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Fri, 1 Nov

Power Outages In US History


No one likes losing electric power because of several reasons. Foods that are placed in the refrigerator can be spoiled and the electric heater stops working. There are some who are concerned about their night lives not being able to exist while some are alarmed that those businesses which are usually opened twenty-four hours seven days a week lock their doors. And as the power stays off for the longer time, the worse things can get.

The United States of America is not exempted from blackouts. The country has of course experienced some of the worst power outages in US history.



Power Outage in New York City


The first unforgettable blackout happened at 5:27 pm of November 9, 1965 in New York City. Large parts of Canada, including Buffalo and Ontario as well as the whole Northeast area of the US went dark. Several people were entrapped in elevators and train stations. Since there was no electric power and no radio and television to inform them the real happening, Americans assumed that the Russians had invaded the most powerful country in the world.

Electric power was back by eleven in the evening in some areas but in some places, power has not been restored until seven in the morning the next day. The real cause by this blackout which is faulty power relay in Ontario was discovered one week later.



Power Outage Caused By Lightning


The second haunting power outage caused by lightning struck New York in July 13, 1977. NYC has lost its lights and air conditioning. Some parts of the city remained peaceful while in other parts, riots and looting have appeared leading to thousand cases of arson and more than 5,000 people have been arrested. The blackout lasted for more than twenty-four hours but has been resolved quickly.

Historians mentioned that the blackout was caused by socio-economic turmoil experienced by the city.



More Power Outages in US History

Another one of the worst power outages in US history happened on December 22, 1982. This happened when high winds had blown and knocked out a transmission tower hitting another tower in the West. This caused a domino effect leading to three more towers falling off. The last two towers struck are power lines. Almost five million households in the western US had lost electric power.

One more terrible power outage occurred from July 2 to 3 in 1996. This led to more than two million people in Canada, Mexico and the US losing power for several hours. This blackout happened when a power line in Idaho overheated and slumped in a tree which tripped a protective device.

Wyoming coal plants have also been tripped with the relay. In August 10, 1996, power lines brushed against trees in Oregon and Washington were short-circuited. This caused failure to thirteen hydroelectric turbines at the McNary Dam. Almost eight million people lost power in the US, Canada and Mexico. The power outage lasted for six hours.

Lighting stuck in Minnesota in July 25, 1998 causing one power line to fail. This caused other power lines to be overloaded. Another lightning followed and hit another power line. This resulted to blackout in the whole northern portion of the Midwest. Canada and Midwestern states lost power and around 52,000 individuals suffered for nineteen hours.

Four high voltage power lines in Northern Ohio brushed against trees and failed in August 14, 2003. The effects were compounded by a computer error which resulted to cascading failures. This left more than 50 million people in the US and Canada powerless. The blackout lasted for two days and is considered the biggest power outage in North America because of the billions in economic losses. At least eleven deaths were recorded during this power loss.



Most Recent Power Outage

The final and most recent among the worst power outages in US history happened in September 8, 2011. This was caused by a mistake on switching equipment. This deprived almost 2.7 million people in California and Arizona of electric power. The blackout lasted for twelve hours.