We have a coal fired power plant about 20 miles away. Maybe, they would let us run extension cords all over the place. It would suck to be in a tall building without elevators. I don't feel that the average citizen can prepare for that long -- maybe a few weeks, but that's about it.

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Certianly not prepared. Have begun learning how to garden for vegtables and medicinal herbs. Did my fist canning last year! I am however, also adding solar panels in spring for electric and hot H20. Stocking up dry beans, rice, books and canned goods. In spring going to take and archery class and polish up my marksmanship. Once the grid goes down the s**t is really going to hit the fan. If the US does loose all electrical capacity for 4 years or more, I anticipate it will be really, really BAD. Visiting some living history museums might bring an accurate picture to mind.

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I have a whole generator, which runs on natural gas and comes on automatically whenever the electricity goes out. Natural gas pumping stations use some of their gas to produce their own electricity, and most of the engines driving the gas booster pumps use natural gas. This makes them self-sustaining. My family would have electricity.<br />
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But to answer your question as the population as a whole, many parts of the US would only be without power for a matter of days. While it is not as simple as throwing a switch, any power generating station can be removed from the grid and be allowed to serve only the general population that the plant is located. The general purpose of the grid is to allow for electricity to keep flowing to homes and businesses, even if the power plant near them goes down for routine maintenance.

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Realistically? Well, I think there are millions of people in the US who have emotional investments in technology and television. And if the power went out for that long of time, you'd probably see suicides, riots, looting, total and complete breakdown of productive society, murders, rapes, mass exoduses into Canada, people living in the woods... Fringe groups like the KKK acting out with no one to stop them, violence, shootings... If there was a problem that knocked out the electricity in an entire country, I don't think it would simply stop there. It would probably be at least an entire eastern hemisphere epidemic. And it would be the beginning of the end of life as we know it. I'd say life would a little something like "The Road" b Cormac McCarthy. With maybe a touch of "Mad Max".

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My folks were hippie people so I spent a good part of my childhood with no electricity, but if we became that weak technologically, we would be taken and partitioned to Russia and China. Hopefully their grid will be out too!!

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If the grid went down for 4 years, then something is terribly wrong in the US and I'm glad I'm not there to feel the need to consider it.<br />
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~F~

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...Why 4 years exactly? Are you planning something?

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