Join us below at 1 P.M. Eastern on Wednesday (August 1) for a live 30-minute online chat with engineer and energy writer Melissa C. Lott, who will discuss the blackouts that have afflicted hundreds of millions of people in India this week and whether such a catastrophe could occur in the U.S. She writes for the "Plugged In" group blog with the Scientific American network which investigates the connections between energy, environment and our lives.

Lott is a 2011 Presidential Management Fellow. Her work blends technology and policy in the field of energy systems research. She focuses on the economic and environmental tradeoffs of energy systems, including electricity generation (power plants) and transportation fuels, as well as on electricity transmission (smart grid, RETI, CREZ) and energy efficiency programs. Lott has worked for more than 6 years as an engineer and consultant for YarCom, Inc. She has previously interned for the Department of Energy and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Energy & Climate Change Team for the Obama Administration.

We invite you to post chat questions in advance. We have already turned on the capacity to log in to the chat box below. Lott will join us at 1 PM EDT on Wednesday, August 1.