How Do Power Outages Happen?

Have you ever wondered what can knock out our power?

We all expect to plug in our devices or turn on our light switch and they just magically work.  That is not always true and if you haven’t experienced a power outage yet, you will! If you look at the graphic here, you will see that there are three main sections of the electrical grid and those are pretty much interconnected.  If something major hit any one of these sections, it could knock out anything in the entire region.  Yes, our electrical grid is that fragile.  

Squirrels and Cyber Criminals can knock out power

The power grid we all rely on is a pretty shaky system.  It can take something as simple as a squirrel to knock out electricity for many blocks at one time. Some say there have been more power outages made by squirrels than cyber-attacks (Business Insider), but that won’t continue to be true.  We have seen an increase of cyber-attacks in the current year. We can only expect that to continue to increase.  

North Korea Can Knock Out Power

With the tensions of North Korea and their statements that they will attack our grid, it could knock out power for millions.  One electromagnetic pulse and our grid, as well as most of our electronics, come to a stand still. ( InHomelandSecurity) It may not be now, it may not be this year, but we do not have any way to combat the outside influences on our fragile electrical grid system.  Anyone who would want to cripple our country or any city would just simply need to attack our electric system either with hacking, as in cyber-attackes, or EMPs.  It is sad to think that both of those possibilities exist.  

Weather Can Knock Out Power

Who has not been made aware of the hurricanes we have seen this year?  The area around Houston and Florida had lots of power outages.  Even Puerto Rico had power knocked out and NBC News stated it could be months till they get their power on.  As of the writing of this article, Puerto Rico is over 8 days without electricity. (CNN) It doesn’t have to be something as menacing as a hurricane.  Thunderstorms, hail and all that fun weather we get here in the DFW area knocks out neighborhoods regularly. Heck, it can be as simple as a sun flare. Just look at what happened on April 2017.  There were wide power outages due to the sun’s solar flares.  It impacted San Francisco and New York. (see source)  

What can we do about the unstable electrical grid?

The key is PREPARATION.  We must all prepare for the inevitable without going overboard and disrupting our lives.  There are two ways to prepare.  One, prepare to wait out times without electricity. Two, prepare to have an electrical alternative. The problem with preparing to wait for electricity to come back on is that you never know how long it can be off.  How do you prepare for a week without electricity?  How about if it lasts a month? Depending on how much damage happens or how severe the threat, the grid can go out for a long time.  For most people, living a week without electricity will be unbearable. Think about small children and elderly.  If it is in the dead of winter or the peak of summer, they could be in serious danger.  Sad thing is those are the times most likely to have a power outage due to the serious load on the electrical grid.  

Preparing Alternative Electricity Solutions

Many people have started installing solar panels and wind turbines.  Those are some great systems and they help our electrical needs by saving fossil fuels.  However, the technology we have it not reliable.  They may produce some electricity, but storing it is a whole other aspect.  We don’t have time in this article to go through the reasons, but they are not reliable unless you know how to build, maintain and fix them yourself…including an integrated long-term battery system.  

One of the best solutions is a home standby generator. 

With the advances in technology, it will not only turn on within seconds of a power outage, but it will sustain your current level of energy needs which you will not find in wind or solar power. I know a lot of people have the idea in their head of the old ‘pull string’ gas generators.  You had to prime them, pull the string and hope the engine would kick on.  Then, you couldn’t have it indoors because the fumes could kill you.  They were loud and easy to steal.   Today’s home standby generators are quiet and mounted to your current electrical panel.  The install is simple for a trained technician.  There is security in knowing that whether it is squirrels, sun spots or cyber-attacks, you have the power you need at a moment’s notice.

One True Solution to Avoid Power Outages

Vedegy has partnered with Cummins Generators.  They are one of the most reliable and durable generators in the world.  We can help you assess your electrical needs and even lay out a plan for you and your loved ones.  We offer full service, hand on installation.  Plus, we a have a maintenance plan to keep your generator working for years and years to come. You’d be surprised at the return on investment.  Not only will it increase the value of your home when you sell it, it will also save money from things like ruined food that happens during a power outage. Give us a call at 214-207-0506 if you are in the DFW area.  We will come by and give you a free assessment based on your house and your needs.

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