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I’m certainly hopeful (and reasonably comfortable) that they’re doing all they can against things pertaining to hacking or programming errors. And Roadracer’s story reminds me of a conversation I had with someone recently that works in the nuclear power industry (totally different utility company than the one mentioned further below). He told me about a problem that happened not too long ago in their system where a primary computer system went down, and it DID switch over to a backup system. BUT the system on the backup side did not do a COMPUTER backup of what was happening all along. Someone had failed to program in the same safety systems on the backup transmission equipment as was developed for when things are working normally. The system records EVERYTHING in real time, and they can go back and re-create almost anything through their computer backup system. But while operating on the backup power generation side of things, their system was literally flying blind – nothing was being backed up by the computers, and some data that absolutely should have been available to them, simply was not. I wish I could remember more details of that conversation – sorry. But I remember making a comment to him that it reminded me of the 18 minute “hum” on the Nixon Watergate tapes. His response was, “Exactly.” That’s an example of “one of those things” that’s hidden in the system, quite by accident, through incomplete programming for example, that can’t always be guarded against 100%. But I’m reasonably satisfied that they’re doing all they can from a programming protection standpoint. It’s the electro-mechanical catastrophe I am far more concerned about (a nuclear-induced major EMP or a massive coronal mass ejection [CME] that hits the Earth completely square).

I talked with the investor relations folks at a major utility a couple of years or so ago, and asked what was being done to protect against a major solar storm (I chose not to even mention a nuclear-induced EMP). I was told they they could isolate various sections of the grid “very quickly,” if they needed to. I went a bit further, because the tone was slightly condescending as if I really had no clue what I was talking about, and gave a bit more background and knowledge, and I then started getting what politicians are so good at – filling air space with full paragraphs that essentially mean nothing. Never was any mention made of him not being able to discuss any specifics due to the need to keep those kinds of details confidential – there just plain wasn’t any detail or even much in the way of generalities. I have a dear friend who’s retired from a subsidiary of that major utility, and asked him who I could speak to. I contacted a person VERY much in the know about what was being done, if anything, and even brought up the nuclear-induced EMP possibility in addition to the solar CME. That individual knew exactly what I was talking about. The following almost qualifies to have quotation marks around it, because it’s as close as I can recall to the exact words spoken in response to me: we really aren’t doing anything. I was stunned! This was an individual in a position, with the technical knowledge (not just some corporate “suit” with a business degree), to KNOW if and/or what was being done to “harden” the system. As of a couple years ago (maybe three at the most), the answer was “nothing” or “not doing anything” – like I said, I don’t recall the exact actual words the person used. What was 100% clear was the meaning of those words, however – there was zero interpretation needed.

Now, I will say that there followed a short discussion of the devastation a HEMP weapon or a Carrington event CME would cause – there was no debate on that. And what I gathered (though it was admittedly not explicit, but I believe it was knowingly implied) was that they couldn’t possibly stockpile all the large transformers needed to replace what would be melted down inside those transformers (the very large “sub-station” transformers, not the little “cans” that sit on power poles in every neighborhood). So they’re protecting from as many other hazards over which they actually can have some success by protecting the system. It’s pretty extensive for many different possibilities, but the bottom line appears to be that a major EMP is simply beyond their capability to protect against. It’s then that it becomes apparent whether we’re true preppers, or not. The answers I got were chilling, because I fully believe they’re true – because of the sources and because of the expertise of at least one source (not to mention that I got it first hand, not through the rumor mill).