What Would Happen If The Electric Grid Failed Tomorrow?

Energy Crisis's.

They do happen. Sometimes they are very small -- like when a major thunderstorm knocks out a couple power lines around town and a few thousand people are without power for a few days. Sometimes they are very long -- like the energy crisis that struck during the 1970's and there were huge gas lines, rationing and shortages. Sometimes they are natural and sometimes they are man-made.

Collapse is a film that makes a very compelling case that we are entering into the very beginning stages of a natural resource crisis. Oil is becoming harder and harder to find and much more difficult to extract.

The problem: our entire economy is dependent on cheap oil. If the price of oil goes up even 20 percent our nation would be looking at a economic collapse in the short term and a energy collapse in the long term.

Our entire way of life -- our suburbs and our car culture -- is all built around one simple idea: that cheap oil is an infinite resource that will never be exhausted and it will also be dirt cheap. Of course, oil is not infinite and it is running out. As oil becomes more expensive to extract, it becomes more expensive to sell. And when the price starts to rise everything else in America -- which is built on the idea of infinite/cheap oil -- starts to fall apart.

If gasoline increases up to $7, $8, $12 a gallon....could you afford to keep commuting 50 miles to work round trip?

How would that huge increase in fuel costs impact your grocery costs? Since no one in suburbia grows their own food, it must be shipped in. If fuel costs shoot up to $10 a gallon, how much will that increase your food costs?

All agriculture is dependent on oil/petroleum for fertilization. So just buying fertilizer to grow the costs will add to the price of food -- now add to the freight costs on top of that and by the time it reaches your grocery store (which costs you $20 in gas to drive to) you're shelling out $12.50 for a loaf of bread and $8 for a carton of eggs.

Question: how long could you survive on your current salary if food prices increased 200-300 percent?

Question: how long could you survive if food costs increase 200 percent every single year as the energy crisis continued to worsen?

Question: if you couldn't afford to put gas in your car, how the hell would you get to work? The bus is cheaper, but not by much at this point in the oil-crisis and it's also overloaded as everyone in suburbia desperately tries to find a way to adapt to a post-automobile lifestyle in a country that has ZERO infrastructure for non-automotive living.

Question: if a worsening energy crisis made buying shipped-in-food impossible, do you have the skill and resources (and land!) to actually grow your own? Enough to survive on?

Let's assume a different scenario -- let's forget peak oil doomsday scenarios for a moment and shift our attention to solar flares. Our electrical grid is extremely vulnerable to solar flares. Basically the problem is that our electrical grid is a little overloaded, a little out-dated and not grounded. A solar flare would overload all of our electrical transformers and -- poof! -- the electrical grid would be destroyed. Oh, granted the entire thing could be repaired once we replaced every single transformer....which would only take about 10 or 12 years. (because it takes a long time to BUILD the damn things and it would be extremely slow trying to replace them all in a nation without electricity. Kind of slows up the process.)

If the electrical grid simply shut down tomorrow because of a solar flare -- could you survive?

What would you do if there was no electricity? No juice to keep the refrigerator running to keep the food. No juice to run the TV set or the radio or the cell phone towers (think your smartphone downloads slowly now? Wait till you get zero bars because there is no juice to power the cell towers) -- so you have absolutely no way of contacting the outside world or for government rescue services to contact you. Wherever you are when the crisis hits is basically where you're stuck.

What would you do?

Would you be able to survive a year or more if there was absolutely no electricity in the United States of America?

What's fascinating to me is that 90 short years ago...few people would even notice if the electrical grid died. Everyone lived on small farms or in cities with little to no electrical gadgets. Everyone walked to work or rode a horse.

In 2010? We would pretty much all die if the juice was turned off.

Could half the people living in the extreme deserts of Tucson Arizona survive without electricity?

Could half the people living in the frozen Northern states survive the winter without electricity?

Could half the people trapped in the suburbs survive for a whole year without electricity?
niceguyinhell niceguyinhell
31-35, M
9 Responses Aug 3, 2010

Forget food salvage the internet. We've all seen south park

oops ...
lots of battery powered stuff in case the generator failed. Then id have lots of supplies aswell, like a whole cupboard full of tinned food only to be opened in an emergency. And id have a fire for warmth. And id have a water tank that collects water and i could boil it.
Ill be the only survivor :o

scary thoughts.
ive just watched the program blackout on ch4 and it told me that youd do anything for basic needs. You would loot, take risks you never thought you would - including taking a young child in a car with an ex criminal to get to an elderly woman trapped in her flat with no supplies, there would be more accidents - hospitals would be overloaded and if there power cut out hundreds would be killed, and people would resort to murder so there family can survive.
Not fun. All morals would go and we'd all become savages. Put short we'd be screwed.
Thats why im gonna go live in the country where i can grow my own crops and make sure i have my own generator and lots of battery poweted

Well, I'm about 13 years old, and I have been teaching myself and others the arts of subsistence farming and small time crafts (knives, rope, hoes, shovels, etc.). I myself am worried that if, and when, there is an energy crises that there will be widespread famine, disease, and total anarchy. But, if society does come to that, I guess the only way to go would be small time subsistence agriculture. Imagine the average American family consuming over 200 pounds of meat a year, going to a few bites of grain and meat every day.

As an aside, I just got back from India, where I spent the majority of the time in Ladakh, a place that has been looked at because of the sustainability practices ingrained into their way of life. I was amazed at how many solar panels I saw at remote villages (not accessible by road, only by footpath). These villages were incredibly poor and without other modern technology. It really stood out, and I wondered if they all pitched in together, or if the government gave subsidies (hard to imagine in India, frankly).

I think you make a good point Eve regarding costs, but that's only because most of us have already bought into a system.<br />
<br />
How much does a normal house cost: $250,000 - $300,000<br />
<br />
How much does a normal gas powered car cost: $10,000<br />
<br />
The problem is that when most of us start our lives....we immediately start off getting a huge mortgage and a huge car payment and the rest of our lives are spent making payments to the bank.<br />
<br />
The next generation needs to start of thinking differently. You can build a geodesic dome house for only $50,000. And a solar/battery array costs $13,000 total.<br />
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I agree that the way the system is setup right now...99 percent of us sell our souls to the banks and the car creditors before we turn 23. The rest of our life is just spent making payments on wildly overpriced items like our house and car and most of us will go our entire lives without ever actually owning either outright.<br />
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But if we can teach the next generation to NOT buy traditional $250,000 houses and NOT buy $15,000 cars....then they can avoid the financial prison the rest of us have fallen into.<br />
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My advice to anyone who is 16 -- DO NOT BUY A TRADITIONAL HOUSE! You will spend the rest of our life making payments to the bank. Your life will be reduced to just working and making payments for shelter. Live with your payments or rent a studio apt and save up $50,000 and buy a pre-fab house instead. Buy a used car and convert it to electric or convert it to bio-diesel. Invest in solar panels.<br />
<br />
Because when the next energy crisis hits and you have an electric car YOU will still be able to drive long distance while the rest of us will be stuck with cars that can't go anywhere.

you can build your own<br />
arc of the covenant for<br />
3 grand, gives you<br />
alll the energy you need<br />
like the car that<br />
entered the 500 indy<br />
powered by seawater<br />
<br />
wouldnt you like to<br />
go to the sea<br />
and fioll your car up<br />
certainly?<br />
<br />
and I like MIke Ruppert<br />
but he buys something<br />
i really do not that<br />
oil is a fossil fuel<br />
which poo poo's peak oil<br />
as another scam to<br />
get more for their oil<br />
<br />
peace x

With the price of solar panels, wind mills, etc., going "off-grid" is out of reach for many folks. We need to think "both/and" not "either/or" in addressing our need to shift our way of life in response to dwindling oil resources and dire ecological concerns. I am encouraged that there is a company like mentioned above. We need to come at this problem from many sides.

Well, that is good news to be sure....but a far better solution would be if individuals were responsible for producing their own energy.<br />
<br />
Is it far better to have everyone using their OWN solar panel/battery system and not relying on a centeralized power company.<br />
<br />
I think industries with large power needs obviously need and should utilize power plants, but the average American should be more self-sufficient. We need to radically decentralize our power structure and our food infrastructure.<br />
<br />
We should be producing our own energy and growing at least a portion of out own food locally.<br />
<br />
If each of us has a reasonable food garden and a solar array/battery system -- it wouldn't matter if there was a solar flare, a terrorist attack or a oil crisis. We would all be self-sufficient.