Washington, D.C. has always existed as a town known for bureaucracy and gridlock; early Tuesday afternoon, the city briefly experienced life off the grid. The power outage — reportedly caused by an explosion and resulting fire at a Maryland substation — affected much of the D.C. area, including numerous offices home to our own federal government.

 

Many of the government buildings only experienced mild inconvenience; offices in the White House and the Capitol Building experienced brief loss of power but remained functional due to backup generators. But not everyone was so lucky. Less essential utilities, such as elevators, could not immediately have function restored, leading to some individuals being trapped inside elevators. There was also mass confusion in Metro tunnels, due to backup generators being unable to restore lights. Most power had been restored by 2 PM, with no serious injuries or loss of life resulting from the incident.

 

The federal government has remained diligent in assuring the general public that this power outage occurred by purely accidental means. During the brief panic of the incident, many began pointing fingers. Some made claims that the power outage had resulted from China or Iran, infiltrating American infrastructure. Ridiculous as those claims may seem, recent reports of possible ISIS threats within the continental United States has led to constant vigilance on the matter.

 

More important than the implications this event has towards American security is its implications towards America’s crumbling infrastructure. We laud ourselves to the world as the last great superpower, but we rely on an “aging” power grid that has proven its fragility time and time again. People jump to worry about the security of our power sources, wondering if we are under attack, but seldom do we question if we need to invest in our future.

 

These power outages will continue to happen — and get worse — if we choose not to start seriously thinking about renewable energy on a national level. Whether or not we choose to rectify this problem is our decision, but one that must be made soon.

 

Were you affected by the power outages? What are your thoughts about America’s infrastructure? Comment below or tweet @connerws