6 Totally Insane Things That Will Happen If Our Power Grid Goes Down

Imagine if you will, what would happen if you pulled an American family from the 19th century, and plopped them in the middle of downtown Los Angeles during rush hour. They’re not given a warning, they’re not given any kind of primer on what they’re about to experience, and the occurrence is completely inexplicable. How long do you suppose they would last before they cried uncle? Would they even survive? The odds probably aren’t so good.

Of course, the reverse is probably also true. If you and your family were wrenched from the comforts of the present and hurled back into a previous era, you might not fare so well either. Your survival odds would probably be a little better since you have hindsight and an understanding of germ theory. However, it would still be a pretty alien world for you. It would be littered with pitfalls that most modern people can’t even imagine.

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6 Totally Insane Things That Will Happen If Our Power Grid Goes Down

And that’s why it’s so important for everyone to prepare for the possibility that one day our grid could go down in a big way, whether it be from a terrorist attack, cyber attack, nuclear war, or solar flare. If our society suffered a widespread power failure that lasted for weeks or months, it would be no different for us than if we were suddenly sent back to the 1800’s. It would be a strange and dangerous world, and for the average person, it would catch them off guard in the following ways:

  1. All commerce will cease. The ATMs won’t work, the banks won’t open, and the cash registers won’t…well, register. For a while, cash will be king, but if the crisis goes on for more than a few weeks, then people will view it as worthless. We’d be back to a barter economy in short order.
  2. Communications will shut down. If you think you can rely on your cell phone to work in a disaster, think again. In a crisis, when everyone instinctively reaches for their phone, that limit is quickly surpassed and the radios on the tower get sluggish, thus causing the fast-busy signal. Mobile analysts estimate that a cell site can handle 150 to 200 calls per second per sector. When a large group are making calls at the same time, the network can’t handle the number of calls. More importantly, communications with police, firefighters, and ambulance services will cease. Many of the workers in these positions will try to soldier on and keep doing the best job that they can for as long as they can. However, without ordinary citizens calling them to report crimes and emergencies, they’ll be helplessly watching their communities burn down around them. It won’t be long before they give up, ditch their posts, and return to their families.
  3. Without electricity, all forms of fuel that our society relies on will stop flowing. All of our vehicles will be dead in the water, and more importantly, the trucks will stop delivering food. The grocery stores will be stripped bare in hours, and will not be replenished for a long time. Even if you live in an area that is rich in agricultural resources, there may be no food to be had, since those farms rely on fertilizers and farming equipment that must be delivered by trucks.
  4. And of course, many of those farms will lack water, as will your plumbing. For a couple of days after the power goes out, you’ll still have running water since water towers rely on gravity to feed the water to your home. However, electricity is required to clean that water and pump it into the tower. Once it’s out, that means that you won’t be able to flush your toilet. So not only dehydration be a major threat, but without the ability to remove human waste or wash your hands, every community will face daunting sanitation problems.
  5. When the grocery stores are stripped bare, the pharmacies won’t be far behind. Millions of people who rely on life-saving medications could die in the weeks and months that follow. But perhaps more shocking is what would happen to the people who aren’t using drugs that are immediately life-saving. 13% of Americans are using opioid drugs, which are highly addictive and cause horrendous withdrawal symptoms. Another 13% of Americans are on antidepressants, and likewise, the withdrawal symptoms are pretty problematic. In other words, within a few weeks after the grid collapses, about 25% of your neighbors are going to be in an awful mental state that is not conducive to survival.
  6. And finally, one of the most shocking things that people will have to deal with, is the nuclear power plants not running. Sure, we may lose some power, but the real issue will be a release of radiation. A large percentage of electricity goes into maintaining and cooling the spent fuel rods in a nuclear power plant installation.  A prime example is a Nuclear Facility that may have one working (running) reactor and two that are shut down with spent fuel rods.  This is not uncommon to find.  Now, follow the reasoning: when the primary power shuts down and the backup is rendered inoperable, how is coolant water to be pumped to cool the spent fuel rods?

In summary, law and order will break down at every level, and death will be around every corner. It’s one thing to grow up and live in an era that lacks electricity, but to be sent back to such a time on a moments notice would be one of the most challenging things that a person accustomed to modern amenities would ever face.


Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published February 27th, 2017
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20 Responses to 6 Totally Insane Things That Will Happen If Our Power Grid Goes Down

  1. warbaby says:

    How about the nuclear plants go down

    • S Paulsen says:

      Good point. Once the fuel for the backup generators is exhausted, we will risk meltdowns in our nuke plants as cooling systems go down.

    • Muhammad Abbass says:

      That was the one I was waiting for, because it is the biggest problem of them all. Even not having nukes as we don’t in Oz won’t help us, just give us a little more time.

      • warbaby says:

        As far as I am concerned we are toast anyway. This nuclear thing is the worst thing to happen to this planet. There is nowhere to go. There is a documentary on youtube showing a facility deep underground where they are storing spent fuel rods. earthquakes anyone???

    • Alan Reid says:

      Even the fuel stored in pools will be a huge problem once it has boiled off what water it was left with at the end of electricity, Even closed reactors will have problems with fuel still in water cooling pools.

  2. S Paulsen says:

    Our GPSs won’t go down, as long as there’s a working source of 12v DC around.

  3. Eileen Kuch says:

    In March, 2011, a 9.0 quake struck off Japan’s northeastern coast, followed by a huge tsunami that swept over the city of Fukushima, including its nuclear power plant. Some 13,000 people perished in the tsunami, but with the electric grid down, the plant’s core eventually melted down due to lack of electricity that was knocked out by the tsunami. The Fukushima catastrophe surpassed the Chernobyl nuclear power plant catastrophe that took place in 1986, in that the irradiated water spilled out into the Pacific Ocean and continues to do so.
    The city had to be evacuated, and only a few have ever returned, so far. Since Japan’s landmass is so much smaller than that of the US, aid to the stricken area was much easier. If a similar disaster hits large cities such as San Francisco or Los Angeles and nearby nuclear power plants are affected in the same manner as Fukushima’s nuclear power plant was, the consequences would be staggering.

  4. Bad Santa says:

    Why would these be ‘insane’ things? These are the things which usually happen when power goes down.

  5. AtomicMetroid says:

    I witnessed this first hand several times in my life.
    Back years ago a mahjor storm hit my state. We were without power for over three weeks.
    After 4 days things got bad for the idiots who weren’t prepared.
    There were people fighting over camping bottles of propane. There were people fighting over fuel. There were people fist fighting at red lights because of gridlock(something that doesn’t happen here). There were many scuffles at grocery stores. These are the first who will starve to death. They are the meek.
    I’m somewhat of a prepper and had no problems, but I sit back watching, knowing, that these are the type of people who would start running the roads looking for people to rob and houses to invade. It would get bad. But they would fail badly trying that at my house.
    Always be prepared no matter what. Stock up on ammo, fill a few 100# propane cylinders(don’t forget the connections you will need to connect your stove and whatnot).
    If you’re on medicine then look at the natural stuff that will need to take its place(if there is one).
    Grow a garden and learn how to can food.

    • Wayne Scott says:

      You must live in a place that gets much rain. In the southwest the first necessity is water, and that gets used up quickly. People would need to store thousands of gallons to make it for any significant time. And there is no place for city dwellers to do this. About 90% of us live in citiies.

  6. TANNED STEWIE says:

    Buy weapons NOW.

    • Wayne Scott says:

      Without water, weapons will be useless in a matter of days or weeks. The murderous Bolsheviks simply blockaded any area with gun resistance, then let the people die thru lack of water and food, after which they would simply walk in to torture and mutilate the few survivors. They enjoyed the mutilation of living people and it would be no different here in America.Our safety depends on much more than a few measly fire arms. We need good organization, committed personnel, and amply supplies, including heavy weaponry and ammunition. This will of course attract government spies and agent provocateurs. Wisdom and sound legal backing will be needed.

  7. Badger Badgerism says:

    There is no GPS…..The earth is not a globe there is no such thing as satellites..So what you call GPS….You mean radio towers bouncing off the firmament…Well OK then…Those will be down

  8. gary gaisler says:

    Will the next article be “6 Totally Insane Things That Will Happen If the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow”
    Yes, all the situations in this article are true, Equally true is there is no REAL way for the entire national grid to go down and stay down permanently without some other (probably worse) catastrophic event happening first.

    • Jason says:

      Not true. Two EMPs could cover most of N America. Every plane in flight would crash. Anyone on life support dead.

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