Effects Of Long Term Power Outages


The effects of long term power outages will be very severe to our modern way of life. Our human civilization has only existed with the ‘help’ of electricity for a VERY small slice of its overall timeline. It, and other factors, have enabled enormous population growth on the planet… to the point where if it were not for electricity, a large percentage of us would cease to exist.

A worst case scenario such as an EMP attack (of the large variety, HEMP) would likely doom 90% of us, more or less. Imagine (if you dare) some of the following effects…


Computers, radios, televisions and phones will stop functioning… modern communication ceases for the most part.

Banks close, money systems fail, no more ATM.

Complete economic collapse.

Gas stations stop functioning and most transportation ceases.

Food distribution systems cease.

Food is no longer available in stores.

No ability to cook with electric appliances.

No ability to refrigerate food for most people.

Toilets, sinks, and showers do not operate from lack of municipal water pressure.

No safe drinking water without treatment.

No furnace heat.

No air conditioning cool.

Hospitals close (in the modern sense) and modern medical care ceases to exist.

Emergency response (Police, Fire, Ambulance) will cease.

Social Chaos and desperate violence.



We have recently witnessed a microcosm of some of the effects of power outage and grid down, and some of the things that go along with it, from events like hurricane Katrina and hurricane Sandy.

Now picture this, but on a national scale. It is nearly unimaginable. But… the thing is… it could happen. The weapons exist today, and it is not terribly difficult (a relative term) to pull it off with a Scud missile and a nuclear weapon.

Our Sun could easily unleash a solar flare of sufficient magnitude (X-20+) which would accomplish the same devastating effects. In fact, it already did so back in 1859 – except we were not dependent upon electricity back then.

We can go on ‘hoping’ or believing that something like this will never happen to us, or we can use the worst case scenario to highlight the areas in which we can better prepare. Weaning yourself off the systems of dependency (or at least some of them) will give you a fighting chance. Not only that, but greater self-sufficiency will reward you with a surprising amount of peacefulness and liberation. Try it… you’ll see…

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  1. It is a pleasing feeling to produce your own food.
    I am pretty confident that we would be okay without power. We live in torando alley and have gone several days before without electricity, there wasn’t too much of an issue. I would darn sure miss TV and internet though!! I think the key though is not so much weaning off of the electric stuff but making darn sure you are not dependent on it. For example I depend on electricity to get the water from my well on a regular day to day basis, BUT I have a well bucket and rope which is a way (though not desireable over an electric pump) to get water from the well. My freezer is another example it is full but if I lose power when temps are above freezing outside I have alternate ways to store the meat. I could either can it or smoke it. The same thing goes with cooking. My house is all electric (I hate it) but I have a propane stove in our camper trailer, a propane grill with a burner on it (and extra bottles of propane full and ready) and a wood stove that I can cook on.
    So while I am not weaned off of electricity I have made sure that I have alternative and redundant methods should I not have the power. I just won’t get to watch Survivor on Wednesdays… BUMMER!!! Oh and I wont get to talk to all of you wonderful people out there in Cyberland!!! I just can not seem to find an alternate for those dishes on my roof… LOL Maybe I can take them down and convert them into sun catchers to cook…. Hmmmm

    1. In addition, once your own house is in order, so to speak, you need to worry about your security and others (most of whom will not have prepared and will become extremely desperate).

      1. Yes very true. My husband and I have talked about this many times. We put back a few rolls of barbed wire to attach to the top of our fence loosly and I purposely planted raspberries (with lots of thorns) along the fence row up front. The Dogs are a little bit of at least early warning system. My guineas also go nuts when there is something different or a strange person. They are the best alarm system that requires no electricity only some bugs and corn… We figured slow them down in going over the fence and then defend as necessary! Plus we live in BFE on a dirt road and the closest town has a pop of 2000 no major city within 100 miles. Within 20 miles of us the largest “city” has 14,000 pop. I am quite sure the urbanites will have a bigger security problem than we will.
        We had also planned on storing enough food so that we could “help” the closest neighbors. We have 2 families close to us that do not farm. My daughter and her brood will also be coming here so there will be extra eyes, ears and fingers on a trigger. Our food storage and farming plan has always included them in the count. They are the main reason I had to get my old truck so I had a way to sneak up and get them. They live about 15 miles from us.
        Trying to think of everything… But I am sure I will miss something and wish I had thought of it!!!!

    2. Go to home depot and get a couple hundred feet of pvc water piping , connect a primer plug to the bottom end going into your well ,, then buy the hand pump ,, (just like great great grandpa used)!!!! Water problem solved !!!!!! I,m doing it !!!!

  2. Ken….I’m confused, I apologize for being so, but let me ask. With all the people who have generators, solar backup devices out the wahzoo, & auto start eguipment to just take over with out human interference, how many have two of everthing? One to use now & one in a faraday cage set back for latter use? Anything with solid state circuitry is history, or should I ask is “solid state” outdated vocabulary. What is going to keep your solar panels from overcharging your batteries? Does anyone realize that this circuitry can’t be protected unless its in proper storage containers!
    I see everything from battery chargers, generators, lawn mowers, inverters, converters, etc………. all these little chargers for razers, blowers, mixers, everything battery powered that needs charged. Who has a second cell phone stashed in a faraday cage? I don’t think reality can be envisioned or the severity of this event. Who we going to talk to? Really think those towers will still be up & running? How about the old battery switchboards & telephones? How many of those do we still have around? Better get looking for-um. Its called a “land line”.
    If this is a man made event, wake up, its actually designed to work, not an experiment. If it is a natural event, we may have 50% failure, of course it will still be a catastrophe. When this event happens, who we going to call? FEMA? DHS?

    1. sixpense… No need to apologize for being confused. Yes, surely an all encompassing massive EMP will result in little use for many of the electronic products that we have become accustomed to, or even dependent upon. Attempting to protect such things may prove futile. During a total collapse, life would change so drastically that electronics would not matter much for quite awhile. Having said that, there are devices that would prove useful for a time afterwards. Also, a variable may be the severity of the event, which might not be ‘total’, such that your efforts to protect some equipment or electronic devices may prove useful.

      A good thought process is to think about ‘what’ devices to protect in a Faraday cage, just in case. As you mentioned, cell phones would pretty much be useless given the fact that the networks and transmitting towers will be down. But how about a decent pair of 2-way radios? They are ‘stand alone’ and will work just fine afterward. There are other examples too… food for thought.

      1. @sixpense: My thoughts were to keep a solar battery charger (12 volt kind), a small inverter, a small TV with DVD player or laptop, a hand crank multiband radio, and a corded land line phone. The battery charger would work to charge the battery on my travel trailer and the inverter would run the TV or say my mixer with the grinder attachments which is not electronic. We could use the TV or laptop to watch movies (DVD’s) or listen to music. I figure everything that is dependent on a system like cable, internet or cell towers would prove useless at least for a while, maybe forever. I already have a corded land line phone because we live in tornado alley and the electricity goes out ALOT. They call all the landlines when there is a tornado warning for where you live. With no electricity you can not see the radar or even have a cordless phone to work. We are used to that already.

  3. Re the survival seeds I’ve seen advertised: hungry people will be stealing garden food. What will be the use of all the work of growing your own food? The only exception would seem to be gardens far away from anyone.

    1. @George, Hungry people will do all sorts of things to eat and survive. Desperate people do desperate things. If you know that, you can prepare for that. There are quite a number of ways to prepare for that. Certainly, if you live in a population dense area, and have a garden, you will be hard pressed to protect it. ‘Where you live’, is a primary factor, and you will have to adjust your plans accordingly. Like I said, so long as you ‘know’ that desperate people will do desperate things, you can then ‘think’ about the scenarios and plan for them.

  4. Exposed solar cells will be one of the first things to be affected by a EMP.

  5. It does not matter what you “have” if there is an EMP or whether it survives. The have nots will quickly overrun you.

    And if there is an EMP “attack” remember these two words: inside job.

  6. Just make sure that Jesus is in your prep kit. No one can take that from you…but you.

  7. Christine wrote: “My thoughts were to keep a solar battery charger (12 volt kind), a small inverter, a small TV with DVD player or laptop, a hand crank multiband radio, ” If you don’t mind Christine, could you please elaborate, and I apologize for my ignorance: What kind of a battery/where to buy it, inverter/what kind/ where to buy it, and what brand of hand crank multi band radio. I bought a radio and it was junk. I would also like to have this back up system you mention but would appreciate specifics? Thanks ahead of time for a response. George

    1. George, I am still researching the different brands. Right now I have a little inverter that plugs into a cigarette lighter (I got off of Ebay) and since my travel trailer has those kind of plug ins I could use it. I have looked at several solar chargers for my TT and have not made up my mind yet. I too got a hand crank radio that is quite difficult to use but it does work. It was a chinky one my hubby got for free from Newsmax. First thing I had to fix the tuner wire on it! My dad is a truck driver and he has always had a large inverter in his truck to run a microwave, TV, and/or fridge off of. That was the kind I was considering.
      Ken Maybe you have some ideas on brands with reviews…

      Also Ken here is a question for you… It’s kind of off the wall…I have a 30 ft travel trailer that is alluminum. I store my food and age my cheese in there so I have all of the windows sealed with foil, no cracks. Also all of the roof vents to keep out the sunlight and the heat. I wonder if that would afford any protection at all. I kind of doubt it but Just a thought.

      1. Regarding George’s questions, I believe that everyone’s needs are different, and the ‘which exact model’ and ‘where exactly to buy’, are things left best to the individual. The fact is, there are many many good choices, along with the fact that having ‘any’ of it is better than none at all.

        The choice one makes for Chargers and Inverters will depend entirely upon the demands that are expected to be put on them. What will they be used for? What’s the current draw? Voltage? Length of operation? Questions like those need to be asked…and understood. Also, get to know the ratings. And what the ratings mean. It’s a process of self-education. Let Google be your friend during your research phase.

        When it comes to actual products, their reviews and popularity, I often turn to Amazon for ratings, and to read about them. Whether you purchase from them is your choice, but they are a good resource of information and people’s opinions nonetheless.

        Take a look at some of our advertisers, some of which sell products that George mentioned. CampingSurvival.com has lots to pick from, for example. ReadyMadeResources.com is another. Browse. Get ideas. Learn your options and choices. You will be better off knowing, than simply being told what to buy.

        Now regarding your question Christine, your aluminum trailer will provide protection IF there are no gaps. The foil on the windows would have to be electrically connected with the aluminum of the sides. Screen would work too. What about the floor and the ceiling though? I suspect there are unseen ‘non-conducting’ gaps that would leak the EMP. You would have to know the internal construction. The entire circumference would have to be contiguously conductive and sealed. Therein lies the potential problem…

        1. That answers my question… I know that I have the foil connected to the alluminum because it is over the frame of the window which is then screwed to the alum on the outside, same with the roof vents. I had not thought about the floor and have no idea but I guess I can put foil backed insulation under there and then use metal duct tape (the foil kind) to attach it to the aluminum shell, just to be sure. I think also I would have to foil over the heater and water heater vents on the side. Working on a big huge faraday cage that may or may not work. I will be safe and keep the really important things in the 55 gallon drum. But hey if the stuff inside the trailer stays safe then that would be a big blessing…There is a microwave and a fridge in there!!!

      2. I have a pump up BB gun ,, i can pump it 10 times and shoot all the way through my camper ,,,,,,
        (I did it by accident) !!! It put an 1/8″ hole beside the front door an came out the backside of it ,,,,,,, just not safe when bullets start flying

  8. there is nothing you can do I agree with (its all fake) lol. there is no telling. but if a E M P were to happen it would over run us faster than our heads could spin. also not to mention the immense population growth. we would not be physically stable during this catastrophic event. you better know where your going because I do.

  9. once the power grid goes down you’d better learn to live without it pretty fast, whilst solar power might be a good back up it wont last forever, sure the panels can and do last for 3 decades or even more the inverters, electronics and the stuff you plug into wont.
    generators will only last as long as the fuel for them does, once that goes they are a glorified garden ornament.
    without power most of the population will not survive nor will they want to without their modern conveniences and lifestyle.
    survival is going to mean a lot of hard physical work and living like our grandparents and great grandparents did.

    1. Quote, “Without power most of the population will not survive…”

      That is a certainty. It really is incredible when you start to think deeply about the reliance on electricity and the consequences of being without it for a long period of time.

      1. electricity has only been in houses in my own country for less than 100 years yet most people these days rely on it entirely, it powers everything they do, without it they will be as helpless as little babies.
        some of us have lived without power before and can do again, its not hard to do but it means you have to adapt to the new situation, not yearn for what is no longer available, which unfortunately is what most will do.

  10. Ken,

    thank you for this blog and for ll the info I learned from this discussion. It helped me realize how unprepared I am in case the power goes down and it also opened my mind as to the society I live in – unsafe, unsustainable, unfriendly (to the environment, other species, and our own species).

    It is mind blowing to realize how we built a society that cannot last more than a few weeks without electricity. I looked around my area and there are no water wells where I could get water in case the water system failed. There is no orchard to get fruit from, no garden with soil ready to plant, no chickens (:)), nothing.

    And I look at my state’s emergency website and they all say to have a kit for 72hrs! What a joke!!! As if anybody would come rescue us in 72 hrs…??????!!!!!!!!

    What did we do as society in the past 50 years? We broke meaningful community ties and relationships between people (no families, no “tribes” anymore), we destroyed the planet, and we forgot how to live self-sufficiently. We just play with dollar bills, swipe cards, and click on devices all day long, so removed from anything REAL.

    I’m sorry for venting – I’m new to this and things just started to sink in. I’m learning a lot from these blogs and I will start to gather info and materials that I find are most efficient (for finding water, food, starting a fire, etc).

    I come from Europe and there they still have public water pumps every few blocks in cities and villlages, and fruit trees and veggie gardens in most house yards…many people raise chickens in the city…so without power they would be fine. not here though…

    What can we do in our local communities – besides preparing ourselves – to change this situation? I just moved in a condo community, a bit crammed, and where most neighbors don’t even say hi back…uh…

    Thanks and happy holidays!

    1. You summed it up pretty well. The process of having gotten to where we are has been long and deliberate. Therefore there are no quick fixes to change the way things are (the inherent systemic risks due to ‘modernization’, globalization, and our having moved away from personal responsibility and independence).

      This is why many of us prepare. We see the risks and do the best we can…

    2. @ mcor

      Good post, and welcome to the MSB community
      Please feel free to ask for any information, someone I’m sure will be able to help.


  11. Thanks, Ken and NRP! I’m overwhelmed with info at the moment – trying to put things in categories, prioritize, and see what I need to buy/learn. I just learned how to make a fire with road flares or with fire rod (from the youtube video posted on these blogs) – I’m so so excited!!!!

    Out of all things I learned over many years in school this is the first very useful thing I learned!!! Hmmm…and I’m a teacher…hmmmm….so this whole thing is making me ask myself even *deeper* what am I actually teaching those teenagers….

    It is scary to realize that besides the daily battle to survive the monetary system (pay bills, play the game of work/slavery to keep food on the table), there is another more primal and more important survival battle that I wasn’t even aware of until now…

    We can’t build a thriving society on “life support” – this is how I see society now: depending on the “tube”. Once the “tube” is pulled out, we get the worst animalistic behavior to surface in humans and we are back to cave men society. What does all the technology and the “advancements” serve for then?

    Thanks for doing what you do,

    1. @ mcor

      Give the credit where the credit is due, Ken, the old fart does a FANTASTIC job here on MSB.
      I’m just a tag-along that has a hard time keeping my mouth shut… HAHAHA
      AKA; TP king… LOLOL
      Again, welcome to the “nut house” :-)


      PS; get the two books Ken has in the Library, both “Light’s Out” a real eye opener.

  12. NRP, I’d say you are not too shabby either :)…

    I checked the two light outs books – they seem very interesting and through them I can also introduce my kids to this “concept” without sitting them down and giving them “the talk”.
    We’ll have something meatier to discuss at dinner table all these long winter months… Thanks for the pointers!


    p.s. I’m feeling good in the “nut house”. I wonder why…

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