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Power Loss - the keystone to the collapse of society

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posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:37 PM
I was reading a zombie book and there was a great passage...

Good citizens realized that the lines that had shaped their lives were imaginary and easily crossed. They had wants and needs and the power to satisfy them, so they did. The moment the lights went out, everyone stopped pretending.
- Warm Bodies

It got me thinking (that and the series Revolution)...that no matter the base cause (a natural disaster, collapse of the system, war, etc.), the real keystone to our whole house of cards is the power grid. Without power, we lose EVERYTHING else.

Just think of past disasters...and how quickly (commensurate with the duration of power loss), everything just went into chaos. Katrina was a good example.

To those who think preppers are delusional, I think they should consider just how fragile our society really is. Our good behavior is largely due to fear of being punished for wrongdoing. Without power, the ability to enforce goes out the window (no command and control), and it is rather scary how fast we all turn to our more base instincts of survival.

In an individual home, losing power is an inconvenience, in a city, it is the near complete absence of law and order, once the sun sets. Now imagine even a few days of outage in a metropolitan center...pure chaos.

Immediately, stores will close, gas stations will close, no access to money in banks, hospitals will suffer. Even those facilities on generators can't hold on for too long, and will be more in a conserve mode, than wanting to open up. Grocery stores, for example, will have power to keep their goods from spoiling, but credit card machines, POS systems, etc. won't be functional (com lines down).

This one SHTF event (multiple day power outage) is actually a pretty realistic event, that could result from a number of my area, a really bad hurricane is certainly one of the prime possible causes...even if it just affects the area of the power plant.

This very thing has caused me to rethink a few things....

1) I have a lot of fencing, and it is rigged for electric. However, there are solar options, so I'm going to this for the fences as soon as I can do so. Sure, an electric fence won't stop anyone, but it will make them make some noise, so I know where to shoot.

2) A power outage is likely not to last too, too long, even in the country, but I think I want to have some solar-powered lights to let any potential bad guys know I'll be able to see them, and a generator for enough power for the well and fridge. I have a few such solar lights already, but I want to put in some more flood type ones.

3) Normally, we run a business on the ranch, so I don't want to scare away customers normally, but it might be a good idea to have some very scary warning signs available, to put up on the fences, in the event of such an outage. They can always be taken down again. Mostly signs about the dogs and being shot.

Obviously, there are many other measures to consider, just as part of the normal SHTF type planning, etc. (like food, water storage, etc.), but the above 3 represent additions to existing plans, from just considering this type of problem. Granted, there may be many associated problems from any given SHTF scenario...but the power outage for days is one that gives me the most pause...

Not for what it would mean for most, an inconvenience....but for what it would do to society, at least for a short duration, and what that could mean for our safety.

It's funny, my two medium dogs aren't that scary (one's a boxer/pitt the other a lab/chow), but they can really sense when someone is up to no good. Normally, they are well behaved, but if a stranger is over, I make sure the dogs are up somewhere, until I know how they will react. The other 4 (chihuahuas) are really just more for alarm than anything else. They have great hearing, and can sense someone coming up the drive, letting us know before anyone gets there (though at night, they sleep like the dead, hehe...)
edit on 14-3-2013 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:42 PM
reply to post by Gazrok

Perhaps the blackout of 2003 was a dry run. Perhaps we should expect another, larger country-wide event for this year. Maybe this month. March is full of secrets...

Northeast blackout of 2003

edit on 3/14/2013 by this_is_who_we_are because: linky

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:46 PM
The power being out for a few years doesn't have to be a bad thing. It won't be out everywhere like on the story Revolution. Maybe people will enjoy it being out after they get used to it, getting back to nature isn't that hard. So we have to walk all over or take bikes. I don't think it is anything to fear, panicking and civil unrest don't have to happen. If someone tries to rob you, shoot them in the head. They won't return to hound you again. Be armed and level headed, don't waste your ammo and don't get crazy. We will all be in it together.....getting rid of the bad people that would rather steal than work for their food will be necessary.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:48 PM
Like the avatar, Gazrok.

How long of an electric fence are you running? Admittedly I don't have much experience with electric fences other than the one we used to keep our pig in the yard but I imagine running an electrified fence in an off-grid situation would require an inordinate amount of battery power. That leaves you with generators that would require fuel and maintenance I suppose you might be able to run it on dedicated panels but you'd still be left with an unenergized fence at night.

Most people are not equipped either materially or mentally to deal without electricity in the long term. Loss of refrigeration is worse, as it will severely hamper the efforts to maintain precious food in a collapse. Make no mistake about it, if you're sitting on a full ammo can in front of a well-stocked pantry, you're literally a millionaire in that type of situation. Your stuff will be sought after by those who lack that same stuff.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:51 PM
I was also going to mention the 2003 blackout.

You think going out in the dark in a city's is safe now? Imagine it with no light places at all.....

yeap, total chaos in a matter of a day, even half a day.

Im actually very worried about this, the 2003 blackout was only a software fault, not anything super serious that required days or weeks of hard work (half in the dark too). Imagine if something overloaded all the power lines, power plants heck even enough substations. You have a very serious problem

They say 3 days without food or water and people will basically run out and start getting desperate, you take out the power thats all frozen and refrigerated products gone within days. Medial problems with hospitals and blood banks losing power. The list of things that will go completely wrong FAST is huge.

We spend thousands of years getting more reliant on our technology and the means to power it, all that could be undone so quickly without it.

Think zombies are frighting, imagine a healthy desperate and hungry human coming for you, they dont just bite.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:54 PM
Yes I believe you to be right in your asumptions.

My family and I live back in the woods in a family compound.
They would survive without power.

I would probably live 3 days tops without power to operate the machines that keep me alive.

My problem is do I go off into the woods or out to sea in my boat or do I take my life at home with my family.

We have some solor power on the property but if I want to survive I am going to have to invest a fair amount of money in a solar system.

Each house has a generator but the supply of gas will run out fairly soon.

Thank you so much for bringing this issue to the front of my mind as I wish to live as long as is possible.
I had been trying to ignore it but it is time to take action.

Thanks again,

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:54 PM
reply to post by rickymouse

Well, your optimism is nice to see. To interject a couple points of rather startling reality though. Without electricity, a % of the population will be dead inside 30 days. A much higher %, within 60. Why? If the grid is down, no hospital or drug production facility is designed to run on backup power for any REAL length of time. Sandy saw a hard lesson with that in New York City. How many people die without Rx insulin, as the most benign of the life support medications currently in common use? That takes a fridge ...and of course, a massive infrastructure to produce more after all that's been disrupted.

Sitting here thinking...even things taken for granted like Dental care would be a historic footnote if such a thing went on for a long term event like a higher level repeat of 1859 and the Carrington Event. How many dentists have you met that you'd trust to do anything in your mouth by hand and without any power instruments to use? Errrr... No. Oh..and some of their Rx is fridge base too.

I think for sheer necessity of preserving existing lives, the power grid is something they ought to protect as an absolute priority...and if we lose it? Hang on for a hell of a ride, in a literal sense ..for at least 30-90 days, until the most immediate desperation no one can help has passed.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:56 PM
reply to post by netwarrior

I think most have an unrealistic idea of an electric fence. I'm not talking about the movies, where an entire fence is electrified, frying someone to death. This is a single wire that runs along the inside to prevent animals from messing with the fence, like horses and cows. However, it will give you a good jolt, enough to make you shout "Ow!" if you aren't expecting it... Many ranchers use solar power for these fences without a problem, as it really isn't a large jolt.

I'm on 5 and half acres, but have a lot of fencing and divisions, as we split up the pasture space to separate horses. From just about any point on the perimeter, you'd have to get through at least two 4' to 6' (depending on location) fences to reach the house, in some places, three. From the front (roadside), you'd have to first go over 8' of fencing (keeps idiots on the road from being able to throw anything at the horses).

Not all of it is currently electrified (which is gradually changing), and my horses are pretty good, so I don't always have it on. In a scenario though, we'd keep it on of course. My current fence supply units will support all the wiring I need, just need to get around to running it all.

I suppose you might be able to run it on dedicated panels but you'd still be left with an unenergized fence at night.

You could store it in batteries and use an inverter to power it at night.

edit on 14-3-2013 by Gazrok because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 02:57 PM
reply to post by dizziedame

Dizzie, what are you trying to run? I'm reasonably sure someone here (waves hand) can figure out how to run whatever you have. PM me if interested. Its not hard to run small appliances.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:00 PM
In a long term power loss you'll see a reversion to more renewable sources so people will make their own black powder or use arrows to hunt and the value of cartridge ammo will go through the roof as it becomes much scarcer but

And even solar panels have a life span and inverters to convert from DC to AC have even shorter expected lifespan so the longer you plan ahead the less you need to depend on the ability to generate electricity from one source and in a cold dark night your lights are going to say here be well prepared people and its going to cause a lot of interest from people who'd like to know what you got stashed

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:01 PM
reply to post by Gazrok

Yeah, I grazed up against the one we had for Beavis (yes that was his name) more than once. It sucks but not lethal. Get a Kill-a-watt to see how much juice the box is using. Once you have some numbers you can see how big of an inverter you'll need, how much battery you'll need, and how much photovoltaic area/what type of panel.

edit on 14-3-2013 by netwarrior because: stray emoticon

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:03 PM
reply to post by Maxatoria

That's why the security lights can be put to motion detection you aren't broadcasting you have power, but at the same time, you light up any intruder....or cat...(damn stable cats are always making those things go off, hehe...)

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:08 PM
reply to post by Gazrok

It might not be as big an issue with your layout and size of your property. But, security for the generator while its running is also an issue worth considering.

When the hurricanes blew through here in '04 I met more than one person who had their generator stolen. Often it seemed to be a very quick process. The thieves would drive around and listen for a running generator (they really sound loud when everything is so quite due to no power) or a house with lights (again, sticks out during an outage).

Then they would just pull in the drive, grab the generator (often still running) toss it in the back of the pickup and they were gone.

Having power while others don't can give you an advantage. It can also make you a target..

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:10 PM
If the power goes out, there goes your water and sewer services.

That would create a huge problem.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:12 PM
reply to post by Wrabbit2000

If the power went out, dental care would be the least of my worries. Maybe some people would worry about their teeth but not me, we don't need teeth to live. The electrical grid is a lot more secure than it used to be. They have made some changes over the last few years to protect it country wide. People around here will be mostly level headed. People have to work together to keep things in order. The polarized condition of our country is going to cause a problem. The people who are presently running things need to be taken out of control sometimes to make a community system work. Send these control freaks packing.

Our ancestors did not need big hospitals with all the technology to survive. We are here today because they knew what to do. Study the natural medicines, the base of most medicines that we have today.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:19 PM
reply to post by Gazrok

I have always postulated that one of the only ways that the populace would embrace troops in the streets and a total collapse of the Constitution would be for the government to cut power for a few weeks then offer to bring it back.

No offense, but Stella should have killed you in your sleep.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:20 PM
People need to look up the genverter system it is simple and can be built on the cheap.

What it is?

Basic battery bank recharged by a generator when a person runs their bank down to 60% only 40% has to be recharged.

At a rate of 10% an hour to be fully recharged should take around 4 or 5 hours to fully recharge the bank back to total capacity.

Which means a genset is not running 24 hours it is only running for 5 which means reduced fuel consumption.


30kw genset at a fuel consumption rate at 1.6 gallons per hour full run time 5 hours 8 gallons for that day.

30 days times 8 gallons 240 gallons of course if that was stockpiled.

Obviously smaller gensets have a reduced rate of fuel consumption.

The solar option can easily augment and extend fuel reserves, and can be used for additional power needs (electric fence). etc.

Additional wind can also be integrated, the solar array can be sized just enough to charge that 40% of energy usaged that could save money.

Recently looked at Rolls lead acid batteries expensive but have a great reputation with recombinate caps less watering is needed.

I thought Agm was the way to go but it depends on what type of installation one is doing they say lead acid batteries can last between 10 and 20 years if properly maintained.

For most people power is a necessity, but they are too dependent upon the grid and they do go off the deep end when their "creature comforts" are gone.
edit on 14-3-2013 by neo96 because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:22 PM
reply to post by Frogs

More than one lowlife tried to grab ours during Katrina, but it was being watched at all times. Dampening the noise of my generator will be priority one.

Right after I buy the land.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:47 PM
reply to post by rickymouse

Oh I know things like dental care seem a small and minor issue. In other nations that flat don't have the services, they accommodate in other ways and it isn't such a big deal. In our culture where almost everything edible is quite literally corrosive as well? It's a basic matter of hygiene very quickly and hygiene leads to infection. Infection less than a foot from the brain, and internal (can't cut it off)

and ...uh oh ... Those antibiotics aren't around to get either. We're back to the days of an infection carrying lethal outcomes as a serious thing to consider, almost immediately. The bad thing is though, in a real SHTF, I think infection related deaths start long before people even do give full weight to the importance of hygiene. Just making soap ... ask people you know. I'll bet not a full 1 in 10 knows how from scratch. I'll bet those who do know anything about how, describe at least one thing requiring store supplies of some sort. (No soap for them)

It's amazing to stop and think how many little things combine to make life as we know it on a day to day basis. Removing power does lead to SO much else crashing and so much of that wouldn't even be noticed right away. it would take weeks or more to even begin to think about some of what simply wasn't there anymore, IMO.

posted on Mar, 14 2013 @ 03:53 PM
reply to post by Gazrok

the real keystone to our whole house of cards is the power grid. Without power, we lose EVERYTHING else.

I believe this is true, and because of this we have officially become slaves to electricity.

There was a time when survival was an effort, not a given. Now, thanks to the convenience of modern technology, people can easily over-indulge in everything: food, sex, violence, entertainment, travel, corruption, laziness and just plain being ignorant.

And what have we gotten from it? Overpopulation, obesity, disease epidemics, mental health epidemics, corporate monopolies, species extinctions, pollution, radiation threats, moral decay and a dumbed-down populace. All tied in to modern conveniences.

'Progress' is not always beneficial. We have been playing chess without thinking several moves ahead, and now we're stuck with living on the edge of collapse. We need to find clean, renewable energy that works, as well as freshwater sources, or face extinction ourselves. We also need to control our monkey urges and put more thought into family planning. 7 billion can turn into 20+ billion fast!

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