Chronicles the recurring patterns of disenfranchisement witnessed from 2000 to 2004 while following the story of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who not only took an active role in investigating these election debacles but also found herself in the middle of one after publicly questioning the Bush Administration about the 9-11 terrorist attacks. What the movie does not focus on is how the cyber attack took place, who was responsible, how the malware managed to spread across the entire electricity grid, how it caused things to blow up, or why it took ten days to get the power back up. A big part of industry’s cybersecurity effort centers on preparedness, reliability and resilience. First, the electricity grid is divided into three segments – the eastern interconnect, the western interconnect, and the segment operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
Third, utility companies have long-term, mid-term and short-term preparedness programs designed to ensure resilience in the face of catastrophic events. In short, the electric utility industry is taking every reasonable precaution to be prepared for physical and cyber attacks and natural disasters. American Blackout airs tonight at 7P leading up to the all-new season of Doomsday Preppers at 9P. Follow these Gloucester, MA fishermen as they use rod and reel to catch the elusive bluefin tuna.
Explore the fascinating facets of your cranium with brainteasers, experiments, and hard science. Explore the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are going to great lengths to prepare for the end of the world.
Crews work to ready MetLife Stadium in New Jersey for Super Bowl XLVIII, as federal agents fly nearby in a helicopter. No matter whether you're rooting for the Seattle Seahawks or the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, there's one play nobody wants to see after the snap. That's the kind of electrical malfunction that turned the lights out at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans during last year's big game, interrupting the second half for 34 minutes.
Since that mishap, the organizers of this year's game at New Jersey's MetLife Stadium have been working with the NFL, the state Sports and Exposition Authority, and local utility officials to make sure that the more than 82,000 fans in attendance and more than 100 million others watching on TV across the nation won't be cursing the darkness.
In addition to ferreting out and fixing any electrical system defects that might cause an outage, they've had to protect the power supply against the threat of an ice storm or other extreme winter weather that could swoop in to disrupt the first Super Bowl that will be played outdoors in a northern locale. But to put the Super Bowl's electricity use in perspective, some of the big Internet big server farms, like Google's, probably require nearly as many megawatts as MetLife Stadium, and actually use a lot more electricity, day in and day out, because they run all the time. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said officials have been preparing literally from the moment that the lights went out at last year's event.
For starters, PSE&G has bolstered its infrastructure against bad weather and equipment failures, said Lloyd.
New Jersey's stadium authority, which has responsibility for the electricity once it gets inside the complex, has upgraded its substation and taken steps to make sure everything works properly in the stadium itself. Officials also have installed separate generators, which are to be fueled with biodiesel, to provide an additional 6 megawatts of electricity. Finally, in late October, officials staged a test in which they simulated the Super Bowl's power usage. An electrician runs a cable under a food truck to hook up a generator on Broadway in preparation for Super Bowl celebrations.

Power engineering expert Reed says that in some ways, the setting of the gamea€”the first open-air venue in a cold-weather region to host the Super Bowla€”actually makes it less likely that an electrical mishap will occur.
If the defect had been discovered beforehand, the device could have been set set to handle a higher load, and the blackout would have been prevented, the expert concluded. Power engineering expert Erich Gunther, whose consulting firm, EnerNex, assisted in this year's Super Bowl preparations in New Jersey, said that stadiums are particularly vulnerable to blackouts because they rely upon metal halide lights. Once such lamps go out, they must be cooled completely before being relit, or else the equipment risks being damaged, he said. In addition to checking wiring and equipment inside and outside the stadium, officials can guard against such disruptions by trimming tree branches that could fall on lines and cause short circuits, and by installing barriers to keep squirrels and other animals away from them, Gunther said. Worries over a possible Super Bowl outage are symptomatic of a larger problem, in Gunther's view. Reed noted that the worries about an outage dramatize a larger issue-the need to overhaul an aging electrical grid which was designed in the mid-20th century. Some call Cynthia McKinney a civil rights leader among the ranks of Shirley Chisholm and Malcolm X.
The point of the movie is that if people do not stockpile at least a few days’ worth of water and food, then they may find themselves and their neighbors resorting to barbaric behavior for the sake of survival in the event of an extended power outage.
The movie simply assumes, without explanation, that a cyber attack could actually cause a ten-day, nationwide power outage. These segments are very distinct, so it is unlikely that an attack on one segment would have a cascading impact on another – certainly not an impact that causes the other two to go down in their entirety. Utilities are required to comply with mandatory critical infrastructure protection standards that address reliability, infrastructure design, relay effects, and operational procedures with regard to both cybersecurity and physical security.
These programs include maintaining an inventory of spare equipment, sharing spare equipment with each other, maintaining multiple layers of redundancy through primary and backup systems, creating robust repair capabilities, and maintaining the ability to perform manual monitoring and balancing functions via voice communications if data communications go down. Outages have been prevented or confined to discrete localities, and nationwide blackouts of the sort depicted in the movie have not taken place. Officials have taken extraordinary measures to prevent another power outage like the one that delayed play at New Orleans last year. In total, the Super Bowl will require about 50 percent more juice than a typical Jets or Giants game at MetLife Stadium: 18 megawatts of electrical capacity. The operators of those facilities generally put in place the same sorts of safeguards that have been added for the Super Bowl. The upgrades include installation of a third power line to augment the two already in place to deliver power to the stadium complex. That included hiring an outside consultant who shot infrared images of every piece of wiring in the stadium, in an effort to spot and fix flaws. Much of the nonfootball extravaganza, including the halftime performances by Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, actually will be powered by the generators, McCarthy said.
In contrast with New Orleans' Superdome, MetLife doesn't have a massive air conditioning and heating system to draw huge amounts of electricity and add to the complexity of managing use. Palmer, last year's blackout was caused by a defect in the sensing equipment designed to protect the stadium's electrical system.

It took stadium operators 12 minutes to figure out the problem, bypass the switch and restore power, and another 22 minutes to run the stadium's start-up sequence.
That technology causes electrical current to arc through a gas to create light, rather than heating a filament, as conventional incandescent bulbs do. He also recommended stationing police vehicles along the power-line route, to make sure that a reckless driver doesn't lose control and crash into a utility pole. Utilities have been spending money in recent years to modernize the grid and improve reliabilitya€”especially in a state like New Jersey, which took the brunt of Hurricane Sandy and suffered widespread outages in 2012.
Others call her a conspiracy theorist and a 'looney.' American Blackout gains unprecedented access to one of the most controversial and dangerous politicians in America and examines the contemporary tactics used to control our democratic process and silence political dissent. The 90-minute docudrama devotes less than five minutes to the cyber attack, saying only that it involves some sort of “malicious code” that somehow causes transformers and substations to blow up all over country. That’s a good point and most of us can probably improve our preparation for tornadoes, terrorist attacks, and the like. Today’s cyber threats – hacktivists, criminal organizations, insider threats, nation states, and terrorists – are serious and persistent. These requirements are designed to ensure a defense-in-depth that would prevent significant cascading effects in the event of a cyber attack.
For example, in April, criminals fired multiple gun shots at a San Francisco area substation and cut nearby fiber optic cables, thereby shutting the substation down and disabling 911 service. While the cybersecurity threat is serious one, let’s not allow a docudrama about disaster preparedness to distract us from the real cybersecurity challenges in front of us.
That's as much as a town with 12,000 inhabitants would need, according to Kristine Lloyd, spokesperson for local utility PSE&G.
Each of the lines is capable of supplying the entire 12 megawatts of electricity that MetLife Stadium normally requires to power the lights and the rest of its standard power needs.
While metal halide lamps are relatively efficient and produce bright light, Gunther said, they're sensitive to sudden drops in voltage. We're stressing it in ways it was never designed to be handled, to be quite honest," he said. The rest of the movie follows the breakdown of civil society during a ten-day, nationwide blackout. However, combined with depictions of hysteria and the near-total breakdown of civil society, this movie is sure to generate conversation about cyber threats and our state of cyber preparedness, even though it is not actually a movie about cyber. The concern that a cyber attack on an industrial control system could lead to physical consequences in a discrete facility or location is legitimate and real.
They are both taking action to reduce cybersecurity risks through improved network security practices, increased sharing of cyber threat information within industry and between the government and industry, and more aggressive efforts to arrest cyber threat actors here and overseas. Substantial progress is being made, but much remains to be done by industry, the administration, and Congress.

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