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What would happen if we lost our Power Grid?

NomadacNomadac Senior MemberCentral IndianaPosts: 902 Senior Member
Threat's to our nation's power grid.

I recently watched "Welcome to a special edition of Justice - I'm Judge Jeanine Pirro. Tonight - an hour long investigation into the dangers facing the U.S. power grid. What would it take to bring it down? And if our system did break down - how would you survive? And what would it be like in the dark?"

http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/02/24/our-death-toll-would-be-staggering-judge-jeanine-power-grid-threats

This was a very sobering wake up to how vulnerable our Electrical Grid is to a solar flare, a electromagnetic pulse, a nuclear device, Cyber attack, or a simple physical assault.

Imagine if all electrical power failed. What would you do?

H.R. Rep. Andy Harris (R.MD.) on the EMP Caucus spoke about H.R. 2417 The Shield Act.( Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act) to protect the bulk power system and electric power infrastructure critical to the defense and well-being of the U.S. against man made EMP threats and vulnerabilities.

This is sitting idle in committee and needs to get attention and passed. Based on what I have read and heard I recommend contacting your HR.Rep. and Senators to take action, as this will take time to implement.

There has already been "Sniper attack at California power plant video: Dry run for terrorists?"
http://www.examiner.com/article/sniper-attack-at-california-power-plant-video-dry-run-for-terrorists

A recent TV show called Revolution http://www.nbc.com/revolution depicted the power grid being shut down and the after effects. Even though it was a science fiction show, the results demonstrate what would or could happen if this did happen.

Are you prepared?
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Replies

  • NNNN Senior Member NCPosts: 25,221 Senior Member
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Under a logPosts: 27,457 Senior Member
    EVERY power plant in the U.S. is vulnerable to shutdown by outside sources. The attack in California on the transformer yard was done by idiots. They didn't do near the damage they COULD have done. Good thing they were stupid.

    What would it take to bring it down?
    A solar flare of sufficient magnitude could do it easily. The contingency to keep electrical generation from being destroyed would be to shut it down before the flare hit. We'd have a whole 8 minutes warning it was starting. And maybe a day to get ready. :silly:

    A coordinated attack on transmission could also do it. Too much trouble to do it at the generating stations. Much easier to do it away from them. And that's all I'll say about that.

    I'm glad I live way out in the country. Got food and means to cook it. And means to protect it. And a good water supply.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • CaliFFLCaliFFL Senior Member Kaniksu Nat'l Forest, IDPosts: 5,486 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    I'm glad I live way out in the country. Got food and means to cook it. And means to protect it. And a good water supply.

    Ditto.
    When our governing officials dismiss due process as mere semantics, when they exercise powers they don’t have and ignore duties they actually bear, and when we let them get away with it, we have ceased to be our own rulers.

    Adam J. McCleod


  • zorbazorba Senior Member Merrritt Island, FLPosts: 25,219 Senior Member
    The more they make it a "smart" grid, the more vulnerable it will become. Electromechanics are far more reliable and far more EMP resistant (I didn't say "proof", I said "resistant".).
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
    )O(
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member God's countryPosts: 4,646 Senior Member
    CaliFFL wrote: »
    Ditto.

    I think there's more than a few of us that can say the same.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • Pelagic KayakerPelagic Kayaker Banned Soon to be in TexasPosts: 1,503 Senior Member
    I remember reading about a solar flare that fried the telegraph wires back in the 1800s. If that were to happen today it would cause TEOTWAWKI. EVERYTHING in commerce today is 100% dependent on computers which in turn are dependent on the grid. BAD DAY!
  • horselipshorselips Senior Member Posts: 3,628 Senior Member
    What would happen if we lost our Power Grid?

    All sky-is-falling speculation aside, 9 months afterwards, literally to the day, we'd have a world class, blue ribbon, record setting baby-boom. Enjoy.
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    What would happen if we lost our Power Grid?
    I am sure that there would be a bunch of us ing that the forum is down.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Dellrose TNPosts: 18,428 Senior Member
    "If it wasn't for Thomas Edison, we would all be sitting around watching television by candlelight!"
    Dave Gardner 1959

    :jester:
    Jerry
  • timctimc Senior Member TexasPosts: 6,684 Senior Member
    Wouldn't bother me, Texas is not on the national grid.

    We like it that way, it will make it easier when we secede from the union!
    timc - formerly known as timc on the last G&A forum and timc on the G&A forum before that and the G&A forum before that.....
    AKA: Former Founding Member
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Lake County, FloridaPosts: 7,927 Senior Member
    Nomadac wrote: »
    ..........A recent TV show called Revolution http://www.nbc.com/revolution depicted the power grid being shut down and the after effects. Even though it was a science fiction show, the results demonstrate what would or could happen if this did happen.

    Are you prepared?
    I watched Judge Jeanines show.....it's pretty sobering. It's amazing what these politicians are NOT doing, as opposed to what they SHOULD be doing.

    I am also watching 2012 reruns of Revolution from the beginning on Netflix. Although there is a lot of BS on the program, it probably represents at least in part what would happen if a scenario like that were to actually happen.

    If it happened by way of an EMP, we would be in trouble as everything with an integrated circuit in it would be fried.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Lake County, FloridaPosts: 7,927 Senior Member
    horselips wrote: »
    What would happen if we lost our Power Grid?

    All sky-is-falling speculation aside, 9 months afterwards, literally to the day, we'd have a world class, blue ribbon, record setting baby-boom. Enjoy.
    It happened in NYC in 1965. 9 months later was a mini population explosion.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • roadkingroadking Senior Member NEPA Near Lake WallenpaupackPosts: 3,056 Senior Member
    I'd like to believe that it won't concern us too much. A lack of some extras won't hurt too bad. When I run out of tuna, steak and Alaskan king crab legs i'll be a bit more concerned.
    Till then...folks should have started sooner. Look at milk, beef, nuts (no, not us on the forum.. ;) ) etc. and inflation; looks bad, but by being informed and aware will help. Pantries, freezers and a good garden couldn't hurt.
    Just my $0.04...inflation, you know.

    Matt
    Support your local Scouts!
  • NomadacNomadac Senior Member Central IndianaPosts: 902 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    EVERY power plant in the U.S. is vulnerable to shutdown by outside sources. The attack in California on the transformer yard was done by idiots. They didn't do near the damage they COULD have done. Good thing they were stupid.

    Strange you call them idiots, the experts that have examined the damage, including some SEALS did not think they were idiots It seems the underground bunker they got into and cut some cables indicated they knew what to cut.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Under a logPosts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Nomadac wrote: »
    Strange you call them idiots, the experts that have examined the damage, including some SEALS did not think they were idiots It seems the underground bunker they got into and cut some cables indicated they knew what to cut.

    The cables can be fixed in a day. Transformers are pretty much custom built; taking them out permanently guarantees a pretty long lead time to get replacements, + installation time, + $$$$ for cleanup. .30 cal. bullets from an AK type round won't penetrate the shell of most any switchyard transformer. Metal is too thick. They can be taken out, though, and very easily set on fire. There are other more high value targets in a transformer switchyard.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Under a logPosts: 27,457 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Any idiot with a chainsaw (for wood poles) or cutting torch (for metal poles) can cause great havoc with the grid. It's NOT rocket science. I honestly can't believe we haven't been hit before.

    Same reason nobody has put a couple of gallons of LSD in a municipal water supply tank; nobody has thought of it.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Under a logPosts: 27,457 Senior Member
    For a few hours and a few blocks maybe. To do real damage you'd have to take down some major high voltage transmission lines which would take more than a chainsaw and again only for a day two. Think the aftermath of a big storm. It's a bit of an inconvinience, but far from the end of the world.

    Some places use wood poles with a crossbeam between them for 161 KV transmission. And some of those are in some really nasty terrain. But I digress. A .223 will drop a 500 KV line easily. The insulators are ceramic with imbedded metal inserts on each side. They are strong in tension, but brittle as glass. Crap; I just told you how to shut down a power plant. :tooth:
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member A true 'Southerner'. NZPosts: 8,402 Senior Member
    In answer to your thread title.......................I guess you guys would have to watch Sons of Anarchy by candle light............
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Why do you think hospitals have emergency power ?

    I have been in the dark before, it did not kill Me, and people that might get killed and use needed medical equipment, usually have emergency power back up.

    Big woof, before Y2K that had so many panties in a knot, I took several computers and turned the clocks ahead, and nothing happened, this chicken little the sky is falling, pfffttttttt, the grid is redundant and hardier than that, the greater danger is summer time power usage, not EMP or other far fetched malarkry.

    This is like the time I had a word with a Physician that claimed he did not approve of marijuana for terminal cancer patients because they could get addicted, I then pointed out they would have to get better before they would need to worry about addiction problems.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Imagine if all electrical power failed. What would you do?

    OH WOW !!! in 1776 EVERYBODY DIED ! THERE WAS NO ELECTRIZZLY !!!! are We really that stupid ?

    There is power prioritization, redundant systems, hard-wire back ups, etc, GET A GRIP PEOPLE !
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,233 Senior Member
    OH WOW !!! in 1776 EVERYBODY DIED ! THERE WAS NO ELECTRIZZLY !!!! are We really that stupid ?There is power prioritization, redundant systems, hard-wire back ups, etc, GET A GRIP PEOPLE !
    No, there is not. There are no backups that are not running at max right now. When we cut all of the coal fired plants, it will be worse. While not stupid, we are that dependant.
    For a few hours and a few blocks maybe. To do real damage you'd have to take down some major high voltage transmission lines which would take more than a chainsaw and again only for a day two. Think the aftermath of a big storm. It's a bit of an inconvinience, but far from the end of the world.
    Using a storm as a guide isnt the right senario because when a hurrcane hits FL, power, phone and cable trucks roll from NY, PA, OH, along with replacement parts, generators and manpower. BTDT a few times. If the outage is nationwide, or anywhere close to it, those truck and parts will not be leaving their home states. The parts will be used in the home states and there is not enough manufacturing to build a few thousand transformers in 2 days.

    Wouldn't bother me, Texas is not on the national grid.

    We like it that way, it will make it easier when we secede from the union!
    Actually it was to get away from regulation. However the TX power grid only supplys 75% of the area in TX and they are also maxed out. TX is not immune to a EMP either.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Living in a van, down by the river.Posts: 14,034 Senior Member
    No, there is not. There are no backups that are not running at max right now. When we cut all of the coal fired plants, it will be worse. While not stupid, we are that dependant.

    Using a storm as a guide isnt the right senario because when a hurrcane hits FL, power, phone and cable trucks roll from NY, PA, OH, along with replacement parts, generators and manpower. BTDT a few times. If the outage is nationwide, or anywhere close to it, those truck and parts will not be leaving their home states. The parts will be used in the home states and there is not enough manufacturing to build a few thousand transformers in 2 days.



    Actually it was to get away from regulation. However the TX power grid only supplys 75% of the area in TX and they are also maxed out. TX is not immune to a EMP either.
    There you go interjecting facts into this discussion....

    Edited to add: one thing to consider for hospitals and the like regarding backup power: those things need fuel to run them. Generally the fuel requires electricity to pump it out, electricity that may or may not be available after a natural disaster/power outage. Also, shipping post-disaster power outages can get much more problematic with traffic lights and the like down.

    Also, people can get by on canned and dry goods after an outage, but that requires preparation and foreknowledge that it's going to happen. A sudden loss of power would leave a lot of people in a lurch, and they couldn't get it from the store as most stores wouldn't be open due to... lack of power.
    I'm just here for snark.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    Ahh, wouldn't bother me. I'd probably go trade a few guns for some ice and wait for Obammy to get the lights back on........YEAH RIGHT!

    :fan::silly::popcorn: :tooth:
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    No one really knows what would happen if (when) another large scale solar (Carrington) event occurs such as the one in 1859. It would most likely fry every electronic device not hardened and a good portion of the grid. The were seeing Northern Lights in Texas and it only took like 17 hours to get here from the sun instead of the normal 3+ days. I've seen estimates of as much as 2 years to return to normal. Pretty sure anarchy would occur within a few weeks max. There is really no preparing for something like that unless you have a really good water source that you can protect.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • Make_My_DayMake_My_Day Senior Member Lake County, FloridaPosts: 7,927 Senior Member
    BAMAAK wrote: »
    .......Pretty sure anarchy would occur within a few weeks max.....
    There is a segment of the population who would riot and loot the minute the lights went off, like NYC in 1965.
    JOE MCCARTHY WAS RIGHT:
    THE DEMOCRATS ARE THE NEW COMMUNISTS!
  • NomadacNomadac Senior Member Central IndianaPosts: 902 Senior Member
    The bottom line is if we had a major power outage that lasted 30 days or longer it would be a disaster, as the majority of the people are not prepared. If it happened in the Winter the cold would kill more than in the Summer. All food requiring refrigeration would be spoiled, and even many with generators would be out of fuel to use them. Even if you had some money, there would not be anyplace to buy things.

    Scary thought if it happened.
  • agewonagewon Senior Member Posts: 655 Senior Member
    There is a segment of the population who would riot and loot the minute the lights went off, like NYC in 1965.

    After sandy, we were without power for up to two weeks in certain areas. Things were getting tense when people realized they couldn't get gas, the grocery stores were cash only and the ATMs were down.
    My guess is that my area would go into complete meltdown within a month on no power.
  • JasonMPDJasonMPD Senior Member Posts: 6,583 Senior Member
    Total anarchy eventually.

    1. Gasoline would become priceless.
    2. Foodstuffs would become priceless.
    3. Ammunition would become priceless.
    4. About 3,000,000 people who could not login to play World of Warcraft would venture outside for the first time in 8 years and be ravenously destroyed for what commodities they had.

    It would be simple in the chaos... you'd be my ally or you'd be my enemy. No gray area. And presumption of the latter would be the default.
    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,233 Senior Member
    JasonMPD wrote: »
    4. About 3,000,000 people who could not login to play World of Warcraft would venture outside for the first time in 8 years and be ravenously destroyed for what commodities they had.

    :spittingcoffee:

    edit;
    I have asked the guys at the national centers when we are involved in a High Speed Internet cut "Do you have any idea how many teenage romances we are going to destroy? Not to mention the sprained wrists.."
    One guy had to put down the phone
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Under a logPosts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Since most stores only stock for one week of food sales it would get ugly really fast in the high population cities. Not enough cops, military, state NG, Homeland Security, et al to keep the lid on when food and water runs out.

    Here's a blast from the past of what happened in New York City in 1977. And this was an outage that only lasted 24 hours. Think what it would be like after a couple of weeks.

    http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/07/dayintech_0713
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
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