Monday, August 15, 2011

It Could Happen Again...!

This wasn't all that long ago, and with the weather being so crazy as of late...anything is possible!

I'm not sure, but my best guess is that not all that many improvements have been made overall since this happened. That means that the cause, whatever it really was, could easily happen again.

Just another reason to continue to prepare for the worst and hope for the best! Keep in mind that the only one you can depend on is yourself!

Aug 14, 2003:

Blackout hits Northeast United States

On this day in 2003, a major outage knocked out power across the eastern United States and parts of Canada. Beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET, 21 power plants shut down in just three minutes. Fifty million people were affected, including residents of New York, Cleveland and Detroit, as well as Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. Although power companies were able to resume some service in as little as two hours, power remained off in other places for more than a day. The outage stopped trains and elevators, and disrupted everything from cellular telephone service to operations at hospitals to traffic at airports. In New York City, it took more than two hours for passengers to be evacuated from stalled subway trains. Small business owners were affected when they lost expensive refrigerated stock. The loss of use of electric water pumps interrupted water service in many areas. There were even some reports of people being stranded mid-ride on amusement park roller coasters. At the New York Stock Exchange and bond market, though, trading was able to continue thanks to backup generators.

Authorities soon calmed the fears of jittery Americans that terrorists may have been responsible for the blackout, but they were initially unable to determine the cause of the massive outage. American and Canadian representatives pointed figures at each other, while politicians took the opportunity to point out major flaws in the region's outdated power grid. Finally, an investigation by a joint U.S.-Canada task force traced the problem back to an Ohio company, FirstEnergy Corporation. When the company's EastLake plant shut down unexpectedly after overgrown trees came into contact with a power line, it triggered a series of problems that led to a chain reaction of outages. FirstEnergy was criticized for poor line maintenance, and more importantly, for failing to notice and address the problem in a timely manner--before it affected other areas.

Despite concerns, there were very few reports of looting or other blackout-inspired crime. In New York City, the police department, out in full force, actually recorded about 100 fewer arrests than average. In some places, citizens even took it upon themselves to mitigate the effects of the outage, by assisting elderly neighbors or helping to direct traffic in the absence of working traffic lights.

In New York City alone, the estimated cost of the blackout was more than $500 million.

Let's hope that we don't experience anything like this again any time soon. However, if it does happen, I hope that everyone is better prepared than last time!

Remember, if we don't learn from our history...we are bound to repeat it!

Now, my friends, how about some fresh coffee on the patio?


Gorges Smythe said...

I'd forgotten about that, but I live in the country, so we try to be ready for anything. We HAVE to be!

Sixbears said...

It happened just before my second daughter's wedding. A number of the guests had a hard time traveling. Gas stations could not pump gas. Fortunately, the place were the ceremony took place had power as the local power station pulled out of the larger grid in time.

As for me, It was summer and I have a fair sized solar electric system. The great ice storm affected the area worse as it happened in the winter. Solar got me through then too, but I had to watch my watts.

I know a guy who works for the power company. If anything, the gird has gotten more centralized so that when key areas go down, it all goes down. The local guys no longer have the authority to restart the local section, even though they know how.

Anonymous said...

I was on vacation last week in the San Antonio area, and the hotel clerk had mentioned that with the beginning of school year, SA was expecting some rolling 'brownouts' due to increase electricity use with schools coming back into line. It has been REALLY hot this year, I'm surprised this hasn't already occurred.

chinasyndrome said...

Well heck as long as NYSE has power what else matters? Right?


Ben in Texas said...

I actually remember that one. Wasn't that the time when there was an increase birth averages 9 months later? :-)
I'm set now for one here if one ever happens. As long as I got gas for my generator that is. :-) Don't know what I'd do with a gas shortage and black out at the same time. :-)

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
Good thing that living in the country has taught you to be pretty much self reliant.

After I wrote this, I experienced a bit of a blackout (more a partial one) so living in the city sucks even more now!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
Not a bad thing, to have solar instead of the grid!

Can't do that here!

You have a great day! Thanks for coming by!

Hey Anonb 6:32...
Starting to have them here in Houston! Had my first last night!

I appreciate you coming by today!

Hey China...
Yeah, we want to keep all the "important" stuff going, for sure!

What a mess we are in!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey Ben...
Looks like you have the gen just in time!

Power is starting to go again!

Thanks, buddy, for dropping in!

JoJo said...

I remember one way back in the 60s. There was quite a lot of babys born. The electric was out for a couple days back then. That was east coast too and summer.

Craig Cavanaugh said...

The Texas grid has been running pretty much maxed out with the heat wave. One little hiccup could set off a chain reaction...

TROUBLEnTX said...

I remember that blackout. I was so amazed, when the news was showing 1000s of people out walking, trying to get home. We've always had blackouts, when a transformer blows, or a squirrel gets into the lines, never thot anything about it, had one yesterday as a matter of fact. lol

Dizzy-Dick said...

Another thing that causes blackouts in the north-east is CME's or Coronal Mass Ejections from our sun. They can shut down the grid by over-loading it with induced current. Has happened a few times that I know of.

tffnguy said...

The power goes out a LOT down here and can be off for hours and even a day. Just a crappy system I think. Short outages are pretty darned common and often at times. Some times they run low voltage and people on-grid loose appliances because of the low voltage. I've seen food have to be thrown away, no way to get gas, all stores closed because of it and other problems. It sure is nice to be off-grid, but even at that it does effect us in one way or another. I'd sure hate to see a massive long term outage in Texas and surrounding states! For that matter I'd hate to see it anywhere because it would likely effect all of us (nation wide) in one way or another and quiet likely in many ways.