Recent power outage in India……..

Ever wonder how delicate our electrical grid might be? Take a look at the recent power outages in India which left 680 million people without power. That’s right  – 680 million people. That is twice the entire population of the United States.

As of this writing the exact cause is unknown and most of the power is back on. From what I have read some type of overload caused a cascading effect across several grids due to the complexity of these modern power systems.

Regardless – that is a lot of people without power. Many business’s without any methods to carry on commerce. A lot of banks with no way to provide funds to customers. A lot of people who will not be getting paychecks or income of any kind.

Those not prepared……..they’re screwed.

So folks – those of you who stock up on extra food, batteries, flashlights, candles……..and a few grenade launchers just for fun – here is some justification to keep in mind.

– Rourke

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  1. Actually, most of the problems were caused not by the complexity of the systems, but by old age, poor maintenance, and significant draw down due to pirate connections to the grid. India is chronically short of generating capacity and they often practice rolling blackouts. For instance, if a section of their grid has 200 MW of capacity and exhibits 250 MW of demand, they will “unplug” 50 MW of load to ensure the system doesn’t fail. The problem is how to account for the pirate connection in the load calculations – they can’t due to limited system feed back, a consequence of old technology. Usually, they over apply their blackout to ensure they account for the illegal connections. This time they made an oops in their adjustment factor.

    Further complicating the issue is India’s single grid system. This is a great system as any online capacity is instantaneously (light speed, anyway) applied to the grid. It sucks when there is a problem as the whole grid tends to fail. FYI – the USA has 3 major grids (Eastern, Western, and Texas – no kidding, Texas has its own grid) and about 50 minor grids. That is the main reason a coastal EMP event will not shut down our entire electical grid.

    The basic numbers for comparison are:
    India – 1.21 billion population
    USA – 0.31 billion population (give or take a few million illegal aliens)
    India electic generating capacity – 0.83 TWh
    USA electric generating capacity – 4.37 TWh

    So, they have 4 times the people and we have 5 times the generating capacity. It’s not such a surprise that their system failed, rather that it actually works most of the time.

    However, thanks for reminding me to clean the pigeon poop off the solar cell array on the barn – my wife got mad at me the last time she caught me throwing cats on the roof to chase the pigeons away.

    • Thanks for the info Harry.

      With what you describe – not surprising they would have a problem.

      good luck with the cat throwing.


  2. I think we are very vulnerable in America as there are only 3 (I think?) big power grids that cover the whole nation. Even if only one goes out for a week or so we are all screwed. The banks and stores will be closed and soon the looting will start. It’s best to prepare now if you havn’t done so already. We stocked up on food a few months ago and got a lot of freeze dried food at No need for refrigeration ever and a 25 year shelf life.

  3. Harry is right. The age and condition of the physical components of the electric grid (or any infrastructure) are the key to how well they stand up to various conditions that weather and life throw at them.

    In the case of an electric grid NO SMART GRID computer program can compensate for the physical condition of the physical components !!!!!

    The northeast power outage caused by a short when a transmission line hit a tree is a perfect example. The fact is that that tree WAS TRIMMED. It was just trimmed according to the regulations that determine sag from heat and electrical charge when the line is NEW – it was not trimmed to account for the additional sage of a line that over 70 yrs old and therefore ‘stretches’ more.

  4. If you want to know what shape our infrastructures are in go to : (20 MB) and download it or there are some condensed Recaps:
    SA Infrastructure Report Card 2009 Recap
    USA Infrastructure Report Card 2009 State by State has a great story with graphics (power plants, solar power, wind power & whole US electric grid) at

    PS sorry if I can’t type and spell ;-{

  5. Thanks you all for the grid inf. We recently took 3 young grandchildren camping to a private campsite-because there was a pool and it was within 40 miles.(I dont like to travel too far “just in case”.) We used to go wildenerness camping years ago. Well I was shocked to see the “amenities -tvs, a/cs,motorized golf carts ,a little store, huge motor homes and pull campers-only a few of us tent camping.
    I promised my family i wouldnt talk or read preparedness for three days- smile !!I did think a lot though-smile !
    I remembered tent camping as a child where there was the delicious aromas of perked coffee and bacon and eggs
    and spaghetti sauce etc. Here with indoor cooking -no delicious smells.The camp lantenrs used to glow around the camp sites- now its generators . The children had fun cooking marshmellows with the campfire and swimming but
    next time we will camp on our farm and swim in our pond for more ambiance and less noise.
    For anyone who hasnt camped do a rustic exp. and it will help you prepare for a grid down situation.

    RE food we believe that a combination of fresh, frozen, canned ,dehydrated ,freeze dried and cool storage is a good balance. Keep prepping Arlene
    PSWhen I returned home two books had arrived on prepping ( MODERN WEAPONS CACHING by Ragnar Benson and SURVIVE by Jerry Ahern-smile – and your great messages.Ah its great to be home again.

  6. I grew up in former Czechoslovakia. I remember now my grandma never had refrigerator because their electric power was run by the water wheel. They owned an operating grist mill (which communists closed for business in 50s). My dad and uncle build a dynamo (generator) and hooked it up to a constantly turning wheel that was powered by a man made stream that branched out of bigger river. The flow was regulated by a system of I think 3 dams down to the house from the river. The power was enough to light up the house, and run TV (where there was nothing much entertaining except communist propaganda and occasional movies on the weekend). There was also a big saw that was run the same way to cut huge logs

    Our situation was different from others. At home we had all the modern amenities, but grandparents lived in a remote area and they were literally off the grid. So how did we live without fridge? With the understanding that we lived in Toronto’s latitude, where weather is generally cooler then here in NJ, we were able to use our water well as a fridge for few day period. We didn’t really needed fridge since all the food we ate there was freshly killed, cooked and eaten. Leftovers went to pigs when they had them. We had chickens mainly, eggs. Cow was gone when I was I think 5-6 yr old, so grandpa had to get it from the store by riding bike or moped 3 miles. That and beef was one perishable food that we had to get out of our paradise.

    During the spring, summer and autumn months beef and milk were suspended in a bucket down the well where there was very cold. Winter in this case was easy, and we had longer winter than here in NJ. We had snow on the ground mid November till sometimes March. We had a large fruit garden (pears, peaches, apricots, apples, cherries, plums – each of 2-3 varieties, walnuts, chesnuts, grapes, red and black currants, goosberries, strawberries, blueberries, elderberries – good for immunity, corn, potatoes all veggies you can buy in the store…am I missing anything? Oh yeah, we picked mushrooms and fish. We had no gas or oil heat, it was wood. We didn’t need the AC due to location.

    Why do I write about that? Well, you can live very easily off the grid and modern conveniences given all the factors mentioned above. Lot of work, but doable and enjoyable as well.

    I mentioned immunity, check these pics. I had some burn and cut injuries which were healed with propilis and hemp oil. Burn I took care of all by myself, the laceration on a finger after it was stitched at the ER was treated the same way. The text is in Slovak but I gave you a short run down.

  7. living in florida without AC would be terrible right now with the heat. my latest investment this month will be a battery operated fan.

  8. How could I forget! No running water. We washed ourselves in a bathtub outside during warm months when we were kids and yes, we had an outhouse. Winter was tough for washing because the tub was in a mill area in a big hallway, but it had curtains and privacy, water got cold quickly ;-).

    If I could I would live there now in a blink of an eye…the grist mill got burned down by vandals and there is literally no sign that there once stood a “house in a paradise”

  9. The thing about India is that #1 , its an “emerging ” nation , they dont have the decades long experience in maintaining a grid . They also dont know what they are doing , they also dont have the equipment , experience , or trained manpower to keep their grid going , much less get it back up quickly when it fails . #2. they have very little regulation on how things are done and how the electricity is accessed by the individual , so you have this ” rats nest ” of cables and wires going everywhere leading to this house and that house , etc . #3 . this doesn’t affect half of Indias population , they still have a caste system of sorts . Their middle class is growing , but by in large , your either wealthy or dirt poor …….the poor dont worry about the grid as they never will have it . Worrying about India and comparing it to the US is ” Apples and Oranges ” , yes our grid can fail , but unlike them , WE know what we are doing ! they dont . We cant just run up a poll and attach direct feed to our house from the nearest line going by , all by ourselves …………….we will go to jail and yes we do check on those sort of things . Those that live in the northeast outside the cities , prepare as a way of life . They can depend on being snowed in and the power going out every winter . I learned a lot from Mainers about this before I started prepping .

  10. Rourke,
    My name seems to have usurped.

    I do not endorse the previous message.

    FYI, no food has an automatic, no questions asked, 25 year shelf life – even freeze dried in nitrogen purged containers with oxygen absorbers. The cans must be stored below 80°F and 50% wet bulb humidity to even come close to that storage life. If you live in Florida or Arizona or Texas and you keep your freeze dried foods in the garage you may get 5 years before the nutrient value plummets. If you live in Montana and you keep your freeze dried foods in a nice and cool root cellar 25+ years is easily obtainable.

    Also, for those that like the expediency of buying a “food plan” don’t count servings – count calories. If you plan on eating 2,000 calories per day you will need 730,000 calories for a year. For an office worker 2,000 calories is going to pack on the pounds unless you add in an hour or so of cardio every day. For an active farmer, rancher, construction worker, soldier, or survivor in a SHTF situation 2,000 calories per day will be wonderful way to loose 20 to 30 pounds every 6 months. Historical side note – the average daily calorie intake for an inmate at a Konzentrationslager was 500 to 700 calories per day towards the end of WWII. One of the “year’s supply” of freeze dried foods currently being promoted on a well known talk radio show has approximately 588 calories in their daily 4-portion serving. Another company advertises a 2 serving per day food storage program – each serving averages less than 250 calories. Do the math!

    Freeze dried foods are an important component for long term food storge – we use them everyday for convenience and variety (and so we are familiar with their use when/if it becomes necessary to make them a larger part of our daily diet). Just make certain you know what you are storing and how long it will actually keep you healthy and functioning.

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