the grid

a.k.a. grid -or- off the grid -or- on the grid

The network of electrical power lines from which power companies buy electricity.

Modern usage of this term suggests a desire to be independent from grid-transmitted electricity (including water lines, sewer mains, and supermarkets). Meaning many people, disillusioned with western civilization's dependence upon all things consumable, are reverting back to windmills, solar power, and other forms of homegrown energy, to promote self-reliance in an effort to get "off the grid."

Its meaning has extended to a few other uses, including not wanting to be "in the system" (for example, not wanting to give out your social security number to anyone and everyone). In another sense, "going off the grid" is an expression for creativity, similar to "thinking outside the box."

Historical perspective: In August 2018, the Kremlin cracked the U.S. electric grid. Hackers linked to the Russian government ran a giant and long-running campaign that put them inside the control rooms of U.S. electric utilities where they could have caused blackouts, according to The Wall Street Journal. Federal officials believed the team of hackers was affiliated with a shadowy state-sponsored group identified as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear and the group infiltrated utilities’ supposedly secure, air-gapped / isolated networks with startling ease, beginning with key vendors who had trusted relationships with power companies. Investigators said the Russian threat has been pronounced since 2014 and added that it’s possible the hackers used their access to prepare the battlefield for some future, devastating blow.

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