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’American Blackout’: Four Major Real-Life Threats to the Electric Grid
National Geographic ^ | 10/25/13 | Patrick J. Kiger

Posted on 10/27/2013 4:56:01 AM PDT by Libloather

A catastrophic, prolonged failure of the electrical grid—the sort of event whose effects are depicted in National Geographic Channel’s upcoming American Blackout, which premieres Sunday—may seem like just apocalyptic science fiction to some viewers. Unfortunately, though, the possibility of such a breakdown is all too real. (See related interactive: “Survive the Blackout.”)

Government and utility industry officials are so concerned, in fact, that in November, they will stage a massive emergency drill, called GridEx II, that will involve thousands of utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, FBI antiterrorism experts and government officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. They’ll practice responding to a simulated failure of large parts of the electrical system across North America. (See related quiz: “What You Don’t Know About Electricity.”)

(Excerpt) Read more at energyblog.nationalgeographic.com ...


TOPICS: Canada; Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; Mexico; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: blackout; canada; electric; grid; iran; mexico; power; venezuela
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How do you sign up for Husseincare without power?
1 posted on 10/27/2013 4:56:02 AM PDT by Libloather
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To: Libloather

Aren’t blackouts racist?


2 posted on 10/27/2013 4:57:06 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (IÂ’m not a Republican, I'm a Conservative! Pubbies haven't been conservative since before T.R.)
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To: Libloather

Just another BS scare tactic from National Geographic. Conflating the Sutxnet virus with a fake video (The Aurora Generator Test” is simply unethical.


3 posted on 10/27/2013 5:19:17 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: Libloather

Everything is a crisis.


4 posted on 10/27/2013 5:27:06 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS!)
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To: norwaypinesavage

NG is so far out there in left field they have marginalized themselves to anyone with half a brain left to think with. Global warming/climate change controls most of their thinking these days.


5 posted on 10/27/2013 5:30:31 AM PDT by Past Your Eyes (You can't force people to care. Sometimes I don't myself.)
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To: Libloather

We’re all gonna die!!! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!


6 posted on 10/27/2013 5:32:59 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (On the evening of 10/16/13, the ailing republican party breathed its last breath.)
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To: Libloather

There is one real threat that’s not on the list. Since 9/11 absolutely nothing has happened as far as recognition. If that threat materialized, power in many parts of the Northeast would be out for periods up to a year.

The unbelievable fact is everything currently going on increases that threat.


7 posted on 10/27/2013 5:41:21 AM PDT by meatloaf
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To: Libloather

So true.


8 posted on 10/27/2013 5:48:17 AM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: LibLieSlayer
We live in rural Alaska, just got on the grid in 90's, still no cell coverage; and I've never owned a cell phone and me likes it that way.

We had a flood 5 years back, no road, no phone lines or elec for 3 month; it was a change for those 3 months. We did fine with the Honda Generator. It was tough without internet though.

I don' think most of America is as prepared as we were when the Yukon came in 1/4 of a mile from where she usually is.

9 posted on 10/27/2013 5:58:31 AM PDT by Eska
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To: Libloather; Kartographer
Government and utility industry officials are so concerned, in fact, that in November, they will stage a massive emergency drill, called GridEx II, that will involve thousands of utility workers, business executives, National Guard officers, FBI antiterrorism experts and government officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. They’ll practice responding to a simulated failure of large parts of the electrical system across North America.

A lot of people are worried about this GridEx II 'drill' and are concerned that the grid will indeed go down and they won't be able to get it back up. This article sets forth a LOT of good reasons to be prepared to live without electricity for extended periods of time.

10 posted on 10/27/2013 6:00:50 AM PDT by MissMagnolia (You see, truth always resides wherever brave men still have ammunition. I pick truth. (John Ransom))
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To: norwaypinesavage
Just another BS scare tactic from National Geographic

Guess you weren't around when we had the cascade failure in the United States on the East Coast in 2003 and in 1965. In both events, a "small" error caused a domino-effect cascade that took out a large area of the US and Canada. The cascade occurred because the safety equipment did exactly what it was supposed to do, protect the electrical equipment from damage.

The 2003 error cascade started with a computer error. It snowballed from there.

As for the "danger" of the Sun causing trouble, we already know from prior experience that a coronal mass ejection can cause significant problems. The ejection of 1859 affected telegraph systems around the world, including shocking the operators with the induced voltages. Some of the disruption scenarios that have been postulated are based on extrapolating that event against the current electrical infrastructure.

Is it a "crisis"? No. Is is a major concern? Yes. Research continues on how to prevent the CME from causing widespread damage to the world's electrical networks. Yes, there will be outages, but if the basic gear isn't melted down, recovery would take days instead of years.

One "solution" being floated is to reduce our dependence on long-haul transmission lines, by building small plants closer to the consumers. By distributing power generation, failures would be more localized, and the overall effect of a CME would be reduced. (Another benefit: terrorists would have to hit more targets to have the same effect.) Also by distributing more, smaller, generators, a failure in one place won't translate to failures over very, very large areas. The faults would be contained.

11 posted on 10/27/2013 6:05:41 AM PDT by asinclair (Political hot air is a renewable energy resource)
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To: Libloather

The government is shutting down coal fired power plants as quickly as they can. They are the most reliable and most flexible of all of our power generation capability. If we have a big blackout, this will be the most likely cause.


12 posted on 10/27/2013 6:15:17 AM PDT by centurion316
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To: asinclair
"Guess you weren't around when we had the cascade failure...."

Guess I was.... We were out of power for a little while, the safety systems worked with little major damage, and power was restored everywhere. No one was killed. No generators "burned up with smoke" because of a virus.

I was also around for the Northeast Blackout of '65. No virus there either. Safety systems also worked. Blackouts are to be dealt with, not feared.

13 posted on 10/27/2013 6:23:08 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage (Galileo: In science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of one individual)
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To: asinclair

Right on post 11!
Unfortunately we are going in the opposite direction to incorporate remote solar and wind fields


14 posted on 10/27/2013 6:32:28 AM PDT by aumrl (let's keep it real Conservatives)
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To: LibLieSlayer

I agree that “they” are trying to make everything a crisis of such magnitude that ONLY the Federal government can help out or protect you. (Along with that protection comes the required taxes, of course.)

That being said, I work in the utility industry and there are real vulnerabilities in the national grid. I know of a few simple things that terrorists could do that would leave many people without power for awhile. Of course, I won’t disclose them, but the fact remains, terrorists have not seriously looked at or attacked the grid...yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an attack soon.


15 posted on 10/27/2013 6:36:45 AM PDT by ScubieNuc (When there is no justice in the laws, justice is left to the outlaws.)
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To: asinclair
One "solution" being floated is to reduce our dependence on long-haul transmission lines, by building small plants closer to the consumers.

This is, however, politically untenable in a communist/fascist/central planed economy.

Central power advocates like, well, central power.

It's much easier to shutoff a city's water supply if it only has one water plant, its food if there is only one rail line, its power if...

16 posted on 10/27/2013 6:37:53 AM PDT by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: ScubieNuc; _Jim

_Jim says you are wrong. Wrong. Wrong.


17 posted on 10/27/2013 6:39:45 AM PDT by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: null and void

Well, I hope I’m wrong on the grid being attacked in the near future, but I guarantee you that I could take down very large sections of the grid with little effort, little detectability and without using any of my insider access. Of course to those in the government who are reading this...I would never do it and I will never tell anyone what I know, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure some of this stuff out. (I love electricity and my freedom.)


18 posted on 10/27/2013 6:50:07 AM PDT by ScubieNuc (When there is no justice in the laws, justice is left to the outlaws.)
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To: ScubieNuc; _Jim
I fervently hope you are wrong and Underscore is right.

But experience, and the entire history of civilization teaches me that anything one can build, another can destroy.

19 posted on 10/27/2013 6:55:46 AM PDT by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: LibLieSlayer

If there was no crisis, we would have to invent a crisis. The only thing the elites know is how to keep the people stirred up against the ongoing most important threat against security and decency, so we don’t look at the manipulators behind the curtain. So it goes........


20 posted on 10/27/2013 7:04:45 AM PDT by The_Media_never_lie (Actually, they lie when it suits them! The crooked MS media must be defeated any way it can be done!)
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To: Libloather

The grid is old, overloaded, and vulnerable. And it’s getting older, more overloaded, and more vulnerable every day. But, of course, there are always those who will laugh at such concerns as being a commie conspiracy, or a muzzy conspiracy, or a fill-in-the-blank conspiracy,,,usually to take their guns away.


21 posted on 10/27/2013 7:30:49 AM PDT by chessplayer
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To: null and void; Libloather; ScubieNuc

I am betting that if NG would have made a movie say it 2000 about terrorist take over a passenger plane and crashing them into a large building in a magor metro area and causing such damage that they brought the building down many of the same people complaining on this thread would call it BS. In fact I bet half those complaining most like still say 9/11 is BS.

Anyone who thinks that a coordinated combination of physical and network attacks couldn’t result in significant and possibly devastating has their head up their out cute.


22 posted on 10/27/2013 7:56:51 AM PDT by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Kartographer

Shoot, did you mean chute?


23 posted on 10/27/2013 8:00:27 AM PDT by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: Libloather

Maybe this thing tonight on National Geographic will induce more people to prep. We are going to watch. Saw a 2 minute trailer on SHTFplan and it looks pretty intense.


24 posted on 10/27/2013 8:01:22 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: null and void

No I got it right, but I did mean ‘major’ not ‘magor’. ;-)


25 posted on 10/27/2013 8:03:45 AM PDT by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: Kartographer

OK. I guess I just don’t know what an “out cute” is. I’ll look it up...


26 posted on 10/27/2013 8:05:48 AM PDT by null and void (I'm betting on an Obama Trifecta: A Nobel Peace Prize, an Impeachment, AND a War Crimes Trial...)
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To: norwaypinesavage

You need to keep up dude. Power grid failure is the number one concern at NASA where our nephew works. Its not if it will happen its when it will happen.


27 posted on 10/27/2013 8:10:21 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Libloather
Many had feared the biggest threat was from a direct hit from a solar flare or a coronal mass ejection, something that may have caused the famous Carrington event of 1859. A direct hit that strong would have destroyed most of the large transformers on the power grid, unless measures were taken to deliberately induce a blackout and cut the connection of the transformers to the power grid.
28 posted on 10/27/2013 8:11:40 AM PDT by RayChuang88 (FairTax: America's economic cure)
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To: Kartographer

Anyone who thinks that a coordinated combination of physical and network attacks couldn’t result in significant and possibly devastating has their head up their out cute.
= = = = = = = = = = = = =
For ‘proof’ look at the terror/panic etc the DC Bushwackers caused.

Two idiots that were so nondescript they were talking to detectives at the sight of one of their ‘attacks’ - WHILE the investigation was on going.

Of course two Blacks in an old, beat up Chevy, with a rifle mounted in the trunk with a ‘shooting hole’ paralyzed the area while LEO etal was chasing ghosts....White Male(s) in a White Van...or pickup...or SUV...or box truck....

I had and have thought that 5 or 6 such ‘coordinated’ teams could bring the country to its knees (at least a good portion of it).

Course ‘Occupy Wherever’ did a decent job of that and they were operating - for all practical purposes - in the open.

When they tore down the tents and picked up the ‘johnny-on-the-spots’, the spoiled lads and lasses figured Dad’s basement wasn’t that bad afterall.

But the ‘Officials’ kept playing ‘finger switch’ and dragged their collective feet rather than oust the clowns immediately.

‘They’ had absolutely no problem harassing a bunch of ‘crippled up OLD Vets’, while saying the OCCUIDIOTS were exercising their ‘rights’ to public land....hmmmm...


29 posted on 10/27/2013 8:13:13 AM PDT by xrmusn (6/98 --All incumbents must go. Complete turn over, House & Senate is needed.)
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To: asinclair
One "solution" being floated is to reduce our dependence on long-haul transmission lines, by building small plants closer to the consumers.

To my mind, a variant on open source power generation is the best long term solution, IOW what we had before the progressive control freaks created "public utilities."

30 posted on 10/27/2013 8:21:17 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (ZeroCare: Make them pay; do not delay.)
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31 posted on 10/27/2013 8:23:21 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

Thanks Libloather.


32 posted on 10/27/2013 8:23:38 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: norwaypinesavage

From the link:

In March 2007, researchers at Idaho National Laboratories (INL) conducted an experiment labeled the Aurora Generator Test to demonstrate the results of a simulated cyberattack on a power network. In a video released by the Department of Homeland Security, a power generator turbine, similar to many now in use throughout the United States, is forced to overheat and shut down dramatically, after receiving malicious commands from a hacker.

The researchers at INL were investigating results of a possible cyberattack directed against a vulnerability that, reportedly, has since been fixed.[1]

The video, however, implied that other multiple power generators sharing similar cyber vulnerabilities could potentially be disabled the same way.

http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/Aurora_Generator_Test

Homeland is attempting to stir the pot - there’s a reason they’re attempting to turn into Obama’s private army... and fake claims give them power. This is an outrage.


33 posted on 10/27/2013 8:24:05 AM PDT by GOPJ ( We've grown to trust MSM hatred. When the MSM hates one of us it's an endorsement.)
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To: Libloather
How do you sign up for Husseincare without power?

Grid X is supposed to be in a couple weeks so it's perfect timing since the husseincare site is a broken mess.

34 posted on 10/27/2013 8:25:16 AM PDT by bgill (This reply was mined before it was posted.)
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To: Libloather

The biggest threat to our electrical grid is from the EPA shutting down coal fired plants and increasing our reliance on windmills for power generation. In February 2011 extreme cold in Texas led to a spike in electricity use. The electric utility companies didn’t have the resources to maintain service and as a result there were rolling blackouts. The much vaunted windmills that provide almost 20% of electric power in Texas could not supply the extra power and the coal and natural gas plants operating at the time were inadequate to meet the need. The EPA and Obama’s environmental policies are setting up the same scenario nationwide.


35 posted on 10/27/2013 8:31:26 AM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: MissMagnolia

During the coldest day of the year a couple years back, the experts decided they’d cut power for half an hour randomly around the area to save the extra power usage. What happened was they forgot to turn some areas back on and others blew transformers when they were turned on. Imagine that mess on a large scale.


36 posted on 10/27/2013 8:32:01 AM PDT by bgill (This reply was mined before it was posted.)
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To: centurion316
The government is shutting down coal fired power plants as quickly as they can

The UMWA, the miner's union, backed hussein in both elections never mind that he told them up front he was going to see them all closed down. Mind boggling.

37 posted on 10/27/2013 8:36:21 AM PDT by bgill (This reply was mined before it was posted.)
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To: Libloather

“U.S. utility companies already come under frequent attack from Internet hackers who continually try to infect utilities’ computer networks with malware and search for security flaws. One company alone told congressional investigators that it was hit with an astonishing 10,000 attacks in a typical month.”


Doesn’t even have to be China, Irran, or al-Qaaaedda. It could be some malcontent sitting in mommy’s basement who thinks it would be cool to bring the grid down.


38 posted on 10/27/2013 8:37:58 AM PDT by chessplayer
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To: ScubieNuc

Please explain the logic why after 9/11 there was a rush to replace chainlink fencing with brick walls around the little substations so no one could see in.


39 posted on 10/27/2013 8:39:11 AM PDT by bgill (This reply was mined before it was posted.)
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To: Libloather

The more technologically advanced we get, the odds of everything coming crashing down increases.

“In 2012 , three sections of India’s massive electrical grid collapsed, leaving 620 million people—nearly twice the population of the U.S.–without power for several hours in the biggest blackout in world history so far. (See related photos: “India Power Outage Darkens Cities, Stops Trains.”)

Could never happen, huh? Just fear-mongering, huh?


40 posted on 10/27/2013 8:44:15 AM PDT by chessplayer
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To: The Great RJ

Yep, my #36.


41 posted on 10/27/2013 8:45:31 AM PDT by bgill (This reply was mined before it was posted.)
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To: asinclair

One “solution” being floated is to reduce our dependence on long-haul transmission lines, by building small plants closer to the consumers. By distributing power generation, failures would be more localized, and the overall effect of a CME would be reduced. (Another benefit: terrorists would have to hit more targets to have the same effect.) Also by distributing more, smaller, generators, a failure in one place won’t translate to failures over very, very large areas. The faults would be contained.


Makes sense, which means the chances of us doing something like that are nil.


42 posted on 10/27/2013 8:47:45 AM PDT by chessplayer
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To: bgill

I don’t know why the utilities in your area decided to do that. I can tell you that of the hundreds of substations my company is in charge of, I know of none that have a brick fence surrounding it. I do know that some places put up walls and such around substations because people don’t like looking at them, but that is about cosmetics, not security.


43 posted on 10/27/2013 8:48:58 AM PDT by ScubieNuc (When there is no justice in the laws, justice is left to the outlaws.)
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To: Georgia Girl 2; null and void; Lazamataz

I think what many of the ‘It can’t possible happen’ naysayers are really saying is if this was to happen I am ‘screwed’! Because they know they have no plans and made to preparations to handle such an emergency.

What people should be doing is taking a look at themselves and asking do I have what I heed for me and mine to make it through such a 10 to 14 day period? The second question is: Do my neighbors have the means to make it through and if not do they know that I do?


44 posted on 10/27/2013 8:59:08 AM PDT by Kartographer ("We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.")
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To: ScubieNuc

Nobody around here can be bothered much by cosmetics as we’re in the country. A solid wall is an eyesore not to mention extremely stupid post 9/11. Hop over the backside and do anything you want without being seen.


45 posted on 10/27/2013 9:03:51 AM PDT by bgill (This reply was mined before it was posted.)
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To: Kartographer

You are probably right. The only problem with this is that the docu drama on Natgeo is making people think this blackout stuff is only for a couple of weeks when in reality it could be months or even a couple of years depending on what happens.

Two weeks worth of food while better than nothing is not really going to save anybody.


46 posted on 10/27/2013 9:04:04 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: Kartographer
I am so screwed*.

* I'm really not. I've been preparing my inventory and now I moving on to skill-sets.

47 posted on 10/27/2013 9:09:21 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Early 2009 to 7/21/2013 - RIP my little girl Cathy. You were the best cat ever. You will be missed.)
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To: Georgia Girl 2

I got three man-months right now. Working to double that soon.


48 posted on 10/27/2013 9:10:03 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Early 2009 to 7/21/2013 - RIP my little girl Cathy. You were the best cat ever. You will be missed.)
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To: bgill

The radio show I was listening to the other night had folks calling in saying they will be turning power off on the grid although the article doesn’t specifically say this. A lot of the very large transformers, from what was said on the show, are old and only a few exist in a form that can be used .... if they have major transformer issues, new ones would have to be built. I have no idea how much of this is accurate, but it seems warm weather would be a better time to do a test if there is a chance folks will be without power for more than a few hours. After going through some long outages in the past due to ice storms, if we get a major grid failure for any length of time, most folks will not fare very well. Electricity is pretty much taken for granted these days ... folks are amazed when the gas pumps don’t work and neither does the ATM!


49 posted on 10/27/2013 9:11:49 AM PDT by MissMagnolia (You see, truth always resides wherever brave men still have ammunition. I pick truth. (John Ransom))
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To: Lazamataz

Yes six to twelve months is certainly a lot better. We have found that if you just buy a little extra every week you soon have quite a bit.


50 posted on 10/27/2013 9:18:51 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose of a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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