Dennis Quaid documentary 'Grid Down, Power Up' explores dangers of sudden electric grid failure

Actor says a power grid catastrophe would make COVID look 'like a kids' show'

 Actor Dennis Quaid is known for his multi-faceted roles on the silver screen, but he recently released a documentary about the prospect of a power grid outage that would send the United States "back to the 1880s."

Quaid joined "Jesse Watters Primetime" to discuss the documentary and explore the possibility of what he said could be caused by anything from terrestrial attacks on power stations to a Chinese balloon carrying incendiary payload over U.S. airspace.

Host Jesse Watters quipped that Quaid's latest venture "scare[d] the heck out of" him, while playing clips from the film.

In it, Quaid explains how the U.S. power grid is often overlooked in terms of its sensitivity and importance to daily life.


Actor Dennis Quaid visits The IMDb Show on April 17, 2019 in Studio City,

Actor Dennis Quaid visits The IMDb Show on April 17, 2019 in Studio City, (Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb)

"Heat, gas for our cars, transportation for food-restocking — all of it relies to some extent on electricity. But no one likes to focus on what could happen if it all suddenly is taken away," he said in his narration.

On "Jesse Watters Primetime," Quaid added there have already been several attacks and plots against U.S. substations, including one recent situation where two suspects plotted sequential attacks on Baltimore-area substations they hoped would grind Charm City to a halt.

"This is not ‘The Day After Tomorrow,' by the way. This is tomorrow," Quaid said, nodding to his 2004 apocalyptic film. "I think it could happen, and it's a problem that we can fix."


Power transmission lines deliver electricity to rural Orange County, North Carolina

Power transmission lines deliver electricity to rural Orange County, North Carolina (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

He noted that one of the biggest power outages in U.S. history was caused by tree limbs making contact with wires in Ohio in 2003, blacking out New York and several surrounding states as well as parts of Canada for multiple days.


"That was just a small little event, but a GMT event — a bad actor could take it out through a Chinese balloon, for all we know… " Quaid began.

"It could be up to, like, 30 days, but what we're talking about is like a nuclear explosion up in space."

If a catastrophic outage — caused by an atmospheric or space-based attack — occurred and caused a month-long outage, Quaid warned, "it would take us back to 1880, and you wouldn't be able to get gas, you wouldn't be able to get food."


Quaid said utility companies don't want to foot the full bill for upgrading and safeguarding the grid, estimating that a $50 billion federal budget allocation over several years could go a long way.

"This is something that if it does happen, it's going to make COVID look like a kids' show," he said.

Watters noted the United States has given billions to Ukraine in just the past year, positing the feds can afford to focus on such a key facet stateside.

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