Power cuts us from ourselves

Our offices were one of 1000 properties hit by a power cut today in south west London. Lights ceased and computers temporarily died between 1645 and 1915 as a sub power station decided it had had enough and downed tools.

This is one of many occurrences of power cuts in the last few days after the recent adverse weather, and it set me thinking about how the UK would communicate in the event of a full on power outage.

We communicate in many different ways, radio, TV, the internet, SMS, but in the event of a complete power failure, or even a strike, we would only have few options to play with. We’d be looking at mobile phones as our main source of contact, and the emergency services would have to rely on their radio systems.

Would the mobile networks cope with the sudden onslaught of phone calls and texts? Judging by what happens every new years eve, no.

So could the mobile operators cope with a sudden rush of people heading towards the Internet and using the likes of Twitter from their mobiles? Again the answer is probably not.

What could we do in the event of a major crisis apart from listen to the radio, providing the broadcasters could still pump out information, and cling on to each other for dear life, if the Internet was down and there was no electricity?

The importance of communicating with each other is highlighted at the times when we can’t, but need to must.


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