructure is so antiquated, weather triggers multiple blackouts per year in the U.S. Blackouts which collectively cost the nation upwards of $30 billion in spoiled inventory, lost wages, and repair of the grid.

Unfortunately, weather is becoming the least feared trigger of a blackout. In the age of terrorism and increasing cyber-threats, our power-grid getting taken down by a hack is no longer seen as a question of “If it will happen,” but rather, "When it will happen?"

The U.S. government is so rightfully fearful of this, that last November, it ordered DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to war-game a complete cyber take-down of the U.S. power grid.

An exercise they are now wisely running on a regular basis.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, just last year, hackers – strongly suspected to be Russian – gained access to a number of utility control rooms in the United States and got to the point where "they could have thrown switches."

In the blink of an eye, you will lose access to money, food, gasoline, communication, medicine, medical attention, heat, air conditioning, and security.

The DHS report further stressed: "Russian government cyber actors targeted government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors."

Aside from the Russians, the Chinese, North Koreans, other terrorist states, and even cyber-extortionists, are targeting our power grid on a daily basis.

That clock is ticking.

Unfortunately, much like any large terrorist attack, when an extended regional or national blackout hits, you and your family will be on your own. No one is going to ride to the rescue.

How will you survive?

In the blink of an eye, you will lose access to money, food, gasoline, communication, medicine, medical attention, heat, air conditioning, and security.


Even though most don’t do it, residents of California and Florida are reminded every year to assemble their "two-week" survival kit. In California, it's because of earthquakes. In Florida, it's because of hurricanes.

Survival kits which include water, non-perishable food, medicine, first-aid kits, batteries, a radio, flashlights, candles, cash, a hand-crank charger, with smaller versions of all for your vehicle and office.

The federal and state governments should be issuing that same reminder to every citizen in the nation about the coming blackout. It truly is not a question of "if," but of "when."


A night on the town for a movie, dinner, a sporting event or a political debate is great fun until none of it matters and your survival is literally at stake.

Make a plan, because you will be on your own.

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 11:33 PM
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wonder why they are not really updating our grid :/ sounds like they will use it as a excuse when it crashes big time one day with AI at the helm
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 12:32 AM
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Under our system, you don't make short term profits by planning ahead for long term problems. And, when the problem starts, you will probably have moved on to a better job because you got the short term profits.
I know that is cynical, but, I think, realistic.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 12:46 AM
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Addressing the OP, all of our info-structure is that way. When I was a city engineer in a small Oregon city, the water pipes had many many leaks as did the sewer lines and some of the storm lines. Many streets needed rebuilding. Problem was that the City Council didn't want to spend money on projects to repair info-structures because no one can see them. BUT new stuff, projects that can be seen, those get votes. Things like new subdivisions and commercial developments bring new taxes. Repair of existing utilities isn't sexy to "we the people" so we vote for people bring in new projects not folks who repair the old existing stuff. Same with business.
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 05:50 AM
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i worked over 30 years as a lineman and will say that most of America doesn't have clue how poorly maintained our electrical system in this country is. We have all kinds of high tech stuff to stop cyber attacks but not one thing to stop an attack on our electrical grid. It would turn this country into a third world country in a month. Some will say that there capable of living without power but even they will be effected by the lack of sanitation. Everything you do from the time you get up till the time you go to bed uses electricity. Most people are so blind to this that they don't even try to have a back up plan. Think of how reliant our military and there support structure is on electricity. Wall street is gone and so is your retirement, how long are your flashlight batterys going to allow you to see at night. Your water pump? Toilets? your ability to know whats happening in the world ie internet tv radio and news papers. Pump gas for your car? Refrigerate perishables? In a month anyone living in a town or city would have no meat. Shipping of other foods would about stop. It would stop this country cold and the government just trys to turn a blind eye and hope it never happens. This isn't going to change either. To protect our electrical grid we were told at work would cost so much that your electric bill would have to triple to pay for it and people are willing to take the chance rather then pay to fix the problem. It will happen someday. Its about inevitable. Why would a country like iran that has no chance going toe to toe with us in a nucellar war even bother trying. there going to get blow off the map and they know it. So why stock 20 nukes when 3 or 4 exploded in the air would bring us to our knees. they might not be around to see it but those nut cases don't care.

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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:21 AM
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Luckily Texas has its own power grid.
Not that it can't be knocked out, but a nation wide might not hit Texas as hard.

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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:50 AM
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So we're vulnerable to an attack on our electrical power systems. What exactly can ever be done to mitigate this vulnerability. Anything practical and cost effective probably should be done when it can be, but nothing is ever going to make any system "bullet proof."

This country doesn't seem to be able to solve the "homeless problem" and that would be fairly simple compared to securing infrastructure systems. I suspect that as our systems are at risk, then most if not all of the rest of the world is not any better.

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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:50 AM
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At CAT and Onan we were selling and installing over 20 emergency back up systems a month. There was a waiting list but municipalities were able to go to the head of the line. Some cities took it seriously but some cities didn't. Y2K that number exceeded 50 systemsusing FEMA money. But the problem arose at a meeting,
are these machines going to be able to get fuel during an extended blackout?

Dee, Xcel and SPS just partnered with a power company over in west Texas to cover each other's back.
Just in case, meaning our power plants would have access to the west Texas grid. And vise versa. Lea
county NM has three massive power plants online. There is a huge natural gas plant over there called DCP. Something like 60% of its output goes to running those three power plants.
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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 10:56 AM
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You have SPS plant X and Farmers COOP over near Lubbock with their gas plant. So I think that area will be ok.
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 06-24-2019, 12:08 PM
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Default Could we Americans survive a Natl blackout??

I wonder if this is a situation that will sorta take care of itself as the hundreds and thousands of small generating systems continue to come on line.

I drive past 5 solar and 1 wind farm going to work, as well as a smaller natural gas peak station. As I understand was common in the beginning each town seems to be getting the potential to be more independent.

Don’t get me started on taxing the system with transportation needs. Every home in the neighborhood upgrading to charge a couple cars... I guess that might be the impetus to upgrade the entire grid, hmm...

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