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Northeast rolling blackouts firsthand.

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by fortunateson, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Last week, we were in New York visiting family.
    It was HOT. Close to or over 100 deg. most days and that's unusual up there.
    We were staying at a family member's summer cottage and on Saturday afternoon, the power went out at about 2PM. It didn't come back until about 10PM that night. Only one block was affected, but from what I understood, other blocks had gotten hit on other days.

    Some observations:

    1. This is the first time in a while that I was in that type of situation without my usual preps. Our vehicle had a Get Home Bag in it so I had a candle and flashlight among other things. I also had an inverter. Homeowners had nothing but an old flashlight barely running. Everything was run on electric.
    BAD news. You're basically helpless.
    I think most folks are unprepped in this way and it will make for a very bad situation when the power goes out long term.

    2. Most folks, if they have a house phone have a cordless. These DO NOT work in a blackout! If you haven't thought about that in a while, go out and get a $10 corded phone, while they're still being made. If you're house phone is run over IP, you're SOL without backup power.

    3. When I called the power company, they listed all the towns that had power interruptions. Now keep in mind that what they call "towns" are really sections of the same suburban grid that might cover at most, a 3 x 3 mile area. There were 34 towns with power interruptions!

    4. The power company came and made one failed attempt to get things running. They returned with some major equipment and began working on the transformer that feeds the block. IMO, they upgraded service on the fly. Here's why I think that: In that area, most folks had window air units 15 years ago. 25 years ago, they were running fans. This is the Northeast, where you can get by without AC. Now, everyone has upgraded to central AC, big refrigerators, plasma TVs, etc.

    In general, this problem is an example of the type of insufficient capacity that is typical in many systems in 2010 and IMO will cause a domino effect when TSHTF.
  2. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Adventure Riding Monkey Founding Member

    That is much of the problem - aging and insufficient grid infrastructure for the big boom in 'home conveniences'. Very convenient - TIL the power is gone!
    My house is 'all-electric' too - but I have plenty of alternate means of cooking, heating and providing light. Once I can get a Genny and a solar/battery system, I'll be able to use the 'puter and run the fridge enough to keep the food from spoiling.
    My old phone needed wall power to run, though it was a 'corded' phone. It went belly-up, and I replaced it with one using internal battery for it's memory functions, and can work in a blackout. Cell phones are useful, but in a real emergency the system will be overloaded by frantic callers - you may not get through! "Texting" is said to be more reliable, as it sends in short packets, not a long call. Better chance of getting through to loved ones.
    Luckily, I live within sight of the main power plant here - as long as the plant is working, I have power - I am on 'the main leg'......
  3. Detentus

    Detentus Monkey+

    Forturnate Son, I live in central MA and we did have some very hot days recently but no blackouts. You are correct, though, that most in this area(Northeast) are woefully unprepared. We had a terrible ice storm the winter before last and very few people had generators. Some areas were without power for close to a month due to downed lines from ice laden trees. We had a generator at the time and weren't without power for more than an hour, even without it.
    That said, we have 2 generators, one of which can power the entire house. We had it hooked up to a panel in the house, so we just plug it in an flip a lever.
    In this area we tend to lose power during the winter if we have a storm.
  4. ISplatU

    ISplatU Monkey+

    Yes, when the power goes out most of us will be screwed. I did just buy a 4000 watt generator for just that type of thing.

    This reminds me of a great email I read about an EMP blast which even a generator will not help. I think I will start a new thread about that email.
  5. BRONZ

    BRONZ Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I had a good friend tell me just last week they lost power and she was worried about her two freezers food of food. She lost most of it. When I told her you dont have a gen, she just shrugged.
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I don't have a freezer yet, but it's on the list now that the gennie is getting set up to power the critical circuits without extension cords. Losing a freezer full after gradually building up the stores would hurt the cash flow rather more than a little bit. We DO lose power up here now and then; worst so far was 12 hours. That cost the reefer full.
  7. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    That's also true of highway infrastructure and fuel infrastructure.
    When I was a kid, most families had 1 car. Now they have 3.
    People took mass transit to work, now they drive 60 miles each way.
    Little wonder refineries are maxed out and roads are clogged.

    A couple of natural disasters and everything will fall like dominoes. Get ready.
  8. Detentus

    Detentus Monkey+

    The good part of losing power in the winter is that you can always keep your food outside if it's cold enough or pack it into coolers. We wouldn't function without a generator. Losing a freezer full of food costs.
  9. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    I stock up on dried goods and natural canned meats with no preservatives. Not the very best choice, but it works. Nothing else screams "I have a freeezer!" like a generator.
  10. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    That's true.
    It's ok to run one when you expect power interruptions to be short lived, but with anything long term, you need to eat that frozen stuff first. Then go with dried/canned and keep a low profile in case things get nasty.
  11. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    All the preparations I do are with thought that there will be no more electricity, so I will stock things that do not need refrigeration...and hand tools...can you imagine how a generator woud sound in quiet city? Not exactly a low profile...
  12. Detentus

    Detentus Monkey+

    I also have canned and dried food, an ample supply, so yes, the refrigerated food would have to go first. We don't live in the city and I suspect that my neighbors all have generators, in fact I know they do. Generators can also be used for the short term(off and on) to pump well water.
  13. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    True...at my small holiday house i have a well with electric pump, and hand pump next to it... :)
  14. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Talk about a comedy of errors.
    I can just see some prepped family sitting down for dinner with a Genny screaming outside while emaciated neighbors surround the house in the dark with pitchforks in hand...
  15. bnmb

    bnmb On Hiatus Banned

    ROFLMAO!...My point exactly! :D
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