Talking about losing our electrical grid can get you some pretty cynical stares. Folks seem to think you have watched too many Mad Max movies. In reality, we have already experienced some significant stressors on our electrical grid. I learned about 2 of them in Ted Koppel’s book, Lights Out.
- In August, 2003, a sagging high voltage power line in Ohio, brushed against some overgrown trees. This was suppose to trip an alarm, but didn’t. Three other lines failed the same way. As the surrounding grid took on more current from the failed lines, the overburdened lines fell like dominoes. Within 90 minutes, the largest blackout in North America occurred affecting 50 million people for 2 days. The repairs alone, cost 6 Billion dollars. Yes, that’s billions with a “B”!
- In April, 2013, several saboteurs attacked a electrical substation south of San Jose California, knocking out 17 giant transformers within 19 minutes. This was not done by a bunch of drunk guys from the local bar. Only key components were targeted and AK casings left behind were fingerprint free. The area around the substation had clear signs that it had been scouted out. A blackout was avoided by rerouting power from other areas, but still took 27 days to get the substation back online. The head of the Federal Energy Commission at the time concluded that if just 9 of the most critical substations were attacked simultaneously. it could cause a blackout over most of the U.S. And this does not include a potential EMP attack.
Stay tuned for part 3 from the book Lights Out on some reasons why we are so vulnerable.