I'm obliged to Charles Hugh Smith for reprinting the observations of an Australian reader about a recent extended power failure down under. Here's an excerpt.
It was a fascinating opportunity to observe firsthand what happens when an electricity dependent society and economy has an extended and complete loss of electrical grid and communications.
Key observations for my local area are:
1. Many people have small petrol generators thanks to our lovely coastal wilderness and a preoccupation with Glamping (Glam Camping).
2. Very few people had a store of petrol at home more than 5 to 10 litres [1.3 to 2.6 US gallons]. (usually kept for use in lawn mowers, brush cutters, chainsaws). Some owners of small boats had up to 20 litres [5.3 US gallons] on hand.
3. When the electricity goes out ... the pumps at fuel stations don't work. To my great surprise, only 1 fuel station in my nearest city of about 14 000 population had (or quickly acquired) a back-up generator to work their fuel pumps. There was a 3 hour wait for customers to get from back of queue to the pumps ... and a ridiculous show of 'bulk buying' where people didn't just take fuel that they personally needed; they showed up with between 3 and 8 X 20 litre (5 gallon) fuel cans as well as filling their cars. Hopefully the canned fuel was distributed among family and friends. (My assertion is that the owners of the station should have rationed fuel to 40 litres per customer to keep the que moving faster and to make sure everyone had some, rather than creating an 'all or nothing' situation.)
. . .
6. The full loss of grid, grid back-up and other smaller backups caused telecommunications and data transmission to practically cease. This meant limitations of EFTPOS in stores. Banks were shut, ATM's didn't work and some shops that were open could only take cash. Generally though, everyone muddled through the sketchy electronic payment systems one way or another. Internet access failed for the most part. Social media pretty much collapsed ... my two daughters though their social lives were over. I didn't miss it. My wife found more time to do other things too.
There's more at the link.
Highly recommended reading for everyone who routinely prepares for emergencies (as we all should). There's good information there.