Powerful Facts


Over the past several autumns we have had storms that have knocked out the power for days. Definitely a nuisance, yet manageable since we have a standby generator. We have had some sort of generator since our 1996 when a winter storm knocked out power for a week. Now, i don’t live in a terribly rural place where the nearest city is a distant glow in the sky, I just live in a place that seems to have an easily upset power supply. After years with the portable generator, which gave us enough energy for heat, light and water to manage on, we decided 3 years ago to get a standby, Of course that winter was snow free, and unlike every previous year we didn’t lose power for even a few hours the whole year. However, the next fall…whammo, another October storm that dropped a foot of snow while leaves were still thinking about being colorful roadside attractions. ¬†Then the generator was put to use, and again over the year during other power outages. Generators are a lifesaver for those week-long outages, but what if it is out longer, or over a much broader geographical area? A Nation Forsaken (Michael Maloof) covers this potential event in a way sure to make you look at the power supply differently. Snow melts, waters recede, tornadoes pass: then the rebuilding begins in some way shape or form. It may move at a slow pace, but how much slower would it be if an entire region’s grid were immobilized? Months? Years? In reading Maloof’s book I gained a much better understanding of the threat of electric supply disruption due to aging infrastructure, terrorist attacks and even solar flares. He covers potential scenarios, timelines, the aftermath and potential solutions that the public needs to be aware of. A cheery book? No, but information that people need to know. Back in 2003 there was a widespread blackout over the northeast that resulted in plenty of talk of fixing and protecting the grid, but little action as people’s minds switched to sport and celebrity news, and events in Iraq. Later that same year southern England had a large power outage, with no doubt the same public outcry for prevention and the same lack of action as here in the US. We rely on electricity for almost every activity, much as we rely on computers. No power: no ATMs, no working gas pumps, no markets full of food, no way to get reliable news from much beyond your street. Three days to animal is a scary thought, and probably not too far from the truth. Wouldn’t you think this would be an important issue to deal with rather waste time squabbling and making small issues into huge battles, all the while diverting time, money and attention from the issues they should be tackling for real public good.It is easy to be fearful when reading a book such as this, but not reading it only results in not being informed. I appreciate the information in the book which gives me the facts to at least be informed and try to be prepared, but repairing the problem is beyond my control. For that i have to hope those who can fix it will and the forces that could destroy it won’t.


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