On Nov. 13-14, America’s major electricity generating companies along with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and government agencies in Canada and Mexico will conduct a drill to test system responses to cyberattacks and physical attacks on the North American electrical grid that cause its widespread failure.
The drill is called GridEx II, and it moves the threat of a total electrical blackout that sends the country back into the 19th century from the stuff of science fiction and/or tinfoil hattery to the mainstream. According to The New York Times, the drill is designed to:
practice for a crisis unlike anything the real grid has ever seen, and more than 150 companies and organizations have signed up to participate.
“This is different from a hurricane that hits X, Y and Z counties in the Southeast and they have a loss of power for three or four days,” said the official in charge of the drill, Brian M. Harrell of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, known as NERC. “We really want to go beyond that.”
One goal of the drill… is to explore how governments would react as the loss of the grid crippled the supply chain for everyday necessities.
Should the grid collapse, those with medical conditions requiring machines to keep them alive or stable could be in trouble quickly, but most people could easily survive without power for two or three days. It’s not unusual for major storms to knock out power for that long. But longer-term power outages turn into desperate situations as water and food run low and/or generators run out of fuel. Google Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy to see how some people fared during long-term localized outages.
A nationwide outage would quickly become catastrophic. Communications would be down; water and sewer wouldn’t function; the supply chain would stop, causing grocery shelves to be rendered bare within hours; and the banking system would crash. Government services, often overwhelmed with localized outages, would be completely inadequate.
Within days, the weak and infirm would be dead from dehydration. Those living hand-to-mouth or subsisting on government handouts would become desperate, and rioting and looting would become rampant. Look to recent food stamp riots and headlines following Black Friday shopping madness incidents for a look at how quickly people turn into animals when they feel they are being deprived or unfairly treated over even the most trivial of things.
If the grid stays down for weeks or longer, civilization as we understand it will break down completely as more people become thirsty, hungry and increasingly desperate.
Government functionaries and electric company talking heads have said for many years that the electrical grid is vulnerable to terrorist attack. One of the GridEx II scenarios has a person breaking into a substation as if to steal copper but instead uploading a virus that shuts down the system. But the grid is also in danger from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon attack or even solar flares.
Experts say a Carrington-class major solar flare event would fry the entire electrical grid. A Carrington-class ejection is a reference to the 1859 EMP that melted telegraph lines in Europe and North America.
I have been writing about the need for preparedness for years. My advice continues to be that everyone have at a bare minimum three days of food and water on hand. But even better, everyone should have a three months’ supply. For instructions on how to accomplish that, go here or buy my book, How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization.
In addition to food and water, guns and ammunition, alternative sources for heating and cooking, personal hygiene items, food for pets, junk silver (pre-1965 U.S. dimes, quarters, half dollars and dollars) and gold are necessities.
The GridEx II drill has many in the prepper world atwitter. They see the drill as a dangerous opportunity/excuse for the grid to crash and martial law to be established. The angst is fueled by the fact that major events (9/11, Sandy Hook, Boston Marathon bombing, etc.) have historically coincided with government agencies conducting drills simulating the actual events. Combine that with the National Geographic Channel’s recent airing of “American Blackout” and it makes for a perfect storm of propaganda meets excuse.
Note from the Editor: Round two of the financial meltdown is predicted to reach global proportions, already adversely affecting Greece, Spain and most of Europe. It appears less severe in the states because our banks are printing useless fiat currency. I’ve arranged for readers to get two free books—Surviving a Global financial Crisis and Currency Collapse, plus How to Survive the Collapse of Civilization—to help you prepare for the worst. Click here for your free copies.