Pentagon won’t shut down power grid despite online rumors, viral videos


In front of electrical powerlines, a Chinese construction worker walks on a highway overpass project in Beijing Sunday, Feb. 19, 2006. Power shortages due to China’s booming economy has led Chinese authorities to increase power production capacity and expand other forms of power production such as nuclear and hydro. (AP Photo)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Some are interpreting an upcoming Department of Defense drill as a blackout across the United States.

It’s well known that the Internet is full of hoaxes and conspiracy theories. This one has viewers calling and sending emails about a viral video of a Michigan woman.

In the video, the woman says the Pentagon is going to shut down power to all of North America between Nov. 4 and 6.

WNCT investigated the claims and talked to state and county officials, learning that nothing is going to happen to the power grid and the video a complete hoax.

The woman’s 9 minute Facebook Live rant takes aim at the DoD, saying the drill will do things like disable cars and keep cell phones from working.

In reality, this is a regular drill used by the Army Military Auxiliary Radio System also known as MARS to test what would happen if there ever were a large scale power or communications outage.

“It’s just like me planning for a house fire, I would not go set someone else’s house on fire to decide what I would do,” said Jay Morris, deputy fire marshall and emergency management for Pitt County. “The government – the same thing they would not shut down a whole state to see how they would react in that situation.”

A statement released by the defense department says:

“The exercise will simulate a power outage scenario, it will not impact public or private communications. There will be no power outages of communication systems. This exercise is designed to improve readiness, build cooperation and public awareness, and better prepared to defend the nation.”

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