Lights Out by Ted Koppel – Review

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

Today we are featuring Lights Out by Ted Koppel (not to confused with the fiction book Lights Out by David Crawford).  The book explores what it would be like to have a blackout that lasts for months, instead of just a few days, and the result of an in-depth investigation into the vulnerabilities of our country’s power grid.

The prepper community has long been concerned about the safety of our electrical grid; many fear various threats such an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), coronal mass ejection (CME) or terrorism bringing down the grid, rendering millions without power.  When I first heard of this book, I thought, “I am so glad a respected journalist such Ted Koppel has decided to look into this subject-I’d be curious as to what he found out.”

Now that I have read the book, I found that conditions are actually scarier than I thought.  Ted Koppel’s book is an eye-opener in revealing the bureaucracy involved in relief efforts.  It seems no one in the various government agencies has an actual plan, and everyone he interviewed has different ideas on what to do; hence, there will be confusion if or when it does happen.

At the same time, electric companies also ignore the possibility and therefore have no plan.  The author cites that replacing a transformer can cost millions of dollars, if a replacement can be found.  They are manufactured outside the U.S. and it takes a minimum of six months to two years to replace just one.  This makes you think even if they were to get somewhat prepared, the reality is you may not have power for six months at best, and therefore you are on your own.

On the positive side, the author also spent time with regular people who have prepared for the possibility.   Preppers, homesteaders – whatever name they go by – they have made it a priority to be prepared to be on their own for a period of time.  Whatever stage of prepping you might be in, there are lessons to be learned from reading this book.

I am glad he has written Lights Out. By sounding an alarm about the weaknesses of the power grid, the book will hopefully get the attention of government officials and electric companies and spur action.  At the same time, it also serves as a warning to the rest of us and reminds us to be more prepared in case of a long-term “Lights Out” event.  I hope and pray that nothing happens, but it is best to be prepared.

Now for the giveaway…

The publisher of Lights Out, Crown Publishing has generously offered to give away three copies of the book.  We have made it easy to enter via Rafflecopter below.  (THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.)



a Rafflecopter giveaway


© Apartment Prepper 2015

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  1. It looks like a terrific read… I’m curious to see what preparedness suggestions he has for ordinary people. We could weather a short outage easily in our little hippie house, but are still unprepared for a long term grid failure. We’re working on it though!

  2. This book sounds like a must read. Without the power we must be prepared to live off grid. For those in big cities it is imperative.

  3. I am concerned…Because we live with frequent power outages, we keep routine supplies on hand and are gradually acquiring solar chargers, off grid cooking equipment etc. A major event would mean a dramatic life style change so we work to develop our self sufficiency mentally and materially…

  4. Yes I am concerned. Preparing by gathering multiple means of providing heat, light, cooking, etc. that don’t require electricity. Also saving up to purchase a couple of different systems to keep items that do require electricity (radios, communications, etc.) up and running such as solar, wind or maybe pedal powered.

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