You may have heard that, at about 15:38 Pacific time yesterday, an APS worker outside of Yuma, AZ, accidentally tripped a fault that shut off power to parts of Arizona, California, and Baja California in Mexico. So, one guy, apparently, can shut down power to 3 states in 2 countries. That really fills me with confidence about the robustness of the electrical grid.
Anyway, I was one of the 6 million people who lost power during this horrific crisis. In an instant, we were thrown into the stone age by the loss of modern technology, living in a world lit only by fire. I kept a diary of this frightening experience. Below are my diary notes, written contemporaneously during the collapse. I append it here so that historians can know how it really was.
1538: Crap! I just lost all electrical power at my house! So much for liveblogging tonight. My netbook and 4G modem work though.
1550: Can’t get to the SDG&E web site, or through on the phone. Odd.
1605: Liveblogging president’s jobs speech. Streaming video from White House via 4G modem on my netbook with its tiny screen. Inconvenient. Like being a settler in a covered wagon. Will the power ever come back?
1724: I’m learning how people lived in Oldy Days without electricity. This sucks. Why do these things always happen to me?
1745: Power outages throughout San Diego County, reports of outages in Mexico, AZ, NM. Millions without power. Trolleys dead. Massive traffic.
1840: Went out on my motorcycle for a pack of smokes. Stores closed, smokes hard to acquire. Had to go to 2 stores to find them. Civilization is breaking down. Loading my rifles now.
1930: Darkness is falling. Dinner time approaching. Must resist cannibalistic urges.
2018: So, ONE GUY can cut off power to three states in two countries? One guy? Seriously?
2100: SDG&E says, "If you have a personal family emergency plan, activate it now." My personal family emergency plan is to kill my neighbors for their food. Too soon? Or do they already suspect my plans?
2140: No power for 6 hours. Veneer of civilization crumbling away. Typing on a netbook via 4G in candlelight like some sort of animal.
2230: 7 hours without power. My white wines are perilously close to room temperature. We’re just living like wild beasts now.
2316: Must go to bed and try to sleep now. All windows are open to try to cool the house. Temperature must be approaching 80°. May start sweating at any minute. Physical torture affecting my thought processes.
2330: With the candles out, it’s pitch black. Strange noises outside the windows. What was once civilization may now be infested by wolves and mountain lions. Or possums.
2340: Must try to sleep. Thank God for the protection offered by my four large dogs. If I am alive in the morning, it is thanks to them.
0230: Am awoken by lights, television. Air conditioning back on, so I have to get up and close all the windows. That sucks, ’cause I have to be up at 0700. Will this horror never end!?
0231: Oh, wait…
Some may try to trivialize this blackout in the future. But now you know how it really was.