The US Electrical Grid: Achilles Heel of the World?

On this episode of International Reporters Roundtable, we look at the U.S. electrical grid. It’s the largest machine in the world. One pitfall of cheap, abundant energy is that we can’t live without it. Less developed nations might fare a lot better in a grid-down scenario, but according to the Department of Homeland Security, 90 percent of the U.S. population could die within a year of total grid collapse.

A single solar flare could wipe out the entire planet’s electricity. We dodged one by a mere week, 11 years ago. But even smaller disturbances could hit the homeland hard: physical attacks, cyberattacks (like one that just shut down four hospitals), or electromagnetic pulse weapons. Are we a sitting duck? Are we fortifying the grid against these threats, or dismantling it in the name of stopping climate change? Unstable alternative energy is already blamed for storm devastation in Texas, rolling blackouts in California, and talk of more rationing and chaos.

Some U.S. power companies buy transformers—the backbone of the electric grid—from China. In 2020, we took one apart and found a back door: malware giving the Chinese Communist Party power to turn off our lights.

The power grid is America’s life support system. But lack of resilience, insufficient maintenance, and outdated standards make our grid the Achilles heel of the world. If the U.S. economy goes down, it drags the world down with it.

Our guests, energy consultant Steve Milloy, publisher of; threat analyst Cynthia Ayers, executive director of the Taskforce on National and Homeland Security; and survival expert Jonathan Hollerman, president of Grid Down Consulting, join us to reveal the truth about our electrical grid: why it requires immediate attention.

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