The Real American Blackout: Will the electric industry really examine the grid’s vulnerability?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                         
October 29, 2013
CONTACT: Emily Cashel
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
National Geographic Film, New Video Suggest the Costs of Failure to Do So
Washington, DC:  On Sunday night, National Geographic aired an alarming, and most timely, new docu-drama entitled, “American Blackout.”  It explores the trauma that would be experienced by the United States and its people should there be a prolonged nationwide blackout caused by a major disruption to the nation’s power grid.


In mid-November, the real test of the grid will take place when 100 electric utilities and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) participate in a nationwide exercise dubbed GridEx II that is supposed to demonstrate how well the grid can cope with significant disruptions.


A new video produced by the EMP Coalition, however, raises questions about whether GridEx II will actually test the nation’s bulk power distribution system – or be conducted in a manner calculated to obscure the grid’s actual vulnerabilities.


The electric utilities and their trade association/regulatory organization –NERC – have, to date, proven resistant to examining rigorously, let alone remediating, the grid’s vulnerabilities to various threats (including physical attack, cyberwarfare and electromagnetic pulse (EMP)).


The National Geographic film describes how a cyber attack could leave the nation without the critical infrastructures that provide everything necessary to life in 21st Century America, including: food, water, fuel, transportation, medicine, communications and finance.


The horrific consequences of such privation – even for the ten-day period explored in the film, let alone a much more protracted period – are such that, if the grid is vulnerable in the way shown in “American Blackout.” everything possible must be done to eliminate such weaknesses.


The EMP Coalition (an ad hoc group made up of many of the nation’s leading experts and organizations committed to preventing the grid and critical infrastructures from the terrible consequences of a long-duration loss of power) encourages every American to view the video “The Real American Blackout” and join in insisting that Grid Ex II be an honest examination of the state of the nation’s electric infrastructure, and a catalyst to the corrective actions needed to protect it against all threats – man-caused and naturally occurring.


For more information about the video and the work of the EMP Coalition, visit