Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Power, water and utilities never being restored

I live in a upper middle class suburb of a large city in the southwest. If SHTF economically, will the city likely be able to keep the water, gas and power going, even with higher rates, and maybe with rolling blackouts? Even though I have a 2000W generator and a 20,000 gallon pool in my backyard for backups, I'd rather pay more to keep the standard utilities going.
Hi Al,
Think about it for a second. If tin-pot dictators around the world manage to keep basic services working, so can USA. Cuba “somewhat” (everything is somewhat during extended SHTF) manages to have power, running water, even commie filtered Internet. That means that in the long run, no matter if there’s a disaster these services will be restored. Evo Morales manages to have these working in his country, that means a bipolar kangaroo can eventually figure it out too. Again, expect serious problems and poor service, but you’ll have them. That middle ground is where a lot of preppers get lost. I dont even have a generator, but I do have a voltage elevator, something I posted about before and few survivalists would have thought about. That right there is the perfect example of the “somewhat” problem. Thankfully that gadget saves me a lot of headaches and money in appliances that would otherwise be ruined by now. Does this machine make sense in current USA? No, you get 110V delivered or you dont get any at all during a blackout. The situation hsn’t reached the point where they have to start delivering 90V or 70V instead of 110V because the grid can’t handle it due to decades of poor maintenance. May happen one day? Who knows? but its not an immediate concern in USA.
Same thing with tap water. I pay for my water bill, it works (most of the time) but even tap water must be filtered here to get most of the heavy metals and chemicals out of it due to its 3rd worldly water treatment.
Security is again another example of this “in between” situation. The survivalist wet dream dictates that “after SHTF” you literally get away with murder. You shoot the bad guys and everything works out great for you, but around here and most countries that have inefficient police or (even worse) liberal agendas, the bad guy is the victim, you’re the capitalist pig shooting unprivileged minorities and if they catch you they will send you o jail.
A few weeks ago here in Argentina, a man brought out his gun to defend himself from a would be home invader. Bad guys surrenders and the cops arrive. what happens? Mr. bad guy is released right away but the honest citizen is accused of threatening the criminal with the gun and stays in jail. No kidding , that’s how things are these days.
Mark my words folks, their selling the liberal socialist dream as the solution to every problem currently being experienced in every country round the world. We’re all going to be seeing much more of this sort of injustice in the coming years. Preparedness will revolve heavily around protecting our rights, knowing how to use the new rules to protect ourselves for big brother , sorry , make that “big comrade”.
You are right about expecting the cost of utilities going up. Not Hollywood material, but one of the greatest challenges people will face in the coming years will be being able to pay the bills and buying food to get by.



Anonymous said...

It might surprise Jim Rawles and like-minded survivalists that the best post-SHTF occupation might be a lawyer rather than a flint knapper or musket repairman....

Anonymous said...

I almost bought into the whole “getting off the grid” idea sold by some of the TEOTWAWKI Cassandras until I thought to myself ‘hey, I live in suburbia, and have NEVER had a power disruption in 8 years’ (the joys if underground cables).

So I bought just enough solar and an inverter to run my pump and furnace fan.

Anonymous said...

Anon - Power can be disrupted waaaaay up the line long before it gets to you. I don't buy into the grid-collapse predictions myself (not a total collapse for ever and ever at least). But you can definate loose power for a long time regardless of your underground cables.

ps- I really fear that story of the criminal let go and the good guy arrested, especially during or after an SHTF scenario! :-((

Pompompom said...

In a city or suburbia, you don't just need electricity for your own modern comfort. It's all your environment that needs it.
You can easily live a couple days or even a week without power in your home (like fun camping at home, kids will love it), and several months with a small solar panel. Some poor people do it everyday.

But your job is much less resillient. You are laid off within a day. Shops close too. Many public services also (worse is lack of sewage)

So, even if you have 10 KW on your roof and nice sunny days, you cannot live like an electricity island in the middle of a large power cut. You are only slightly better than your neighbors.

Maldek said...

"release criminal + guy with the gun stays in jail"

Haha it is twisting your brain isn't it?

But from the (pervert) logic of a socialist it makes perfect sense!
The criminal is no threat for the goverment, he is weak, perhaps drug addict and poor. A good consumer and voter. He must be protected.

YOU on the other hand try to be independent, got some money, got a weapon...thats SCARY shit man.
You are a socialists worst nightmare.

You are a wolf and they want sheep.
Now you tell me: "What does a good shepherd do, when he spots a wolf?"

Anonymous said...

I think Ferfal's point is that there won't be a widespread, long-lasting, continuous power cut in cities or suburbs in the US, even if we do go Third World. Why? Because the power stays on--albeit intermittently--in the Third World today.

The US has huge power sources in terms of domestic oil and coal. Sure we import a lot as well, but that's because we waste so much. There is easily enough domestic oil and coal to keep the US from going MadMax cannibal biker-zombie.

Darryll Anderson said...

the one comment i would like to make about..'even an idiot gov can keep the power on a bit' rationale....my local water company's pump failed and the pump part is only made in china and because we dont warehouse parts, there were none available. took 2 weeks to get the part from china....2 weeks without water in one of the richest states in the richest country in the world.

i think brownouts will be redefined from 'acouple of hours' to 'a couple of weeks' going forward....

talnik said...

In the U.S., the environmentalists have lobbied the gov to make it practically criminal to build new power plants and the citizens' advocacy groups have made it nearly impossible for the utility companies to charge extra for maintenance. That will eventually lead to worse service, more brownouts and blackouts. That in turn will decrease productivity because--as refrigeration becomes unreliable--people will have to shop for perishables such as meat, dairy and eggs every day instead of once a week.
One more step on the road to third-world s***-hole status.

Anonymous said...

As the US standard of living has declined over the last 40 years, along with declining profits for utilities and many other companies, they have been forced to reduce system redundancy in the name of efficiency. That's all I can say without revealing vital information, and I won't do that.
But the risk of problems in the event of the unexpected is real. Unfortunately, relatively reliable power for 8 years means nothing. Read the Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Talib.

The prior comment about the lack of construction of new generation facilities has taken on a life of its own here in the USA. In many areas the power generation is one or two states away - NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard. Certain areas are on the brink of overload every summer. Long transmission spans make us more vulnerable. That's not a strong positive sign of systems that are "robust". Quite the opposite. About ten years ago a hot spell caused one single critical power line to "sag" (they get hot and stretch) and touch a tree - causing a rolling blackout for half a day for tens of millions of people in the West. We were lucky it wasn't longer. It impacted most Southwestern states, about 15% of the US.

Add into this equation a world of "just in time" delivery on all retail items including food and you have a fragile economy indeed.

New Zealand just had a monster earthquake with perhaps 100-300 dead and who knows how many homeless. Stuff happens.

I also buy life insurance. I hope my wife doesn't collect, but its there if she needs it. That's all we're discussing here - how much survival insurance is appropriate for each person in each locale. I live in a desert. I have a 20,000 gallon pool, 100 gallons of stored potable water, and multiple RO and filter systems - "just in case". I'd need different items if I were in Minnesota.