Again and again we hear of the consequences of loss of electrical power. Frequently, the authors call for more redundancies in the power grid so that blackouts will not happen. No complex system can ever be 100% reliable. However, as systems grow from very reliable to extremely reliable, people come to treat them as absolutely reliable. (A psychological quirk?) Lack of preparedness grows and the actual consequences become more severe than necessary. I hear that electricity fails up to five times per day in parts of Mumbai, and that it goes almost unnoticed because the locals and businesses are so adapted, and/or so well backed-up. I once was a firefighter. In firefighter culture, frequent drills and practice are essential to assure that men and equipment will perform adequately in a real emergency. I also once was a pilot. In that culture, repeated contingency drills are mandatory. Where are the drills to prepare the public, businesses and government to cope with loss of power? I also spent most of my career in the electric power industry. In that culture, it would be a career-ender to advocate staging a general blackout as a drill. The power industry's culture is to keep the lights on at all costs. To them, the thought of a blackout drill is anathema. Now I am retired so i can speak freely. I say, staged blackout drills would produce more benefits than costs (including the cost of some deaths during the drills). Suppose we staged blackouts? Would the training value justify the costs, disruptions and perhaps even deaths? Fair men can argue that point. I would like to argue in favor of the drills. Given a series of repeated staged blackouts of various duration and scope, I predict that within 1-3 years, business and the public would adapt. The serious negative consequences of blackouts would almost vanish. As illustration, consider the relationship between Y2K and 9/11. Loss of the WTC buildings hit at the heart of Manhattan and at the heart of some corporations essential to the world economy. Many fine people died tragically. Nevertheless, the power blackout never propagated further than the city blocks of the collapse, and the off-site backup facilities of those WTC housed corporations performed almost flawlessly. If the WTC attack had happened in 1998, I believe that the consequences would have been much worse. In that sense, Y2K had the effect of a preparedness drill. Today, we stand on the verge of spending hundreds of billions, even a trillion, or more dollars on hardening the grid against terror attacks. Is that wise? Is that cheaper than making the country blackout resilient? Resilience makes the power grid a less appealing target for enemies. Consider the human factor. If we spent $1 trillion on grid security, but authors could still write scripts claiming that a teenage kid in his bedroom could bring down the whole country. Would we really feel more secure? Would spending $10 trillion make us feel more secure? Obviously not, But experiencing a blackout every month or so would make us feel very confident. p.s. All the arguments above can be applied to the dependence of the western world on GPS navigation. Should we be staging GPS outage drills to make ourselves resilient? Ditto for Internet dependence. As a matter of fact, where is the strategic thinking in our planning for defense against external threats?