Friday, March 21, 2014

No sitting ducks

    People in the Sun Valley area know what happens when the power goes out. But what would happen if such an outage was extended for 18 months—nationwide?
    On Christmas Eve in 2009, the lights went out here and didn’t come on for more than 24 hours. On Christmas Day, the ski lifts weren’t moving and people in the valley were trying to figure out how to stay warm and put together a hot meal while they wondered if and when power would be restored. The owners of shops and service businesses wondered if and when they would be able to open. But at all times, it was unimaginable that power wouldn’t be restored.
    This winter, sections of the Eastern seaboard and Midwest had similar and sometimes longer experiences of being without power.
    In a front-page story on March 13, The Wall Street Journal reported that a study last year by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that disabling nine of the nation’s 55,000 electrical substations could knock out power nationwide for months. It also found that the lack of interconnected regional electrical systems could leave regions that continued to generate power unable to help those without.
    The image of the entire nation, or huge blocks of it, without power is nearly incomprehensible. Lives would be at risk. Cities and states simply would not function. Transportation systems—trucks, cars, ships and airplanes—would be rendered helpless. Gas pumps wouldn’t work without electricity. Food production and delivery could dry up.
    What would happen to civil society in such a crisis is anyone’s guess.
    The revelations about the FERC study’s conclusions should be a call to action. The U.S. government in conjunction with the nation’s power companies should rally the nation’s resources to close this serious vulnerability and harden the defenses at the key power stations.
    It’s a truism that life is never free of risk. But in an age where the threat of terrorism is both foreign and domestic, it’s necessary to analyze the threats and identify major vulnerabilities. It’s important to realize that not all terrorism comes in the form of hijacked airliners.
    We simply must not let our power systems continue to be sitting ducks.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.