What if the US blacked out electrically?

What if the US blacked out electrically? - Cutting Edge Power

Immediate effects:

Many automatic systems will spring into action. Essential facilities like hospitals and data centers switch on backup power.  Emergency lights in places like grocery stores come on, and generators start running. Emergency lights provide just enough light to guide people to safety for about 90 minutes or so.  Most of these facilities will use generators with traditional fuels like natural gas, diesel (#2 fuel oil).  Fuel oil (there are many grades) has been around for what seems like forever and is one of the most versatile fossil fuels out there.  It's commonly used by the Navy, hospitals, and generators in remote and rural areas.  But a common downside is you have to store the fuel reserves, which brings the question: How long do I need my backup generator to run?  

After 90 minutes, things quiet down and people start adjusting to the situation.  

The first 24 hours:

Office buildings will close, and traffic signal failures result in car accidents and panic.  Hospitals, operating on backup power, will likely see an increase in patients from nearby accidents.  Police will mobilize all available personnel to prevent looting in the darkness, while firefighters stay prepared for potential fires sparked by power loss-related accidents.  For some, natural gas may provide heat during the outage, but others may face a chilly wait, depending on the time of year.  No one knows when the power will be back, but we all hope it's "soon".  US annual GDP is about $23 trillion.  That means each day of downtime is a loss of roughly $63 billion to the US economy.  Needless to say, an attack on the US power grid (whether from foreign states or terrorism) is one of the fastest ways to hit us where it hurts.

Panic won't be widespread in the first 24 hours, but the first to take action will have the upper hand.  Preppers and those with a plan (even a simple one) will already be 2 steps ahead of everyone else.  One thing is for sure: the sun will rise tomorrow and there will be wind currents blowing somewhere.

The first week:

Meanwhile at the power plants, emergency systems are up and running as people scramble to get power back on.  Blame and political instability starts to creep in.  The power plants most likely wouldn't have gone down all at once, but instead cascaded as one plant went down, then another, then another, like dominoes.  As each system failed, the failsafes would protect a system from drawing heavily on a nearby network, so each system is now effectively isolated.  Most people will find some way to a shelter, even if it’s simply staying at work. The influx of people from the initial panic will slow, so hospitals will be better able to handle anything else that comes about.

During this first week, the US economy takes a loss of $441 billion because no one can go to work, no one can ship anything, communications begin to fail, etc.  Still, the sun rises every day and wind currents continue as usual.


Each power plant will try and get back online as soon as possible, hopefully before anything drastic happens.  This will mean any systems that failed safe, such as automatically dropping the rods to stop nuclear reactors or cutting off the fuel to natural gas and coal plants, will need to be restarted.  As the systems come back online, the load must be carefully added, because too much at once would overload the system again.  The loss of the entire grid would be drastic, and would likely take days, possibly weeks to get back online (depending on the cause). Billions of dollars will be lost in that time as companies are unable to operate.  Unlike COVID-19, power grid loss is immediate and it will take years to recover from the consequences of poor planning.  We'll imagine the happy ending where the problem is eventually sorted out and the lights will come back on, bringing people to rejoice.  It will take time for everyone to get power back, but it will come back eventually.

What caused this?

Numerous investigations will undoubtedly follow, and you can rest assured politicians will have a field day blaming each other.  The US electric grid isn't just one big network of power lines. It's made up of 3 separate grid networks that are interconnected.  It's a pretty complex system that works most of the time, but it's still possible for the whole thing to go down at once.  One way that could happen is through an EMP, or Electromagnetic Pulse.  Other scenarios could be less extreme, like hackers or a chain reaction that messes up one of the connections.

How this affects you:

Whether we like it or not, all of us are in a position where we can make a difference with just a tiny bit of planning.  If you're a husband/wife, father/mother, provider for your family, manager, business owner, or community leader, there are people you care about that look up to you.  And those people (like children, employees, students) may not have the ability or means to prepare for an extended power outage.  Much less, it may not have even crossed their mind yet.  That means they depend on you for situations like this.  Just a little bit of planning can help your family or business tremendously and there is no better time to plan than right now.  Imagine if no one in your home even noticed a difference, while chaos ensues outside on the streets?  Or imagine if your company is still going strong when everyone else gives up!

​So I need a solar generator.  Now what?

Let’s clear up a few things:

  • That little portable power station isn’t going to last very long. While very cool and trendy, the small portable power stations (less than 6,000Wh) are great for camping but will not last very long during extended outages.
  • Cutting Edge Power provides turn-key solar generators that are plug and play, super easy to use and can power your whole home. Many companies claim their solar generator can power your whole home but they’re made in countries that fail to understand how much power a typical American home actually needs.  Nothing against them, but Cutting Edge Power products are designed and built in USA and we actually use our products!
  • Solar power is still relatively new, which means it’s expensive.  At Cutting Edge Power, we approach the expense problem in multiple ways:
    • All of our products combine DIY with turn-key. You save money doing just a little bit of DIY but we protect you from common pitfalls by providing plug and play systems.
    • We offer third party financing that allows you to make monthly payments on large purchases. Depending on your financing, often times we can provide 0% APR.
    • If you already have a gas or diesel generator, our Rebel Solar Generator is a direct replacement and will use the same cord and plug as your old generator.
    • If you aren’t ready for solar yet, check out our PowerDock which has battery storage and can charge directly from the grid. Add solar and/or wind later and add more battery storage as you go.

A few more tips:  

  • There’s no limit to the number of batteries our systems can use.
  • You need to decide: Do you want a fully sustainable system? (Sustainable = you can still use the grid, but when it goes down, your home/business runs like normal) Fully sustainable systems are roughly $15,000-80,000 for the average American home.  If not:
  • How much battery storage do you need? Can you live a few days without the A/C and clothes dryer?  This can have a large effect on the price of the system.  Do you have a well pump?  Head over to our calculator for more specifics or reach out to us if you have questions.
  • You know the feeling you get when a friend or family member shows interest in one of your hobbies? It’s exciting and fun to welcome a new member of the hobby.  That’s how we feel!  Don't be intimidated, we’re glad to help. 
  • Our support team consists of real people that actually use our own products. We aren’t just a middleman reselling stuff that another company makes.  We’re a real company that’s based in Houston, TX.
  • There’s a lot of demand for these products. Our best advice is to place your order as soon as possible so you don’t get stuck in a power outage.  If that advice sounds biased, here are some other suggestions:
    • Our third party financing provides a way to order now and not have to pay for everything upfront.
    • Our batteries (made in USA) can have a 6-8 week or more lead time. We recommend our batteries for the best performance and easiest setup.  But if you need your solar generator faster, consider ordering the solar generator without batteries – most of our systems have short lead times and can use any 12V or 24V batteries that you can pick up online or at your local auto store.

We hope this helps and if you ever have any questions, comments or concerns about wind and solar power or any of our products, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Sales@CuttingEdgePower.com

-Bobby Cardona


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