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Could the ‘American Blackout’ Scenario Really Happen?

American Blackout - Could it really happen
Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Nat Geo debuted their docu-movie event “American Blackout” on Sunday October 28. Could the scenario depicted in the movie really happen?

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Could it Really Happen?

Note: Minor spoilers for ‘American Blackout’ ahead.

Blackouts have certainly happened in history. A widespread blackout hit the United States east coast and portions of Canada in 2003. That power outage is attributed to a computer failure at a control room in an Ohio power supplier. The blackout then rolled like a wave to the Eastern Seaboard.

Natural disasters, like Superstrom Sandy, cause power outages as well.

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The plot of ‘American Blackout’ revolves around a cyber attack on our power grid. In reality, the United States is not on one power grid, but rather on several regional grids. New York, like most of the continent east of the Great Plains, is covered by the Eastern Interconnection. The rest of the US west is covered by the Western Interconnection.  Texas, by the way, has its own Interconnection.

So, without yet seeing ‘American Blackout,’ it will be interesting if the attack fictionalized in the movie is a coordinated attack on all of the power grids in the country or will it be regionalized?

Once the lights go out, the movie shifts to the survival skills of those who will be left to deal with life after lights. That’s right in Nat Geo’s wheelhouse. The network successfully documents the ‘prepper movement’ on shows like ‘Doomsday Preppers.’


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