The Power Grid's Weakness: What You Need to Know

by Anna Gretz
October 28, 2016

We rely on electricity from the power grid every day.

We have built a thriving, vibrant society that absolutely depends on a functional electrical grid. Most Americans depend on the power grid to energize the devices that wake them up, brew their coffee, light up their closet, and signal when it’s their turn to drive across the intersection to work. And that’s just the beginning.

Electricity empowers us to:

Connect and Communicate

Inform and Entertain

Teach and Research

Design and Build

Deposit and Withdrawal

Cook and Create

Heal and Save Lives

Every area of modern life is touched by the electrical grid. Today in 2016, we quite literally cannot live without it. Without electricity, every system that is working together to keep our society going would break down, on both an individual and a structural level.

Without electricity, things get really dark, really fast. And not just because the lights go out.

When the electrical grid goes down, (which it does… a lot…), life as we know it grinds to a halt. Our battery-run phones and laptops stay afloat for a few hours, but without a power source to recharge them, we’re disconnected and unable to communicate with others before too long. The food in our fridges and freezers, as well as the refrigerated and frozen food in stores, slowly thaw and spoil, and we don’t have power to cook or microwave what we still have. Traffic signals cut out, causing hours of back-ups in urban areas. Those who who depend on elevators to descend 15 floors to the street are now stranded in their units, and anyone hooked up to life-essential medical equipment goes into panic mode.

Sounds like a nightmare scenario, doesn’t it? It absolutely is. Yet prolonged power outages are becoming more and more frequent across the United States.

Why are power outages on the rise? Because our electrical grid is weak. Weaker than you might think.

You would think that a system as vital as the electrical grid would be well-protected, frequently strengthened, and updated along with technological progress. It’s not. In fact, almost the opposite is true. The power grid still runs on weak, outdated technology, and some grid transformers’ only protection is a chain-link fence. Things have gotten so bad, that a recently released security report named the Power Grid as our country’s biggest weakness.

America’s power grid is made up of a spiderweb of 160,000 miles of transmission lines, and 55,000 sub-stations. That’s a very bit, vulnerable system. And reports show that the grid is struck be either a physical or cyber attack, get this, once every four days.

Now, before you dismiss this for the sake of sleeping well tonight, let Janet Napolitano, Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary, have a word. According to this well-informed government official, a cyber attack worthy of taking down the power grid is not a matter of if… but when. Pretty much all of her colleagues agree.

“...the grid is a weakness for us. There can be adversaries that we know, there can be people that are just disgruntled… but the effect is going to be a shutdown of at least part of the grid.” - Air Force General Ronald Keys

“D+.” The grade the American Society of Civil Engineers gave a vital piece of the power grid infrastructure.

“A large portion of the system exhibits significant deterioration with a strong risk of failure.” - The ASCE Engineering Review

“Our country is a sitting duck for a terror attack that could completely destroy the power grid and take the lives of nine out of every ten Americans in the process.” - Former CIA analyst Dr. Peter Vincent Pry

Woah, woah, woah. Slow down. We know, it’s kind of a lot to take in. Most people living in the United States have no idea how weak the power grid is, and when you find out, yeah, it’s pretty crazy.

But we don’t want to focus on the scariness of the vulnerable power grid. We want to focus on how you can protect yourself from the next inevitable power outage, no matter how or why it happens.

You don’t have to rely on the unreliable power grid.

At Swell, we’re in the business of energy security. We want to make sure every household knows what it feels like to have back-up power--stored energy that you can tap into whenever you need it. It’s a really good feeling. Instead of wondering when the next power outage will hit, you can know that you’ll still have the electricity you need to keep your outlets up, your light on, your devices charged, and your refrigerator running. With this sort of security, you can focus on the things in your life that really matter.

What does energy security look like? Well, according to us, it’s small, quiet, and affordable for everyone. We call it EnergyShield.

There’s not anything like EnergyShield on the market so far. We wanted to create a product that anyone could afford, but that provided enough power to meet all of your home’s energy demands in the case of a power outage.

EnergyShield is a solar + storage system that will change everything. The solar part of the system generates power from the sun, and the storage component does exactly what you think it does: stores the power so you have it whenever you need it.

EnergyShield will:

We don’t like talking about the vulnerable, unreliable power grid. We’d rather talk about the energy security options that are available for everyone. If you’re as excited about EnergyShield as we are, hit us up, and we can talk about hooking you up with energy security, so that power grid no longer has to be your problem.