Are You Ready Series: Rolling Blackouts and Power Outages

by | Jan 15, 2014 | Headline News | 198 comments


This article has been contributed by Tess Pennington and is part of the Are You Ready? series, which examines and provides preparedness solutions for a variety of natural and man-made disaster scenarios including pandemic, nuclear emergencies, and mass evacuations. Tess is also the author of the popular Prepper’s Cookbook.

The U.S. power grid, as it exists today, is dying a slow and miserable death. Experts in the private and public sector are also concerned about the weakness of the grid and suggest we are one major catastrophic event away from a complete meltdown in America.

Historical Cases

The largest blackout that occurred in U.S. history was on August 14, 2003, leaving over 50 million people without power in the Northeast, Midwest and parts of Canada. The blackout’s primary cause was a software bug in the alarm system at a control room of the FirstEnergy Corporation in Ohio. Operators were unaware of the need to re-distribute power after overloaded transmission lines hit unpruned foliage. What would have been a manageable local blackout cascaded into widespread distress on the electric grid.

In 2012, the San Diego Gas & Electric Company shut down, affecting power in Southern California and Arizona. The blackout affected 1.4 million homes and 5 to 6 million people. Flights out of San Diego International Airport were suspended. There were people trapped in elevators, cell phones and land lines went dead making it impossible to call for help. Moreover, gas stations were shut down.

Most recently, the Polar Vortex is threatening rolling blackouts as well due to the heightened demand from utility companies. Operators of the electric grid have urged consumers to conserve power to help overcome a potentially devastating combination of record demand and unexpected supply disruptions, both caused by the extreme cold enveloping much of the country. If voluntary conservation is not followed, then rolling blackouts will occur.

This outdated and aged infrastructure has been in need of a major update for decades; however, instead of investing in a new, more efficient power grid that utilizes renewable power sources (such as solar and wind), regulators instead chose to patch it up to make it work for the time being. This “duct taped” approach is no match for the constant power stream needed to keep population dense areas functioning or for the extreme weather we have experienced over the last decade.

Image via NPR

Our grid is long overdue for investment and upgrades. Begun in the early 1900’s when the power system consisted of large, isolated power plants, our current grid is ill-equipped to serve smaller, innovative solar or wind facilities. The majority of the existing system was built more than 30 years ago and has only received incremental investment since. Today, 70 percent of the lines and large power transformers are more than 25 years old, and we don’t have enough of them in areas of the country with the best new energy resources. (Source)

There is No Official U.S. Power Grid

To begin, our grid is really three interconnected grids: the eastern, western and Texas interconnection, that are each independently owned and operated by different power plants and transmission lines. This privatization can only lead to further issues down the line. In this article, the author writes, “Similarly, while many countries have privatized the distribution sector and introduced some competition between retailers, retail tariffs and other matters such as safety, reliability and customer service have remained under regulatory oversight specific to the electricity industry. (Source)

National Power Grid

How Rolling Blackouts Affect Us

A “rolling blackout” typically occurs due to a weather-related event. However, there are other issues at play that can cause these blackouts to occur. Faulty software, and manmade disasters (i.e., cyber attacks, EMPs) can also cause the grid to go down for a given period of time, as seen in 2003′s grid debacle. This puts stress of the other electrical grids who then compensate for the loss of energy to that existing grid. When these events take place, there is an overwhelming increase of power in homes and commerce to either generate heat, air conditioning or electricity. When this need overwhelms the grid, the utility company intentionally “shuts off the power to an area in order to reduce the load on an electricity generation and grid. The utility company turns it back on, and then shuts the power off in a different area, with outages in any given area typically lasting 60 to 90 minutes, according to the California Energy Commission. This is a last resort measure of utility companies to avoid an even worse situation — a total power blackout.

Rolling blackouts go beyond sitting in the dark at home waiting for the power to come back on. They affect our commerce, our transportation systems and our overall infrastructure. Electric equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs), credit card processing units and elevators may not work during the power outage. Traffic signals will be down thus causing traffic delays.

What About Renewable Energy?

Although renewable energy such as solar and wind play a part in adding to the grid, the U.S. grid is so old and outdated it can’t handle the influx of wind power and other intermittent renewable resources.

There is an even more pressing problem, according to this article in the New York Times: the grid isn’t big enough. The wind tends to blow strongest in places, such as North and South Dakota, that are far from where people live and use electricity. And no one wants to spend the millions of dollars it would take to put in a new transmission line (not to mention the legal headache of getting all those rights of way). (Source)

Prepare for the Problem

As long as the power grid remains in its current state, we must open our eyes to the reality that rolling blackouts will continue to be a regular part of dealing with disasters. Like all disaster preparedness, there are ways to insulate yourself and prepare your homes and family for the reality of this inconvenient truth.

  1. Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.
  2. Look into alternative power sources to supply your home with power.
  3. Have ways to prepare food off the grid.
  4. Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
  5. Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  6. Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.
  7. Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.
  8. Have money on hand in case stores are not processing credit cards.
Further, take steps to prepare your home and yourself for different events that may cause rolling blackouts.

In the Home

  • Learn out to protect your food supply when the power is out. To be proactive, begin using perishable foods in the freezer and refrigerator to minimize food spoilage. Also, to keep items as cool as possible during rolling black, limit the amount of times the refrigerator or freezer door is opened. If you are concerned that the meat may spoil, preserve it beforehand, by either the canning method or the dehydration method.
  • Freeze soda bottles filled with water and when the rolling blackouts occur, place the frozen soda bottles in the refrigerator to maintain the optimum temperature.
  • Stay indoors and try and keep your body temperature as normal as possible.
  • Close window blinds and curtains to keep the heat out.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to keep your food as fresh as possible.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics in use when the power went out. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage computers as well as motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace.
  • Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
  • Leave on one light so that you’ll know when your power returns.
  • Use the phone for emergencies only. Listen to a portable radio for the latest information.
Maintain Your Core Body Temperature
  • Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. Click here for tips on how to stay cool during rolling blackouts. If the power is off for long periods of time, consider getting out of the house. Go to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
  • Provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.

The grid’s aging infrastructure, combined with a rise in domestic electricity consumption and extreme weather issues has forced experts to critically examine the status and health of the nation’s electrical systems. Rolling blackouts will no longer be a phenomenon, but a regular occurrence. Thus taking us into third world country living conditions. Welcome to the new America.


Prepper's Cookbook

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at You can also visit Tess’ Facebook page.

If you enjoyed this article and found it of value, please consider casting a vote for Ready Nutrition as a Top Prepper web site.

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    1. Azam

      More power outages. I was one of the lucky ones. I bought a generator the summer before Sandy. I was one of the few people who had power during the event. I was able to watch the local news to see everything that was happening. The pictures in my area were devastating. I spent 3 days home from work cutting up fallen trees. IT was pretty scary the power goes out and the crooks come out. I stayed home from work to protect my house and family because once the power went put the robberies started. I was able to charge my security system it will give me that extra warning. Good luck all.

      • Jim Smith

        I too lived through four hurricanes in six weeks in Tampa, FL back in 2005 (IIRC). I was the only one with a generator in my neighborhood and was well stocked as a beginner prepper. People were driving around stealing generators (they could hear them running). It was very quiet except for generators and vehicles. I powered my appliances and two neighbors appliances through very long extension cords. I had my generator in my garage with the exhaust ported outside and the garage door open. I sat in my lawn chair next to my generator and cooked my meals in the garage on a Coleman camp two burner stove. My AR15 leaned against the opening of my garage so anyone driving by could see it clearly. I wasn’t going to be an easy target.
        As for garage doors not working there are a few models with backup batteries. The battery is a small UPS battery that should cycle the door about 25 times but a better solution is to connect a full size car battery to the backup battery connections in the garage door motor system and connect a battery tender to the car battery to keep it fully charged.
        Keep Prepping!

        • oldvet

          It was 2004!!!!

      • Unreconstructed Southron

        ‘Rolling blackouts?’ Isn’t that the game they’ve been playin’ in the ‘hood lately.

        • Azam

          More black outs in my area doesent help. I cant believe how bad my area gets when the power goes down. I think i live in a very nice middle class neighborhood in a good school district. That’s why i bought my home there. Unfortunately i have a chiropractors office next to me. Some dumb criminals were trying to break in there in middle of the day when the power was out. Really they were probably looking for drugs which they don’t have. It use to be pretty bad before he moved in because it was a animals hospital before for over 20 years and it got broken into by junkies for years looking for a high.

          I guess what i am really getting at is when the power goes out its really no holds bar. Its everyone for themselves. Especially when people shutdown there generators for the night.

          In my opinion everyone should invest in the cheap dollar store stick on alarm sensors for doors and windows in events like these. I know its not going to stop someone breaking in but it will give you a warning to be locked and load so you can stop them.

          • lonelonmum

            My rec is to invest in a dog!

            Even a wee little Jack Russell terrier (for apartment dwellers & those with no budget to feed a large animal) will prove it’s worth in a grid down situation.

            A dog will warn of more dangers than just the gang bangers we all fear. A dog will warn of a leaking gas pipe, or distant but closing in fast wildfire in time to save your life too.

            A good dog will give you fair warning when a previously trusted member of your inner circle is about to screw you over. Hardship often brings out the true colours in individuals previously thought to be morally above reproach. Your next door Pastor neighbour, making a pass at your teen daughter in the dark or stealing from your pantry after you invited him to have a cup of tea? A good dog will shut that shit down before it starts ; )

      • countrygirl

        Not a great article. I guess if I lived in the city and didn’t have a wood stove this would concern me. We were without electricity for two weeks and it was fun.

        • Jasmine

          Agreed not a great article, perhaps for another reason. Solar does not pay, it is not cost effective which is why the Guvment bribes us with subsidies and tax credits trying to get us to go solar. Wind works, but as with solar, it is intermittent and does not supply a constant flow of power through the grid and must be closely managed in order to keep the system operating smoothly. It is a royal pain to have to deal with wind turbines as they begin to turn and generate and to bring them on line. Then the reverse process happens as the wind dies down. Natural gas, or coal, can provide a constant source of power through the grid as can nuclear. Tess, stick to articles on prepping and get off of this subject as you are uninformed, and you do not have first hand experience. And I do, and I will add that my daughter is a coal miner and the EPA just gave their coal fired plant a clean bill of health, and they are ahead of the game in managing particulate matter and thereby are exceeding emission standards, UNLIKE BEJING COMMUNIST CHINA where citizens were told to stay inside because of smog. If the effin environmentalist wackos didn’t fight every transmission line being built, and if our Communist President hadn’t vowed to “bankrupt” any coal fired power plant wanting to come on line we might not be in the pickle we are in with an aging grid. Furthermore,one of the long time complaints that the effin environmental wackos had against transmission lines was the birds being killed when they flew into the wires. But their wind farms, (Have you been to southern Wyoming lately? didn’t think so) are now killing eagles so they’re thinking it might be time to do away with wind farms. Bring on the thumbs down.

            • Jasmine

              Here is some more information:


              “Washington (AFP) – Historic subsidies propping up US wind energy ended on January 1 and Congress refused to renew them, despite supporters arguing that the aid has made renewable power cheaper than coal.

              The United States has subsidized wind-sourced electricity since 1992 to promotes the use of green energy and crack America’s dependence on the fossil fuels blamed for climate change.”

              Let me simplify this: Subsidies are needed to make wind power cheaper than coal power,and where do the subsidies come from? taxpayers. This means we may have a lower power bill because our supplier uses wind power, but we pay for it with higher taxes needed for the subsidy. Either way the alternative energy costs more to produce let alone manage.

              Because of man caused climate change? CO2 is causing an ice age, no it’s causing global warming????

              If a business cannot compete/survive without taxpayer subsidies let the business die. US Mail, Amtrak, etc. We do not need a redistribution of wealth to provide funds to prop up a failing industry, a cost ineffective industry.

          • The Old Coach

            Jasmine touches on an issue that power engineers are only too aware of – that wind farms actively destabilize the grid by their large and frequent fluctuations of input to the grid. Every variation in their contribution must be instantly compensated by increasing or decreasing input from a base-load plant. In simple terms this means that base-load plant operators are forced to constantly jockey their throttles to keep their turbines spinning at the right RPM. Power grid operators are writing in trade magazines that it’s bad now, and that doubling the windfarms will more than double to probability of instability-induced blackouts.

            An interesting scrap of shareware is:

            Which lets you see the grid frequency at a monitoring station, and watch it fluctuate as the various power generating plants adjust their output.

            • Mike in VA

              I have a lot to say on this subject. I work in the power industry in a power plant.
              The blackout in early 2000 caused the government to get involved to try to enhance reliability. All power producers were forced to join a government created organization that controls the power production in there area. They monitor the frequency of the grid at all times. Frequency is the speed of the generators. If the frequency drops then it means the voltage is decreasing on the grid. I think there are six of these organizations. They control which generator starts, shuts down, or load controls. Load control is when they send a signal to the generator and control what load it produces from there location. You set a band on your unit and the unit changes the amount of electricity produced constantly from a signal that is sent from the government organization. This is done to maintain a steady frequency.
              Regarding the big blackout. There were procedures in place that should have been followed and were not by some company’s. The only reason the whole country did not go dark was because some company’s did go by procedure. My company disconnected from the northern grid which prevented Virginia and areas south from going in the dark. All stations have alarms that come in if the voltage starts to decay. You raise your output of electricity when you get the first alarm to try to stabilize the grid. If a second alarm happens then you trip your unit after 30 seconds. There is a 3rd alarm that comes in. IF that comes in your trip your unit immediately.
              Regarding everyone’s electric bill. Hold on to your wallet. The government has forced the closer of hundreds of coal fired power plants. Some are being converted to natural gas. The recent cold spell did cause some voltage alerts to go out. All nonessential areas were told to shut off there lights and computers. This was done not only to conserve power but to make more of the almighty dollar. The cost of a megawatt on the marked went up to around 1900.00 dollars. A megawatt is enough power for about 250 homes. The cost is going to skyrocket. Sorry folks.

              • tayronachan

                Thanks for that last little nugget of info.

      • Man on the inside

        I am sure enjoying the soloar panels and three “Mikes windmills”…… and the two generators (1 large, 1 small). Prep folks….. get rid of debt, sell some stuff and get the stuff you realy need… 20 months…… PRAY, PLAN, PREP, FORM TEAMS.

      • Donald Duck

        Are you Series??? Go back to school and learn how to spell.

      • Arizona Fred

        I went to Mexico yesterday, and purchased multiple packs of Tamiflu
        I attempted to buy Cipro, as it is the only known antidote to Anthrax.

        I was told that the border patrol/ customs cut off all Cipro going into the USA.

        I spoke to an ER nurse, who turned white when I told her, saying only

        Something BIG is going to happen, that is the ONLY time, APPROVED drugs are banned.

        Glad to get out with my Tamiflu …

    2. Highspeedloafer

      Great article. My power hasn’t really been out any in the last 17 years. I don’t look forward to this scenario playing out. However, I think I could make it through something like this as far as cooking, heat… but it will be tough.

      • Gods Creation

        All you really need is a small amount of electricity that can easily be generated with a couple of solar panels and stored in a couple of batteries.

        There are alternatives for lighting such as oil lamps. Heat in the winter is easy enough with wood, propane or kerosene. Cooling can be dome with well placed fans that require little electricity.

        Most electricity, much like food here in the US, is wasted or not put to it’s best use. When the grid goes down, everyone will see how wasteful they have been and how much better they can do things when FORCED. What will happen is that people will again be forced to take care of their own needs, which is as it should be.

        And as an added bonus, you will no longer have those large electric bills to pay every month. That is less you have to work for the corp, and less of your labor it can steal.

        When the grid goes down, the corp will also go down and freedom might just gain a foothold as people actively protect what they work for in the support of their own needs.

        The old days will be the new days. Most of those caught in the rat race now will be amazed at how enjoyable the simple life can be.

        • Be informed

          I look up at that Sun and the entire grid can go down, maybe forever if society can’t recover. A solar EMP is going to wipe out long wire, but will leave the regular generators alone. The nuclear EMP is what will fry almost all electronic. One of the best bits of advice I ever saw was to get one of those propane fueled electric generators. They come in duel use also that will run off gasoline and/or even diesel. After SHTF there will be abandoned propane tanks all over your city from people that use them for backyard barbeques and no longer are alive or at their homes. This could supply someone will long term electricity after a mega SHTF event.

          One of the best bits of advice really is to get ready to live without electricity. Learn to do what is necessary without the grid. It may sound absurd, but someone could practice this by turning off the power in their home for a night or weekend and do this often to see what it is like and how you can function without electricity. Of course essential items could be left on, such as sump pumps in high water table homes, and leaving the hot water heater if you want to if it is on electricity. Many people in storm prone areas get this experience of power outages every year and have prepared accordingly.

          It is never a bad idea to prepare by actually experiencing what it is like. Many people may feel there are ready for such events, but never have really gone through it.

          • KY Mom

            Be informed,

            I agree. Learn how to and become less dependent on the grid.

            The grid is aging and vulnerable.

            The American Society of Civil Engineers recently published a review of our national energy infrastructure, which includes oil and gas production/distribution as well as the electric grids. It received a D+ rating.

            “Our world-class economy and modern society cannot be sustained with our current infrastructure.”

            “infrastructure in poor to fair condition and mostly below standard, with many elements approaching the end of their service life. A large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration. Condition and capacity are of significant concern with a strong risk of failure.”
            -Smart Grid Library dot com

            “The power grid has morphed in size tenfold during the past 50 years. While solar flares, cyber attacks, and an EMP are perhaps the most extensive and frightening threats to the electrical system, the infrastructure could just as easily fail in large portions due to weather-related events.

            The power grid is basically a ticking time bomb which will spawn civil unrest, lack of food, clean water, and a multitude of fires if it does go down.”
            -Off The Grid News dot com

              • Facebook Page

                And again no original thought or personal input.

            • Me here

              2 words: Goal Zero.
              Google it and check it out!

              • Chilton

                Yeah they make good quality simple to use systems. I keep the small 2 panel one to charge AA / AAA / USB Out in my truck. Also have 4 of the 30 watt brief case type.

              • Shooter

                The antichrist walks the earth.

                • Slick One

                  Well if the anti Christ does come, he better bring his own generator and solar cause I aint sharing.

              • AZClimber

                Take it from an early goal zero enthusiast… there generators are in dire need of some R&D. Their own manual says running them below 30% drastically reduces the already short battery life, extremely heavy, and discharges at a rapid rate when not in use. There are much better options, speciffically building your own.

            • Peterson

              More ripped off crap huh KFC?

              • NorthGeorgiaIdiotsCousin

                Pete! My Cuz ain’t gonna tolerate this. Your awful close to crossing the line. But sometime my Cus Is alot like Obammy when it comes to crossing the line. He may or may not react.

              • 1braveheart


              • 1braveheart


              • BadAmerican


                ….i bet your butthole wishes it was still virgin…..

            • Hoosierboy

              KY Mom, you impress me with having quite a bit of knowledge. What other sites do you recommend for becoming informed about prepping?

              • Facebook Page

                She has no knowledge she just copies what other people think is good info.

                She often post to quick so the story is incomplete. She follow a few and repost know over the edge idiots and she never adds anything to the discussion.

          • Prepper

            BI, I read somewhere that in an EMP causes transformers to be destroyed. Those are the cylindrical cans you see at the top of telephone poles. Those transformers are only made overseas and they require a lead time of YEARS when everything is “normal”. In the event thousands or millions go out simultaneously, we are looking at decades to replace them. That is, assuming they can restore local power to the factory where they are made, since machine tools require electricity.

            To make matters worse, nuclear powerplants that lose their external source of electricity cannot be restarted. That is to say, it takes electricity from a grid to commission a nuke. So if their control systems are fried and the grid goes down, it’s anyone’s guess when or even IF the grid can come back up.

            I see a future of agrarian self-contained communities like those in the 1800’s. Instead of going back to the future, I see the future going back to the past.

            • Vicky

              I see this, too, IF there is an EMP of any kind. We invested in “Alladin” brand lamps which give off the most light of the type, and also invested in black out curtains and blinds. The only problem with Alladins is that they give off a LOT of heat, good in winter, not so good in summer. They are also pricey. We have many Amish in our area which is how we learned about this brand. We also have six “Hurricane” style lamps, but learned from the Amish that they can be a problem in the barn in case of accidents. Even today’s 911 system couldn’t get the fire department out in time to save a barn, much less when it’s you and your spouse trying to extinguish a blaze set by an over-turned lantern. I would miss instant light and the internet, but otherwise, we’re good to go. Just get it on before we get any older.

              • Vicky

                I’m replying to my own post because instead of rambling, I meant to advise to practice, practice, practice! We used the lamps for one week and I found out just how important it was to trim the wick the best way. We have a wood stove, and it took several tries to get edible beans and rice produced. Same with our “Volcano” stove. It does a pretty good job, but I wouldn’t want a bunch of hungry people standing around waiting for me to learn how to cook on it. Practice so you don’t have the stress of learning on top of the stress of doing without.

          • JAS

            Be Informed–a generator is a great item to have, but if it a large EMP event that takes down the grid, most all generators will be toast as well. They are pretty much all electronically controlled and will be taken out by an EMP. My suggestion is to get the smallest generator you can get by with and then keep it stored in a good Faraday cage or grounded metal box. The same goes for solar and wind applications. The electronic components of the system are subject to be fried.

            • Ga Doc

              Most home-sized generators are enclosed in a grounded metal structure and the power lines (at least at our place) are underground which will hopefully protect it from EMP. Don’t really look forward to having it tested though.

              • Crow

                I don’t think the generator enclosure will act as a Faraday Cage. The engine and generator typically have venting. A Faraday cage must be continuous, the venting would allow electro-magnetic radiation into the components, unless they are otherwise shielded.

            • skeptic

              try a lister cold start diesel. No wire involved as far as the engine is concerned. They start on compression and burn a miserly amount of diesel. Also run on bio diesel or waste vegetable oil. I would imagine that a few of you have these and I would like to hear from you.

          • slingshot

            Are you scared of the dark?

            I agree with Be Informed that a good practice is to try doing things without power. Flashlights, Gas lanterns or Zippo lighter.
            Those who hook their generators to the home circuit better have the right hook up. You can Kill the Lineman trying to restore power to your home. Then if you are on the circuit and the power comes on, you can fry your generator. Might burn your house down. Please be careful.
            Another item to be used correctly are inverters. Those too can Kill you. Be aware of moisture around them but we have used them by attaching them to car batteries. Insure your leads are of heavy gage wire for 2-3000 watt type, they will heat up and BURN the coating.
            The main problem with lost of power beside sump pumps is your fridge or deep freezer. I keep Blue ice inside the freezer and you can help keep them cold by packing newspaper in the voids. Open them only when you need to do. If you have a generator you can bounce back and forth between them for short periods of time depending on the size of your appliances.
            There is so much at our fingertips to light, heat and cook. Battery power, generator, white gas, propane firewood and charcoal. Please no charcoal in the home. Outside only. Charcoal lighter and white gas have their own dangers to consider when used. If you have stored charcoal lighter or lamp oil in plastic containers, be aware the container becomes brittle over time and just by a slight squeeze, can burst the container, leaving you with a fire hazard. When heating your home by kerosene heating always fill outside and when they are cold. Beware of combustible material around them and heat projection. Careful not to tip them over. Propane heaters get real hot and the small disc ones are burn hazards. Ventilation is needed for all of them. A fire extinguisher is a good item to have around the house.
            Chemical lights are the favorite of small children. Get them at the Dollar Store. Place one in the bathroom for them at night.

            • Anonymous

              Solar landscape lights are a great light source. Just take the stake and stem off.

          • John W.

            A propane powered refrigerator will be worth its’ weight in gold. One of the larger propane tanks will keep it running for a couple of weeks. Also a four deep cycle batteries four 250 watt solar panels off grid solar system if you live in the Southwest will run quite a few essentials like LED lighting and small freezers.

          • buttcrackofdoom

            one thing that helps when power is out is to have a CHEST freezer…years ago there was a refridgerator commercial where they filled it with ping pong balls and when it’s opened, all the balls fall out! that’s what happens to your COLD air when the door’s opened on the fridge(or upright freezer). i got MY lesson a few years ago when i moved into my new house i plugged the chest freezer in and then realized i wanted it in a different place and when i moved it i forgot to plug it back in!….i had memory recall 2 or 3 days later and rushed out to the garage thinking all that food would be ruined, completely thawed out…i was quite surprised to find all of the stuff still semi-solid…probly wouldn’t take but an hour or two a day on the generator to keep up with a freezer.

          • RandomTangent1957

            It’s a “cold water heater” …..if the water was hot, you would not need to heat it …. LOL !
            Just sayin
            Standing by in
            Montgomery County Texas

        • Jim Smith

          Good points but I believe you are off track on the electric or power bill cost. The plan of the Obama Regime is to make power extremely expensive to levels as high as four times what we currently pay. With the high cost of power everything else will also increase in cost and we won’t be able to afford to run anything in our homes. It’s going to get much worse in the next three years.

          • sixpack

            Agreed. Obummer has already, openly and publicly, stated this intention. It’s really not up for debate.

          • no justice

            I thought about this the other day. Zero stated “the rates will necessarily skyrocket” think about this. Most people thought he said rates will not necessarily skyrocket. Why do I think this; why would he say “necessarily” when it is in fact, not necessary? Doublespeak, which no one caught. He is wrecking the coal industry, the lead smelters, and now wants to raise electric? Wait until the tax comes for burning wood, if you still can. Dumb Americans had better wake up, or the country their fathers and uncles, and grandfathers died for will be gone.

          • John W.

            He told them that the price of electricity would skyrocket yet millions of morons who barely get by now financially still voted for him. This country is now a collection of morons with no clue how to survive.

        • JayJay

          {{{Most electricity, much like food here in the US, is wasted or not put to it’s best use. When the grid goes down, everyone will see how wasteful they have been and how much better they can do things when FORCED.}}}

          Like wearing those clothes more than 3 hours?
          Oh, are these young’uns gonna get a harsh reality check.
          I can tell you Gene and I have more than 3 weeks of undies in the drawers and packages not even open bought on sale.
          Laundry will not be a problem if we have a blackout.

          • sixpack

            “When the grid goes down, everyone will see how wasteful they have been and how much better they can do things when FORCED”

            Nah, I don’t think so JayJay. I live next door to a “Gimme Dat”. They’ll take a victim stance and start out complaining and bumming things. When they run out of “donations”, then they’ll get mad because they don’t have what they think they need. It will be everyone on the planet’s fault BUT THEIRS.

            I know people tend to lump “gimme dats” into the sheeple category, but I think they’re two distinctly different species.

            I think there’s a defining difference between “sheeple” and “gimme dats”. Sheeple just see their situation as “unfortunate” and figure someone will be along to save them from their own stupidity, while “gimme dats” think the world “owes” them the amenities to which they have become accustomed.

            While any living thing can become dangerous when they are in survival mode, the “Gimme Dats” don’t really need to be in survival mode to be dangerous— all they have to do is not have something they think they’re entitled to.

            I’d put them in distinct categories:

            A) Maybe I can talk my way through this situation and shoot only if I have to;

            B) Shoot first and never mind the questions.

            It should be fairly easy to decide who goes into what category.

            • 1braveheart

              Sixpack, I agree. I’ve got something for the ‘gimme dats’, but if the ‘sheeple’ try to turn into ‘gimme dats’, the same thing applies to them also. braveheart

              • sixpack

                Yep. My sentiments exactly.

            • ready down under

              Sixpack and Brave – spot on. The gimme dats” are initially the dangerous ones. They are the ones to start of looting and progressing to more serious stuff – muggings, home invasions and there is only one way to deal with them. The sheeple can turn bad, and a lot probably will, but like you said Six – they’ll sit around waiting for the Gubbermint to fix things for them.


            • SWIFT

              My wife and I live on a small farm. Once I finally close the gate, EVERYONE becomes a Gime Dat, real or imagined. Did I forget to say dead?

      • DRD5508

        Agree Highspeed. This article does present a good bases for prepping.

    3. BigB

      More of the destabilization of America. The continued decline of what was once the greatest Nation in the world. Now sunk by political correctness and outside interests.


      • RickInOregon

        This article is all over the place. To start, it seems to justify Obama’s statement that your electrical rate will go up. Here is how, in the article it states that the grid is in private ownership and that in other nations that the grid is a government entity. So the solution for fixing the grid is to nationalize the grid. A new gird tax will come about, a new bureaucracy will be created, staffed by public employee unions, created with the same efficiency as Obama care and works as a tool for the politicians to get rich with and to punish those that they disagree with. They can’t fill potholes, they create traffic jams childish political reasons. Yeah, it’s a good idea to nationalize the grid. Expect rolling blackouts when it’s union contract time.

        Next the article has some good tips on what to do when there’s blackouts.

        • hammerhead

          rick , before the grid can be nationalized we will need and “event”. And of course electric will be rationed.
          We now have google in charge of the smart meter technologies and google is working hand in hand with the NSA and homeland security.
          It aint a pretty picture for the future of affordable and reliable electric power.

          • RickInOregon

            Hammer, they’ve taken control of the healthcare system, the grid is now low hanging fruit. The money and the amount of government union workers it will bring in will be just too irresistible. The power it will give them to reward and punish is an opium for the politician. Plus it follows the pattern of progressive control of the country.

            • hammerhead

              yep , they got us by the nut sack with two hands.
              It would seem Agenda 21 could be realized if people dont wake up see the truth soon .
              Healthcare, surveilance, regulation , its pilin up like cordwood and fast .

            • John W.

              The nation will soon be made up of a majority third world population where having electricity for four hours a day is a luxury. The loss of power will not even bother them. They will still vote for the free stuff.

        • ready down under

          Hi Rick in Or

          Our power grids were in State Gubbermint hands but they got sold off to pay back Gubbermint debt (and they immediately maxed out the Mastercard again) and now there is stuff all left to seel. That means the only way to pay back debt is to take it off us. Good luck with that.

          What these morons (and the even bigger morons who voted for the big spenders) dont realise is money borrowed today is borrowed against tomorrows earnings. Unemployment goes up earnings come down. Just like your house and mine – some much coming in, only that amount to go out.

          Serious trouble starts when sixpacks “Gimmee Dats” demand a continuation of the “free stuff”.

          What happened to our power is what will soon happen to yours – massive increases in electricity cost. My retreat has seen a 300% increase in electricity cost in 4 years, mostly in the “supply” charge – the ripoff they hit you with just to have a line coming to your place. The electricity cost has gone up 100%, the rest is the supply.

          I’ll fix ’em – going off grid soon and they can stick their bills where the sun dont shine!


    4. Basstard

      Haven’t had a rolling blackout since I quit drinking and drivind

      • skeptic

        good humor hammerhead

    5. Phil

      Great article. You can purchase small solar powered spotlights at hardware stores, etc. When charged with sunlight during the day, they will provide some low level light for several hours at night.

      • KY Mom

        Solar powered garden lights are inexpensive. Bring them inside at night and set them in an empty flower pot or other container.

        *Bring solar lights inside if freezing rain or hail is forecast. We had hail here when the tornado hit. The hail ruined the solar unit on a number of the lights.

        • Wilson

          KY mom,
          I haven’t had much luck with mine lasting longer than about 4 hours of light. Maybe it’s that Harbor freight brand, or maybe crummy batteries. I would appreciate hearing from you and others about their brand, the battery type in the light, and any other suggestions.

          • Anonymous

            Change the crap batteries with a good rechargeable. That should do the trick. Mine last about 8 hrs

          • KY Mom


            I am not sure what brand the solar lights are. We bought them at an outlet store. The ones outside don’t have labels.

            The solar lights we have will stay lit all night long. Some are brighter than others.

            I will have to check the extra ones (still in boxes) in storage and get back to you.

          • Mountain Trekker

            Wilson, mine are just cheap WalMart lights. They will last from 5:30pm to 6:30am I think the main thing is they need to be placed where they get full sun from sunrise to sunset and probably need to be angled toward the South in the winter, not straight up. Trekker Out.

      • JayJay

        Don’t forget the solar battery charger.
        I used mine yesterday.
        Batteries for all things will make life a little easier.
        I have a shoe box of batteries stored.

      • PO'd Partiot

        Put one in the bathroom. It’ll help you keep from pissing on your bedroom slippers….aim small miss small guys. As for you ladies….well…. I guess its a slam dunk.

        • PO'd Patriot

          Hmmm….. “Patriot” (was typing fast)

          • sixpack

            “As for you ladies….well…. I guess its a slam dunk.”

            …or maybe a dunk, THEN a slam (of the toilet seat) I’ve dunked before, when it was too dark to see the toilet seat was still up when I was in a hurry…

        • Mountain Trekker

          PO’d I never was one for night lights, but when I started prepping, I thought I would try out one of those solar garden lights, my bathroom has a South facing window so I laid one on the window sill with the solar panel facing South and WaLa dry slippers. It works from dark to daylight even on the longest nights of Winter. Trekker Out. Let There Be Light!

          • 1braveheart

            For me it’s candles for the most part or an LED lantern for a situation where I need more light than a candle can provide.

          • PO'd Patriot


    6. Joe

      The prepping part is fine but the power transmission part is a bunch of BS.
      I was a lineman for 20 years in the Midwest until I got tired of the winters. All we did was replace and upgrade high voltage lines and equipment. There is also plenty of generation. The problem is that politics don’t allow us to use it. All the talk about aging equipment is just an excuse for government funding the transmission repairs which will make for more profits for the owners of the transmission networks.

    7. Sgt. Dale

      Its a shame, but when you can’t or won’t rebuild or update you grid this WILL happen. Don’t forget Obullshit is shutting down the Coal companies.

      I have been prepping for this (ands other thinks) for a while now. When it dose happen, I’m ready. I just don’t know what the folks in the big cities are going to do.
      I lied! Riot, and Die!

      What smooth way to bring in Martial Law!!!!

      Keep Prepping and Praying!


    8. maddog

      Anyone not prepared by now deserves what ever miseries they encounter. At this point with as many false flags, incompetent leaders and utterly stupid sheeple it really is unbelievable there hasn’t been a total collapse already. It stands as a testament to the quality of Americans up though the greatest generation and their abilities. However, I have no doubt the hippies now controlling this country will succeed in there efforts to destroy it. In case anyone hasn’t noticed they are well on their way. America is no longer the country I grew up in and without restoring the morals of Gods laws it will be lost forever. Join the resistance now. The time for sitting on your ass is long gone. If you wait until they come for you, your already dead.

      • .02

        Agreed, if they are not awake, they don’t want to be awake. Time to shut up and carry on is 3 years ago.

      • Gods Creation

        “”” However, I have no doubt the hippies now controlling this country will succeed in there efforts to destroy it.””

        It the NAZI’s rising again, not the hippies. They fled Germany to here to start over. They became the CIA and have been working to destroy the US through that “agency” since WWII.

        Their handiwork includes the Kennedy assassinations, and starting every single “war” since then. They have consolidated news delivery from over 26 organizations at the end of WWII down to six.

        The time for sitting on your ass will not be long gone until the correct enemy is identified. It is and always has been the banksters and their criminal mercenaries in the “intelligence” community.

        The “Bush” family has been instrumental in destroying this country from the inside. It’s time we make these insiders into outsiders.

        • no justice

          The last few days spent reading a bit about nazi goals make me think you are right about a few things. Bush was no friend to Americans, he spoke of a one world order in a speech, for God’s sake. If Germany was so bad, why in hell did so many end up here. There are people who think the nazi goal was just, they just did not care for Hitler.

      • prepout

        md still hippie punchin? pop that bubble dude; how is them freedom fries and koolaid tastin now?

        • maddog

          I will always be punching fucking hippies. The corruption caused by these shitbags is beyond anything I can state in words. I will never allow them to whitewash themselves even if they chose to take a bath. Their claim to fame has been mud fucking on LSD and now they want anyone who will listen to think that they are intellectuals, bullshit. Since I was born to a pair of fucked up hippies I not only know exactly what I’m talking about I can provide detailed info the shithole they created for many people I knew of. That’s right “knew” because many individuals born to this complete shitbag population are dead. Many I knew personally. They are dead because the individuals you admirer so much took absolutely no responsibility for fucking actions or the world they are leaving behind. Bring it on and lets make our points dipshit. Show me any fucking good your pals are leaving behind. God I can’t wait till there are no more silver pony tails running their mouths. Nothing but shit comes out. Please excuse my French, not.

          • maddog

            Did I forget to mention we are all now prepping in order to survive the collapse you hippie pals have created the conditioned for. Wake up.

          • filthyhippie

            maddog? Son! is that you? your father and I have been worried sick about you; you must not blame us for what happened 40 years ago, we just thought the boy scouts would be good for you and that scoutmaster seemed like such a fine upstanding young man. please phone home we love you and pray for you every day. are you still taking your medicine? mom

    9. Barn Cat

      A more important issue is Obama’s war on coal and the coming war on natural gas. Plus as the dollar dies and electricity gets more expensive, rolling blackouts will be the way the grid works until it goes down for the last time.

      There are people like John Williams from shadowstats predicting a currency devaluation and/or outright collapse of the dollar for 2014. You have to wonder how long the economy keeps going after a 30% dollar devaluation. You can expect that your mortgage and credit card balances will be adjusted upward to take into account any dollar devaluation.

      • Gods Creation

        “””You can expect that your mortgage and credit card balances will be adjusted upward to take into account any dollar devaluation.”””

        Let them try. People will just quit paying. In fact, the best thing for the masses to do is to quit paying on ALL credit accounts IMMEDIATELY.

        That is the ONLY way to kill the banks. You know CONgress will not assist. If the people want the government back, they will have to take it.

        • lastmanstanding

          Amen GC…they destroyed this nation and everything about it…tough fucking shit for them.


    10. hammerhead

      “■Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to run directly to the outlets on the generator. ”

      huh? this is standard operating procedure , why run a bunch of cords all over the place.
      I plug the genny into the side of the house and let her rip . The power in my area goes out regularly for days at a time , last month during -0 degree weather.
      Slam a cord in a door or run it out a window in that weather? no .
      Anyway , when the EPA gets thru with the coal plants a genny aint gonna cut it for long if you cant get fuel.
      I can go maybe 30 days with diesel on hand , but sooner or later its gonna run out.
      Ever try to run on solar power with one sunny day in a winter month when temps average 20 ? it dont work .
      Tried the wind thing, its spinnin right now but it aint reliable either.
      Any ideas that work in the north ?

      • maddog

        Maybe farting in the tank?

        • hammerhead

          Maybe i can line up the cows and save theirs?

          • maddog

            That might work however I here the liberal/commies are going to implement a bovine flatulence tax, you may want to stick with beans and cabbage. Then again I’m not sure if our asses are not out of their reach.

        • Sgt. Dale

          Run your Genny for 30 days. that’s good. If the power is off that long you might find some more in the area, because their is going to be a lot of people gone. (FEMA CAMP, Dead). Solar will only work a little bit but it will help. I’m working on wind mill. I got a 99% propane heaters, I go to rummage sales and pick up tanks (20lbs) for around 10 to 15 bucks. Get them filled or exchange for around 15 to 17 bucks. If I do it right I can get a tank to hold me for around two to three days depending on the weather. I have about 20 tanks located in different area of a 5AC. lot I also store gas in a 100 Gal gas tank and 10 5 Gal gas cans with stabil in the. So far no problems.
          I also have Gennys two of them one large on and a small one.
          Learn to make candles they will give light and heat.
          The best bet is to have some of everything.


          • hammerhead

            well dale ,i wouldnt run my genny ALL the time for 30 days , its not too efficient , its a 70’s era welder on a trailer with a giant air compressor.
            I can run a small city (or rent it to gas stations).
            Have you thought of installing buried fuel tanks?
            For the farm i have diesel , gasoline and propane all buried .
            How long do you think the gubbermint will allow me to keep these things once SHTF ? not long i bet .
            Buy your candles at garage sales , its cheaper that making them , my wife and kids made them for a craft sale once and i can verify that !

            • JayJay

              On the candles, I agree.
              Buy on sale. After Christmas, easter, etc.
              But, the coleman white gas is what I have 12 gallons of to light at night if I have to.
              I have the solar yard lights. Tested one in the bathroom
              and it was no better than the night lite in there!! 🙁
              So, I have a solar battery charger and LED lights from TSC; one for rooms used and one in every vehicle.

              • JRS

                JayJay..”.white gas” is nothing more than low octane gasoline with no additives. You can substitute the lowest octane gasoline for “white gas”. It may have a few additives in from the pump, but if you clean the generator on your lantern, it will work almost as well. Coleman fuel is a ripoff.

                “White gas”…thanks for the memories. I haven’t heard that since the camping days of the 60’s.

                • JayJay

                  I have a husband with beginning dementia, so I have no notion he will repair or clean my burner. So, I must stick with the coleman; I just do not trust him with things.
                  We had a moody morning so the medicine for seizures may have to be changed, or it was just a bad day. He called and seemed fine–comes and goes quickly.
                  If your mate is healthy and of sound mind, bless you and thank God.
                  I know I am ripped off, but I do what I have to won’t be my soul cooker; have a solar oven when days are sunny.

              • JayJay

                sole, not soul…duh

                • Merree

                  I don’t know if this would be helpful for you but some people with early dementia will improve if placed on a ketogenic diet. Minimal carbs and liberal protein. Some of them also respond to daily doses of coconut oil. It has special fatty acids that impact on brain metabolism.

                • REB

                  JJ…not trying to change your mind just saying that Ive burned unleaded low octane gasoline in coleman stoves and lamps for years and never had to clean anything out of them…just in case you need to 🙂

              • Sgt. Dale

                J J:
                Use Solar spot lights. not the yard lights. as you found they are like night lights. The spot light works better. Just shine your spot light at a mirror or mirrors. I found this out when my folks lost their power and a brought in a solar spot light and shined it into a mirror in her living room and it shined on a second mirror it light up the whole room. 17×25 room. Give this a try and let me know what happened.

                • Mountain Trekker

                  Sgt.Dale, solar spotlights with mirrors! Thanks, good ideas never cease. Is this site great or what! Trekker Out.

                • JayJay

                  I went a different route.
                  I have a shoe box of batteries and a solar battery charger with LED flashlights from TSC that light the entire room. With 2 or 3 in each room, I can manage pretty well.
                  I have so many other lighting options, just needed the batteries and the solar battery charger.
                  Now< I'm set to go for a very long time.
                  Batteries will recharge 16 times. 🙂

                  Thanks for this info.

            • Sgt. Dale

              I would bury them but if all goes well I won’t be living her that long. Also I have a 3 day stay plan before I move to my bug out location.
              Good idea about the candles. Thanks. I get some of my used propane tanks there I guess I can get some candles.

          • 1braveheart

            Howdy, Sarge. With neighbors all around me, a generator would definitely blow my cover as a prepper, so I don’t bother with it. got to maintain that OPSEC. In my years in FL and since coming back to TN, I’ve been through numerous power outages, so I already know how to survive those. I can get through those in my sleep. I always have candles on hand and use them for reading light in a power outage. I also use a battery-operated shortwave radio for information, weather, etc. I’ve got some LED lanterns but I try to save them for a real emergency where a candle won’t give me enough light. I’ve got an old 2-D Cell Maglite that I converted to LED when the conversion bulbs first came out. And as I’m sure you’re aware of, the Maglite also doubles up as a nice weapon. I usually warm up my meals straight out of a can on my trusty old Coleman camp stove which I always keep plenty of propane for. A power outage is not too hard to get through if you had exactly what you need and know how to utilize the items. braveheart

            • Sgt. Dale

              When a power outage starts most people will if they have one use a generator. It will be common place. The way we are going to use the generators is during the day when there is going to be a lot of noise when people will be cutting wood and working around the houses. They way we have set up is when the Gennys are running there will be some folks with vent equipment walking around if you know what I mean.
              With your battery operated equipment are you using solar chargers. If you are what kind are you using? I’m using solar chargers for my AA AAA batteries. Little yard lights work great for them. you have to have a about a dozen but they work.

              • 1braveheart

                Sarge, I just buy standard alkaline batteries of the non-rechargeable type. I tried some rechargeables a few years ago and wasn’t too impressed with them. I have items that run on AA and AAA for the most part, my only D-Cell item is an old 2-D Cell Maglite converted to LED, and my only 9-volt items are a couple of stun guns. if I could find some good quality rechargeables in all 4 types that would be great. I have never tried any of those outside lights you mentioned so I don’t know about them. If I was in a rural area, I would run a generator, but considering my present situation, I think it’s best not to run one. braveheart

                • Sgt. Dale

                  What I have found is that the Ever Ready and Duricell work the best Rayovac are Ok too but I like the Ever Ready’s the best. They make a solar charger for AA AAA C D and 9Volt. I saw one in catalog not too long ago but I’ll be darn if I can find it again> I guess Ill have to see if I can find in on Google.

                  Yes you are right I learn stuff every day for the fine folks on this site. THANK GOD FOR THEM (I DO)!!!

                  AIM SMALL MISS SMALL

                • Shootit

                  I have a couple different battery chargers. One is solar and the other one I run directly off my solar system’s charge controller, no inverter needed. Both of them were purchased off of Amazon. The one that I run off the solar system will charge D,C, AA, AAA batteries in a couple of hours. You can mix and match sizes. It says it will recharge Alkaline batteries, but have not tried it. /Maximal-FC999-Universal-Alkaline-Batteries/dp/B008467K1E/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1389883083&sr=8-6&keywords=battery+charger

      • Just_Sayin

        How about a standby generator that runs on NG ?

        • BigB

          I don’t know just saying about natural gas but as an RV’er I know that propane generators are twice as loud and use more fuel per hour than gas generators. I have two different gas generators. One a cheapie from harbor freight that needs mix and a Honda 2000. The cheap one, 800 watts max runs thru fuel fast. About 1 gallon for 4 hours, no load. The Honda 2000, 2,000 watts max, runs about 8-9 hours under no load. The cheap one you can hear for blocks like a lawn mower. The Honda I think is 85 db, the sound level of a human speaking.

          Cheap one price: $89.00

          Honda 2000 : $900 plus


          • The Old Coach

            Your propane genny isn’t loud because it’s propane, it’s loud because it’s got a lousy muffler and/or sound dampening enclosure.

            Also sounds like that cheap one has a two-stroke engine? Two-strokes are notoriously bad fuel consumption.

        • Sgt. Dale

          The problem with NG is when the power grid goes down so dose the gas lines they are ran by electric grid.

      • Joe

        I live in Wyoming. I have a small gasifier I made to convert wood and coal to gas that will run in my generator. I also made some evacuated tube heat pipes to heat my water and for some suplemental space heating. That a long with 10kw solar and a 3000w wind generator and wood stove keep me pretty much in power year round. The gasifier does use a lot of wood but I use the heat in the water jacket of the engine to heat the house somewhat so not much goes to waste.
        Solar dose not really put out what you expect. I get about 4kwh in the winter time but quite a bit more in the summer. But it is the winter when you need the energy around here.

        • lastmanstanding

          Joe…can you add anything regarding the Riverton, Wy. deal? Dave Hodges…

        • Any Mouse


          Sounds like a nice setup, 4kwh generation is still quite impressive during the low light season.

      • Babycatcher55

        What we did is my hubby constructed a completely separate electrical system that connects to the generator outside. There is an outlet in each room except the bedrooms, and one for the freezer and fridge/microwave and two for downstairs, so that we can run the important stuff. The generator outlets are labelled, and are a different color, so they aren’t accidentally used…worked great after Hurricane Isabel in 2003. We were the only house in the neighborhood with power, and a few others got generators later. We cooked outside on the propane cook stove. We were without power for two weeks….it worked like a charm.

        • The Old Coach

          You could have installed a “transfer switch” instead. Cost is from a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars, and no need for duplicate wiring and outlets. Decouples the house from the grid, and couples it to your generator input with one handle.

          At very low cost I fitted my (single phase 220v)well pump with a cord and a plug on the wall, instead of hard wiring it all the way to the distribution panel. It’s the only item I will ever have to run on the generator, other than battery chargers, so I did not bother with a transfer switch. Just unplug it from the grid, and into a 10/3 cord from the generator. (Actually, if I’m willing to cart water 50 yards uphill from the well, I don’t even need that. But I’m too old to be doing very much water hauling.)

          • Shootit

            We used to run a 8/3 custom made cable to the panel until I put in the transfer switch right bellow my meter to make it legal. Costs about $500 for the Ronk/switch. If you need and electrician would be about $300-500 to install depending what it takes. The meter is a couple hundred feet from the house so now you don’t notice the noise from the Honda 5000 watt generator. I also installed a welder plug in the panel in my shop and reused the 8/3 cable by putting a welder plug on one end. Now if it is raining or I am being lazy we can run the generator from the shop and not drag it out to the pole.

        • John W.

          Same system I came up with. If you can do the wiring yourself all the cost is the wire, outlets and some odds and ends. Pain in the butt crawling around in the attic especially if there is not much clearance but that’s just something to work around. The small LED lights that take 15 watts to run but give out the same light as a hundred watt bulb will allow the the batteries to last until sunrise.

      • mountain man 6-1

        @ hammerhead , 6 or 8 years ago I was reading about a new power source that was being put into production and it was a small turbine generator that ran on natural gas or propane . They said one small unit could provide power for a three story building ! So I guess like all new inventions ,that could save the day , it down the rabbit hole so that people-in-charge could continue to funnel the money to their friends !! HMmmm…..must be sitting next to that 65′ Caddy ! The guy that invented gizmo’s for the engine and said it would get 100 m.p.g. ,that was 30 yrs. ago !…….Anyway…we’re SCREWED !!….mm

        • hammerhead

          mountain , are you talkin about the bloom box?
          I think that was proven to be another fairy tale design that used just as much NG as a regular generator .
          But , they got alot of government research dollars !

      • John W.


      • Glacialhills

        wood gas genny

      • lonelonmum

        12 signs of social decay

        This sort of depraved behavior is now happening all over. Back in the day, anyone of these incidents would be considered so heinous that it would be the talk of the town for generations afterwards. The families of the perpetrators would be ostracised too.

        Nowadays people just shrug their shoulders and go shopping?

        The purge will be our reality in the event of rolling blackouts. I truly see that film as a premonition of times to come.

        FIRE – in rolling blackouts there will be an expontial rise is house fires started by stupid people with candles, parrafin lamps etc. If part of your preps do not include measures for dealing with fire (especially if you live within a mile of another person) you are kidding yourself that you are really prepared.

        FIRST AID – loved ones will have accidents stumbling around in the dark, chopping wood etc. That’s just murphy’s law no matter how well you prepare, especially if there are children in your group. If you don’t have a basic first aid course under your belt than make it a resolution to get this ticked off your list. Don’t expect the usual back up emergency health services to be available.

    11. svenny

      Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are planning to win middle America back.
      Harry says, “my plan is getting some cheesy clothes, like most middle class Americans would wear, picking up a Labrador retriever from the pound, and going to an old country bar in Montana, to show how much we respect them.”

      They go to Montana, walk into a bar, dog in tow.
      Bartender says “hey, aren’t you Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi?”

      “yes, we are!. what a lovely town you have here” nancy said.

      They ordered a round of bourbon for the whole bar and started to chat with the locals.

      a few minutes later, an old grizzly rancher came in, walked up the Labrador retriever, lifted its tail, looked underneath, shrugged his shoulders, and left the bar.

      A few moments later, in came another rancher. He walked to the dog, lifted its tail, looked underneath, scratched his head, and left..

      For the next hour, a dozen ranchers came in, lifted the dogs tail, and left shaking their heads.

      Nancy finally asks “why did all those ranchers come in and look under the dogs tail? is that some sort of custom?”

      “Lord no,” said the bartender. “someones out there running around town, claiming there’s a Labrador Retriever in here with two assholes!”

    12. maudy fricket

      The infrastructure of this country is bad news. As time goes by it won’t get any better (like my marriage). They only react to problems after they happen (like my spouse). There isn’t going to be any money for repairs or new equipment (like last Christmas). We will descend deeper and deeper into our third world malaize. (ran out of analogies).

      • John W.

        Majority third world population will not mind the third world living standard. As the natives die out or are disposed of happiness will be the order of the day.

    13. Indy Colts

      Here’s proof we can’t control everything. Last week my vision starting getting blurry. I dealt with it over the weekend. I finally went to the eye doctor on Monday and guess what…. An eye ulcer… WTH

      Never heard of those, so he said it wouldn’t clear up without steroid drops. And those cost $167 but atleast they gave me a $50 coupon. Of course I haven’t met the deductable so that was straight out of pocket.

      I guess my point is that if this was SHTF I don’t know what I would have done if I couldn’t have gotten those drops. Thank GOD because I’m grateful to have the funds to pay for the drops.

      • hammerhead

        indy , that plays into my worst fears , i have poor eyesight and if the SHTF ,the glasses i own could be my last. i tell ya , you just dont think about some things until you get in a bind.
        Best of luck with the drops .

        • Nimrod Hunter

          I got some prescription Harley motorcycle goggles. You might think about getting something like that for “kinetic situations”. You can use them as a backup for your regular glasses in a pinch.

          • hammerhead

            “prescription Harley motorcycle goggles”
            LOL , now that is a first .never heard of it before.
            But i bet they would make excellent safety glasses , i will surely look into it.

            • 1braveheart

              Indy and hammerhead, in May 2007 my vision started getting blurry while driving. I went to the eye doctor ASAP for an exam and was told I had cataracts in both eyes [WTF] and had to get laser surgery to solve the problem. I was wearing prescription glasses myself at the time and still have the same pair. I had to go twice; they only do the surgery one eye at a time. I’m glad I had insurance to cover the cost. Insurance covered 80% and I had to cover the remaining 20% out of pocket. needless to say it slowed down my prepping but not for too long. The best part was my vision was so good I was able to do without my glasses and haven’t worn them since. I’m also grateful it happened before monkeyboy came along.

              • hammerhead

                1BRAVE- glad to here of your successful eye surgury, it scares the hell outta me.
                I was quoted 8000 bucks and promised minimal results due to eye condition . cant afford it , so i live with it.
                Suure sucks, our eyes control everything , sooooo i guess ya live with what the lord gives ya and just move on from there .

                • 1braveheart

                  hammerhead, my surgery was $4000 and that was in 2007. I don’t even want to know what it costs now.

            • Nopittypartyhere

              Medicalsafetyglasses dot com. You can gt rx and bifocal safety glasses. Even cheaters.

        • KY Mom

          Get an extra pair of glasses without spending a lot of money. Order glasses online. It is much cheaper.

          I have ordered prescription glasses and prescription sun glasses from Zenni Optical. I am pleased with the glasses. They are much cheaper and arrive in about a week.

          Direct link below.

          • Indy Colts

            I also fear what would happen if I didn’t have at pair or glasses or contacts when SHTF. I have a couple pairs but mostly wear contacts.

            KY Mom
            I ordered my last pair of glasses on ebay and I emailed my perscription from the eye doctor and saved a couple hundred dollars. I don’t see how anyone can afford the prices at the eye doctor for glasses. They range from $300-$700 from what I’ve seen. I paid under $200 Can’t wait for your link to check out the site you meantioned.

            • waterislife

              I got my last pair from coastal dot com for 80 bucks and shipping was free. online is the way to get your eyeglasses.

              • CrackerJack

                Coastal is having a buy 2 for 98$ sale right now. I dont know all of the specifics on this sale but my last pair was $60 through them. Not bad for an extra pair… that now has become my main eyeglasses… Great site for inexpensive frames and lenses

            • Nopittypartyhere

              All glass frames manufacturers owned by same parent corp. about a 1000% markup on most frames (uncle is a recently retired optometrist). Get the best deals you can!

        • John W.

          Maybe as part of prepping you should get a back up pair of glasses. If things go to hell there will be no way to replace the ones you have.

      • aljamo

        Indy Colts… Sounds to me like you overpaid by a hundred bucks. We are all overpaying. It is really a cruel joke.

    14. 21Bravo

      Unbelieveable…. zer0’s America in the 21st century. This should never be happening in this country. It makes us seem like we live in some third world country. NextDHS will blame the power outages on guerilla’s cutting the wires.

      ???What will it take to get the sheeple off of their ass’s and take to the streets??? Maybe if the govt turns off the TV and closes the malls will the sheeple wake up….

      Those not in the know, should buy Polypropolene long underwear, polypro bike pants for below your waist, Polypropolene long underwear top, maybe a biking type polypro shirt, polar fleece top, down jacket. They also make polypro socks. Cotton KILLS as it sucks the warmth out of your body when one cools off(causing hypothermia)Keep in mind one wants to buy polypropolene as it wicks the moisture away from your body. It will keep one very warm during a rolling blackout or a powerless emergency.

      • SWFL

        In general, good advice, but all things considered I’ll just stay with cotton and occasionally wool. Bone-breaking cold here is 40degrees. (above)

        • John W.

          Hit ninety today in East County Sandy Eggo. If the rains do not come soon the entire state will be a disaster. Even more than it already is.

    15. Jim in Va.

      All that free sun power going to waste. everybody should invest in portable solar panels for just such emergencies. Keep candles and batteries and alternate sources(grills).

      • SWFL

        Not much going to waste here. We use it to increase the Yankee Cancer Index. (Yankee not necessarily = to Northerner)

    16. Pat in Florida

      I also hear USPS will stop Saturday post deliveries.. some day.
      And how bout that food hyperinflation?

    17. jerrytbg

      As I’ve said before…

      When the change comes ALL of the “theater” we are witnessing now will be exposed as just that… the problem for us is that time to get to a safe place or be safe at all, will be very short.

      Don’t be shocked to find out “they” know, to within hours or days, when that change will take place…
      Believe me…They know.

      prep prep then prep some more.

      • VRF

        watch em like a hawk, they do anything out of their normal routine , that’s an indicator

        • jerrytbg


    18. Old Vet

      The first words of Survival: CLEAN WATER!!!!!!

    19. Mr. Blutarsky

      South Carolina just did rolling blackouts during the recent cold weather.

      • David in Charleston

        Yep, SCE&G implemented rolling blackouts when it got cold here last week. Luckily I wasn’t affected at all, but thousands of people were.

        What they did is shutoff power to an area for 15 minutes and then move to another area and shut it off for 15 minutes.

        • sixpack

          I guess that’s better than just shutting off the average guys, so they can keep the rich guys’ security grids on…

      • John W.

        Just wait until the EPA starts turning off the coal powered power plants. I believe that the goal is to eliminate half of them with no replacement source of power. What can go wrong?

        • RandomTangent1957

          I heard that if you like your power plant….you can keep your power plant ……
          Standing by in
          Montgomery County Texas

    20. John_Allen

      I’ve gone a different path from the tech savvy with your photovoltaic this and micro wind turbine that. Instead of clutching to preserve a 21st century lifestyle I have prepped to embrace the late 19th century. A man has gots to know his limitations.

      My plans would be different if I lived in Minnesota rather than the temperate place I do live. Grid up or grid down, thermal underwear, wool clothing and blankets help. Invested in a good winter sleeping bag. One can spring for wood burning stoves, which solve the heating and cooking problem in one fell swoop. If it’s cold enough for water to freeze and your toilet doesn’t work baby wipes are a good substitute.

      I’m not an “I live on my deck all summer” person, so I don’t have a barby. What I do have is iron kettles and tripods of various sizes from Lehman Hardware in Ohio. Outdoors over an open fire is how everyone cooked for 99 % of human history.

      It was unseasonably cold here last week as it was in much of the US. A few days before the Polar Vortex ended the gas furnace that heats my main level stopped working. A free standing gas stove in my office did dismayingly little to warm up even the small office. Layering saw me through, while I was thinking, “What if both grids went down at once. And stayed down a very long time?”

      I would have been much inconvenienced, but in contrast to my unprepared neighbors I would have been fine. I took it as the surprise test on my preps. Which I believe I passed with flying colors.

      • TnAndy

        I was born in the 20th century, and it is one of my favorite ones due to things like electric lights, refrigeration, ready mix concrete, and plastic pipe.

        Yes, we could ’embrace’ the 19th…..but remember 30% or so infant mortality, average life span in the 50’s, and so on. Not all the “good ole days” were that good.

        So while I’m all for the more simple lifestyle of the 19th ( but consider it will take a population reduction of massive proportions to get there ), I’d like to keep some of the best of the 20th. Being able to slaughter a hog, stick it in my walk-in cooler and not be dependent on “MOM” providing too hot or too cold weather at the exact right time, is nice.

      • TnAndy

        I was born in the 20th century, and it is one of my favorite ones due to things like electric lights, refrigeration, ready mix concrete, and plastic pipe.

        Yes, we could ’embrace’ the 19th…..but remember 30% or so infant mortality, average life span in the 50’s, and so on. Not all the “good ole days” were that good.

        So while I’m all for the more simple lifestyle of the 19th ( but consider it will take a population reduction of massive proportions to get there ), I’d like to keep some of the best of the 20th. Being able to slaughter a hog, stick it in my walk-in cooler and not be dependent on “MOM” providing too hot or too cold weather at the exact right time, is nice.

        Passing the test of a few days of living 19th century style is NOTHING like having to live that way for the rest of your life.

    21. MongoPissed

      In California in 2001, we had rolling blackouts when Enron got a free hand from the Cheney administration to rape us. Numerous power plants throughout the state were simultaneously shut down for maintenance, including older plants that were used as peaking plants and were kept off line. We were than charged for energy from Duke and others in the SE, when in reality we were getting power from Bonneville and other hydro facilities in the West. This is what happens when regulators are owned by the “regulated”.

      • John W.

        Was not Cheney but an idiot named Steve Peace that did the damage. The law was finally cancelled.

    22. Anonymous

      “This “duct taped” approach is no match for the constant power stream needed to keep population dense areas functioning or for the extreme weather we have experienced over the last decade.”

      NEITHER IS SOLAR AND WIND, in case you handn’t noticed.

      I mean unless you’re willing to panel Texas and Nevada. Completely.

      • Any Mouse

        If every home and building owner in the Phoenix Metro area covered their roofs with solar panels it would generate more than enough electricity for the entire country. Storage is the problem.

        • TnAndy

          Yes….CHEAP storage is the Holy Grail of alternative energy.

          More and more electric utilities are resisting small scale solar input ( or soon will be ) due to the fluctuation of input (clouds move in, no production, where yesterday, a bright sunny day, they were covered up in it) and trying to regulate it as input grows. Electric companies like nice even flow of power in, or out.

          • Any Mouse

            Cloudy days no longer mean zero output.I have a cheap harbor freight solar setup that is miserably inefficient but I still get power output on cloudy miserable days.

            I think that part of the problem for the energy companies is that they are falsely perceiving a loss of revenue from small solar and wind. They only seem to see the loss of billing kWh due to the meter running backwards or however they quantify the amount of power that small wind and solar put back into the grid. I don’t think many of the execs see the advantage of of not having to maintain the power generation equipment.

            To this end the energy companies need to evolve to take advantage of electricity generated on the small scale and even encourage it to the point that during peak usage hours places located in the desert southwest generate enough excess power to sell it to other power companies located outside the peak generation zone(I.e. places like phoenix{srp and cap} sell to NYC).

      • jerrytbg

        Days of old…nice find there young Eisen…

      • lonelonmum

        Satori – that’s a fantastic piece. It’d be great if Mac could publish it on this site. It’s one all of us should read.

    23. RICH99

      Be prepared for disasters but these articles are becoming ridiculous now …..martial law , economic collapse , dollar collapse , market crash , bank holidays , comet ison , fema camps and on and on and non of it has happened and now it’s rolling blackouts

      • PO'd Patriot


    24. Kevin2

      Before 1980 or thereabouts the Public Utilities were in essence a regulated monopoly. The money made from generation on what essentially was a cost plus basis was used to maintain and upgrade generation and transmission (grid). To lower costs the generation was opened up to IPPs (Independent Power Producers). This took profits from the Utility which still maintained some generation and the entire transmission system. Over time the relative money spent on the transmission system declined while demand increased. The grid had significant “fat” in the system that has been cut into over time due to years of insufficient upgrading. The end result is a second rate transmission system not in keeping with a first world nation.

    25. Stew Pedaso

      I was stuck in Cleveland on one of the nights of the Blackout in 2003…guess how much carnage I saw. 0. The bars with generators were full but as for crime of any kind I saw none…oh the horror.

    26. mallardhen

      You know I was just thinking about how we lived when I was a kid and maybe that is a way to go for power and heat instead of the new high tech way it is today. Even now I’m not very high tech now so I really don’t have to far to go. We heat with wood and cook with LP gas so I will keep the wood stove and change to wood for cooking. Saw a really neat wood heat/cook stove in Lehman’s new catalog and I’m giving it a lot of thought, I’m getting new burners for my Alladin lamps as I have had some of them for almost 50 years like the grid I need to renew and update my equipment; we all do.
      Still prepping every chanch I get eventhough food is getting higher every month hunting bargains is a full time job.

    27. BadAmerican

      Rolling blackout…..meh.

      Electricity does not affect the important areas in my home:

      The bedroom.

      The chocolate drawer.

      The liquor cabinet.

      The gun safe.

      ….yes, I prep in that order….practice-practice-practice.


    28. Southern Border

      All I got to say is bring it on the sooner the better, been prepping for awhile & will continue to do so until the Shit Really Hits The Fan, for those that haven’t chose to prepare themselves Fuck EM !!!

    29. Nopittypartyhere

      A tale i saw today…

      Breakfast with my granddaughter.

      I was eating breakfast with my 10 yo grand daughter and asked her “what day is tomorrow?”
      She said “it’s Presidents’ Day!”
      She is a smart kid, so I asked “what does Presidents’ Day mean?” I was expecting something about Washington, or Lincoln….
      She replied ” Presidents’ Day is when president Obama steps out of the White House and if her sees his shadow we’ve got 4 more years of bullshit.”
      You know it hurts when hot coffee spurts out of your nose!

      • John W.

        That was good.

    30. No Brainer.

      Power goes out. No problem for some of the black folks in the projects. Some just barbecue out of their bath tub. Food is no worry for them either. When in need of heavy starchs some dine on the laundry kind. True survivalist,s in my opinon

    31. Tractor

      I have 10 – 80 watt solar panels on my roof and a 500 watt low wind speed wind turbine mounted to my garage and I charge a bank of 8 – 6 volt AGM batteries producing 1000 amps of power. With that I have converted 99% of all my home lights to 12 volt LED (the high output LED’s) I run 12 volt LED’s inside, outside, my basement everywhere in and outside my home. Plus I have a 12 volt swamp cooler to cool my home, 12 volt fans, 12 volt electric blankets for cold winter nights, 12 volt alarm clocks, 12 volt coffee pot and more. I got my grid power bill down to $67.00 (WHAT IS YOUR POWER BILL?) I live in an all electric home with 3 teenagers who all have big TV’s, DVD’s and game consoles plus I have a big chest freezer. NOW the only way I can tell if I loose grid power is if the street light across the street is out, (and you can too.) You can run your whole house on 12 volt just as I do. SEE HOW AT:

      • John W.

        Only problem with a twelve volt system is the circuit breakers that are required(DC)and the line loss even in short distances which require very large gauge wire to compensate for. It does make things simpler not having to use a inverter.

    32. mikki

      A question for some of you preppers. I have been storing food for about five years now. I made the mistake of buying cases and now some of it is catching up with me. I have been using can food that expired six months ago and seems the same as when I bought it. Just wonder if I should pitch most of it. I have a friend that is using cans from 2011, but that seems a little far fetched for me. She claims there is nothing wrong with it. Any advise would be appreciated.

      • John W.

        If the can is swelled or leaking don’t use it. Otherwise should be safe. You can’t donate it to charity since it is past expire date and they will not accept it. Use it in pot lucks or give it to friends and family that need it.

      • Prepper

        Mikki, you never mentioned if the canned food is wet or dry. If wet (like soup) I would guess you have a good 2 to 3 years beyond the shelf life, assuming the can is not rusted or swollen. But that’s only a guess. If you get food poisoning, you’re on your own. If the food is dry, it should be edible for decades beyond the shelf life, assuming the storage temperature is under 80 degrees. Higher temps strongly affect shelf life.

        Here’s another factor to consider: If you have food of questionable safety, I would much rather take my chances on that rather than face certain starvation. Also, I would keep it around for clueless neighbors coming around begging for food if TSHTF. I would only discard food in bulging cans, an obvious sign of botulism. Short of that, it all fits somewhere on the hierarchy of need.

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