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What would happen if we lost our Power Grid?

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  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    "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."

    News flash, I lived through it, I can tell you what it was like, even what actually happened as I saw it.

    Firearms did play a part, the areas where people stood guard with guns did not get looted.
    "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
    Power lines get taken down all the time. Storms, wild fires, traffic accidents, etc. A long way from the end of the world.
    Not transmission lines. Local service lines, yes. Main transmission lines dont go down often. The only one that I was involved in in 25 years was from a micro burst. Power was out for 8 days, and you have to understand that that was a simple isolated incident.

    It would be like the differance between your water feed on the street breaking and river drying up. 4 guys and a backhoe can fix the one in the street in a night. Dry up the river, and you cant pump to the water tower (sub station).
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    Not transmission lines. Local service lines, yes. Main transmission lines dont go down often. The only one that I was involved in in 25 years was from a micro burst. Power was out for 8 days, and you have to understand that that was a simple isolated incident.

    It would be like the differance between your water feed on the street breaking and river drying up. 4 guys and a backhoe can fix the one in the street in a night. Dry up the river, and you cant pump to the water tower (sub station).

    You don't live in tornado country
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Pensacola, FLPosts: 10,826 Senior Member
    I don't remember anarchy in Canada...... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Ice_Storm_of_1998

    jpeg

    Of course they had power else where, so you could still truck in food and water.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Lights Out by David Crawford is a good book on this. I like it because it's set in San Antonio where I grew up.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,233 Senior Member
    BAMAAK wrote: »
    You don't live in tornado country

    You are right. Neither does most of the population, When the transmission lines go down where there are these things called "hills" that are covered in things we call "trees" you cant just drive over and re string them.

    Tornado area, 11 towers, all hands effort, 4 weeks best guess, and you can drive to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9N2IF0VRVk
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • JeeperJeeper Senior Member Tampa, FL areaPosts: 2,954 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    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


    NOOOOOOOOOO. Most stores stock for 3-4 days MAX, and in an emergency all their stock would be GONE in less than 24 hrs. Trust me on this one. I've seen it happen here in Fl before a hurricane threat. It happened back when hurricane Andrew hit Homestead.

    Luis
    Wielding the Hammer of Thor first requires you to lift and carry the Hammer of Thor. - Bigslug
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,233 Senior Member
    but I think people are overestimating the chaos and underestimating the resiliency and response capabilities.
    Yet a few of us work in or close to the industry and know what the response can be. Another factor you are not adding in is that that storm was before (partial) electric deregulation. There are a heck of a lot less people working in the industry 20 years later, the stock is kept to a minimum to save costs. Captial is being spent by power companies to run fiber optics because they make more selling dark fiber and glass is cheap and they are non regulated as a communications provider. Look at the links posted, 1998, massive damage and about a month, last year, 11 towers and about a month.

    20 years ago we had at least 5 digger trucks and 5 line trucks and full crews working at the company I am at statewide which were used for trouble and small construction, the bigger stuff was contracted out. Today, we have One digger and One line truck with drivers and a single almost retired guy with bad knees as a company line crew IN THE STATE. We did power poles and worked with the power companies, they are in the same boat. You snap a pole on Fri night, a service guy will show up and take a rope and tie it off the road and so it can be made safeish until monday or whenever they can get a contractor there.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Under a logPosts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Something else that would hamper recovery. Remember the hurricane that hit New Jersey? A bunch of utility crews and contractors from the South went up there to help put the power back on. A good many of them were NON UNION. The non union utility crews and contractors were not allowed to touch anything, and packed up and went home. I know this for a fact as I have friends working for both that went up there, were treated like crap due to being non union, and told to get out of New Jersey. They left, and from what I heard when they got back, they mostly said that they didn't care if those people ever got power back. Some of the stories they told me about the union goons up there in New Jersey were pretty interesting. They won't ever go back up there again.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • BAMAAKBAMAAK Senior Member Posts: 4,484 Senior Member
    You are right. Neither does most of the population, When the transmission lines go down where there are these things called "hills" that are covered in things we call "trees" you cant just drive over and re string them.

    Tornado area, 11 towers, all hands effort, 4 weeks best guess, and you can drive to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9N2IF0VRVk

    Guess you have never been to the south, we have lots of mtns, the Appalachians start right here in N. Alabama, ever heard of the Smokies? Bigger than anything in PA. Ask TennMike how much flat land is around him. Trees? We got trees, lots of em, those are the things that fly through the air at a couple hundred miles per hour in a tornado. We had the transmission lines down at the Guntersville hydro plant in 2011 from that big outbreak of tornados. Miles and miles of lines and towers twisted like erector sets. 500,000 + w/o power. Power was back in a week.
    "He only earns his freedom and his life Who takes them every day by storm."

    -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and politician
  • NomadacNomadac Senior Member Central IndianaPosts: 902 Senior Member
    Transformers Expose Limits in Securing Power Grid article: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304071004579409631825984744?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304071004579409631825984744.html

    Only a handful of companies build transformers in the U.S., and it can take weeks or months to ship transformers in from overseas. The manufacturing process itself can last more than a year, in part because a transformer can't be bought off the shelf but rather must be made to measure for its substation.

    A 2012 report by the National Research Council, written for the Department of Homeland Security, said that the "greatest vulnerability in the event of a terrorist physical attack on the power system will likely be securing needed replacements of high-voltage transformers." It said restoring power "could take weeks, months, or even longer."

    If attackers damaged enough of the nation's 2,000 biggest transformers at critical locations, they could cause extended blackouts.
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Western PAPosts: 8,233 Senior Member
    BAMAAK wrote: »
    Guess you have never been to the south, we have lots of mtns, the Appalachians start right here in N. Alabama, ever heard of the Smokies? Bigger than anything in PA. Ask TennMike how much flat land is around him. Trees? We got trees, lots of em, those are the things that fly through the air at a couple hundred miles per hour in a tornado. We had the transmission lines down at the Guntersville hydro plant in 2011 from that big outbreak of tornados. Miles and miles of lines and towers twisted like erector sets. 500,000 + w/o power. Power was back in a week.
    Power was rerouted in a week, repairs were not completed for a long time after. Yes I have been in the south, lived there for a while, and hate to break it to you but we get tornados and microbursts here. Again, its a nationwide effort to even band aid and the utility companies dont have many in house line crews. Its a simple formula of X number of crews vs Y number of troubles. Considering the time it takes to get one area corrected, the coordination could be "Watch the national news, when something happens go."
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 22,429 Senior Member
    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.

    Too many politicians, such as our illustrious Prez, more worried about figuring out how to take our guns and Constitution away. They can't be bothered by insignificant important stuff like this!
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • mohicanmohican Member Posts: 381 Member
    snake284 wrote: »
    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:

    Three meals away from revolution or societal collapse?
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Under a logPosts: 27,457 Senior Member
    Alpha, just so you know, it only takes attacks on 5 transmission nodes in the U.S. to bring the entire grid crashing down. And if those nodes are properly destroyed, power would end up being a long time coming back.

    Already told you that taking out only one phase of the high voltage transmission lines on each outgoing output will put the power plant in the dirt. And as soon as that is repaired, it's a simple thing to take down the line at another location. With that going on, a power plant could be indefinitely kept off line. Fixing the downed line is relatively easy; doing the inspection and testing at the plant on equipment after a phase-to-ground incident takes more than a day. Transformer protection systems are extremely complicated affairs that don't play well with extreme current from phase-to-ground incidents even though the current only flows for 2-3 cycles of the 60 cycle per second system. And everything from the main generator to the circuit breakers in the switchyard connecting to the grid have to be tested. And those circuit breakers in the switchyard are not even close to resembling circuit breakers most folks are familiar with.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • remmagremmag Member Western OregonPosts: 92 Member
    I think in the event of nuclear strike, the EMF pulse will be the least of our worries, and no one can even remotely prepare for something like that. Maybe practice kissing your backside goodbye.
  • remmagremmag Member Western OregonPosts: 92 Member
    or one bite of mutton stuck in the throat, therefore one breath away from death.
    mohican wrote: »
    Three meals away from revolution or societal collapse?
  • Vic's ViewpointVic's Viewpoint Senior Member Silver Spring, MD 20906Posts: 1,221 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    "If it wasn't for Thomas Edison, we would all be sitting around watching television by candlelight!"
    Dave Gardner 1959

    :jester:
    Jerry

    OMG! Jerry, you just dated yourself, big time! Brother Dave Gardner! Long a personal hero of mine, I often amuse myself by wondering what the effect would be if a Dave Gardner clone were to show up these days! What a free-for-all he would cause. To this day I find myself mimicking his gift of mimickry and gleeful mockery, and occasionally I get myself in trouble doing it! But, being the anarchist I truly am, to me it's worth it! Hey, [bleep] 'em if they can't take a joke. Every time I try to fix something around the house up here, I end up saying to myself, "You know you doesn't know nuthin' bout machinery!" as I try to replace a worn out toilet seat, or something equally stupid. He died unexpectedly while I was overseas, or I swear I would have gone to his funeral.
    Member formerly known as "vlafrank."
  • mohicanmohican Member Posts: 381 Member
    originally Posted by BAMAAK View Post
    .......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.

    New Orleans - Hurricane Katrina, 2005. How short are peoples memories, anyhoo?
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