Blackout hits wide areas of U.S., Canada

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by Prince_Serendip, Aug 14, 2003.

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  1. Prince_Serendip

    Prince_Serendip Registered Member

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    :eek: Blackout hits wide areas of U.S., Canada; lightning cited as possible cause

    Canadian Press

    Thursday, August 14, 2003

    NEW YORK (CP) - One of the biggest power blackouts in North American history hit steamy eastern U.S. and Canadian cities Thursday, stranding people in subways, closing nuclear power plants in Ohio and New York state and choking streets with workers driven from stifling offices.

    Read more...http://www.canada.com/vancouver/story.asp?id=0335CED7-1A08-437B-9B74-DC0DD65EB97B
     
  2. MickeyTheMan

    MickeyTheMan Security Expert

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    Would i live 2 miles south of here, i's be out of power too as OTTAWA is without hydro !
    As for my 2 plants in brockville and Cornwall, i'm not sure yet as to the status there.
    Sure hope there is power in Cornwall as i won't be able to fuel the rig tomorrow if there is not and i was supposed to leave and get a load of potatoes...... well finally some time off if there is no power.... not exactly the way i expected to take a leave of absence... but...
     
  3. Prince_Serendip

    Prince_Serendip Registered Member

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    I am soooo glad that the Western Canada Power Grid is not like the Eastern one! Viva le difference. However, it very much surprises me that the Eastern Power Grid can fall so easily. I'd say they have a lot of work to do on it. :rolleyes:

    Sorry to see this affecting your business. This will be tough (and dangerous too) on everyone in the East. :(

    I truly hope they get it fixed soon.

    From Larry
     
  4. Mr.Blaze

    Mr.Blaze The Newbie Welcome Wagon

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    sorry about that i was experimenting with ionized gas ballons and a satlite dish and a microwave and flare gun lol
     
  5. Jooske

    Jooske Registered Member

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    Yeah Blaze, your experiments with some mirrors were not unnoticed. See this nice explanation on the Mitch Battros site
    http://www.earthchangestv.com/breaking/2003/august_2003/15geomagnetic.htm
    His explanations have always been rather adequate.
     
  6. Prince_Serendip

    Prince_Serendip Registered Member

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    ;) Good Morning Jooske!

    This is the current leading headline at the Earth Changes site: Geomagnetic Storms Can Threaten Electric Power Grid

    Could this have caused the blackout the article asks??

    My answer: No. I checked on this last night. There were no geomagnetic storms at the time of the blackout. Ion storms can cause radio and communications blackouts but the chances of it affecting the power-grids are very slim.

    Some folks have speculated that it may or could have been caused by an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) weapon. But I consider that theory to be a little spurious.

    The people currently investigating this disaster do not know why it happened yet. Give them some time.


    Best regards from Larry
     
  7. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    Just wanted to say I sure hope they've all got their power back, and that everyone's ok... It justmakes me think of some news articles I've seen where people (mostly elderly) passed away when their air conditioners failed. Of course that's more common down here in Texas... Still; just hope everyone comes out ok.
     
  8. FluxGFX

    FluxGFX Registered Member

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    Hve to be honest that living on the other side of the river in quebec right in Gatineau must be so sweet, POWER ;) YAY there was so many people from the ontario side on the street OMG ;)
     
  9. Jooske

    Jooske Registered Member

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    Maybe the workers went home early and the last switched off the light?
    Anyway i do hope there were no victims and other problems. It did take lot of time even when power was back (i think) to get it all right again.
    Is it known the same day a bit earlier there was a fire in a Californian power plant as well which took some time to get the about 1000 customers back on energy?
     
  10. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

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    Power Restored; Blackouts Still Possible

    By LARRY McSHANE
    The Associated Press
    Saturday, August 16, 2003; 1:51 PM


    Air conditioners were humming Saturday and lights blazed again across most of the Northeast following the worst blackout in U.S. history, though getting electricity back didn't help those in Cleveland enjoy clean tap water, and some regions were still experiencing rolling blackouts.




    After a 32-hour shutdown, the nation's largest subway system began rolling again in New York at midnight. And in Michigan, where auto plants were paralyzed and officials had warned power could be out through the weekend, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said electricity had been restored to just about everyone - but she still urged residents to conserve.

    "We're not out of the woods yet," Granholm said Saturday. "If people don't conserve, we will have rolling blackouts."

    The return to normalcy came as a leading investigator said the failure of three transmission lines in northern Ohio was the likely trigger of the blackout that spread through eight states and Canada.

    "We are fairly certain" that the problem started in Ohio, said Michehl Gent, head of the North American Electric Reliability Council. "We are now trying to determine why the situation was not brought under control."


    Across the region, lingering affects of Thursday's dramatic power outage stretched into Saturday as millions struggled with both the mundane - resetting VCR clocks - to the life-threatening - boiling tap water to ensure potability.

    In Cleveland, about 50 members of the National Guard helped distribute 7,600 gallons of drinking water. Residents there and in Detroit, where water pressure was low, were told to boil water before drinking or cooking with it.

    Canada and the United States formed a joint task force Friday to investigate and determine how to prevent the blackout from happening again.

    Nora Mead Brownell, a commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said Saturday that it was clear the power grid needs work.

    "Regardless of what the root cause was, it was clearly exacerbated by a system that is unable to support today's economy," she told NBC's "Today" show.

    New Yorkers and virtually all the 1.4 million Ohioans who lost power were back on line Saturday, as well as an estimated 2.3 million customers in Michigan.

    But still, some customers in the Cleveland area, upstate New York and New York City were dealing with the unkindest cut of all: Their power, restored, was turned off again due to rolling blackouts needed to conserve electricity.

    The call for conservation echoed across each state affected by the blackout.

    "If you don't turn them off, they will go off," said Long Island Power Authority Chairman Richard Kessel.

    Chris Bowen, 47, of Syracuse, N.Y., said he and his family would try to heed the plea. "We'll probably leave the air conditioner off tonight when we go to sleep. We played cards by candlelight last night and it was fun. Maybe we'll do that again."

    President Bush, during a tour of a California national park, said part of the problem was "an antiquated system" to distribute electricity nationally. "It's a wake-up call," he said.

    In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he received a call from Bush offering congratulations on the city's handling of the crisis. Crime in the city was actually down compared to an average evening, and the looting that had marked the city's notorious 1977 blackout didn't appear.

    The New York City Council finance office estimated the blackout cost the city up to $750 million in lost revenue - up to $40 million in lost tax revenue and up to $10 million in overtime pay for the first 24 hours.

    Despite plunging several of the nation's largest cities into darkness, the outage resulted in few reports of vandalism or increased violence.

    There were at least three U.S. fatalities. In New York fires, a 6-year-old was killed and a 40-year-old man suffered a heart attack. A 42-year-old woman in Connecticut died in a blaze sparked by a candle. Her husband and 10-year-old son were badly burned.

    In Canada's capital of Ottawa, police reported 23 cases of looting, along with two deaths possibly linked to the blackout - a pedestrian hit by a car and a fire victim.

    More than 50 assembly and other plants in Canada, Ohio and Michigan operated by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group were affected, leaving tens of thousands of workers idle.

    As for the cause of the outage, which happened almost instantaneously across the Northeast at 4:11 p.m. EDT Thursday, officials remained in the dark.

    Investigators focused on a massive electrical grid that encircles Lake Erie, moving power from New York to the Detroit area, Canada and back to New York state. There had been problems with the transmission loop in the past, officials said.

    A young Connecticut couple, meanwhile, was enjoying an addition to their family. They made their way through chaotic streets Thursday to Greenwich Hospital to have their first baby.

    The hospital managed the delivery with the help of generators.

    "Everyone keeps saying you'll remember where you were on the outage of 2003," said Dan O'Neill, whose wife, Kara, gave birth to a healthy baby boy early Friday morning. "It was a blackout and he has one of the blackest heads of hair I've ever seen."


    © 2003 The Associated Press

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A3068-2003Aug16?language=printer


    More information posted here
    http://forum.gladiator-antivirus.com/index.php?showtopic=5952
     
  11. solarpowered candle

    solarpowered candle Registered Member

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    Most interesting article http://www.indymedia.org/

    BLACKOUT

    The largest blackout in U.S. history shut down cities across the Northeast U.S. including Detroit, Cleveland, New York City, and Ottawa, Ontario (Canada), among others. Power is slowly coming back in some areas, but many remain in the dark. There is still no word on what caused the massive power failure, although many are blaming deregulation. In its coverage of the event the corporate media has failed to mention the nation's lack of energy conservation programs and its notorious over-consumption.

    The power outage seems to have been caused by a sudden spike in demand which overloaded the 'Lake Erie Loop,' a massive electrical grid that encircles Lake Erie, moving power from New York to the Detroit area, Canada and back to New York state. The first power outages were reported east of Cleveland, Ohio, and the blackout cascaded across the country, cutting power to millions in just nine seconds.


    followed by the obvious http://nyc.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=69464&group=webcast
     
  12. Jooske

    Jooske Registered Member

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    Coincidence:
    The blackout occurred at 411 EDT. In Iraq it was 11:11. In England it was 911
    (posting in my SpeakIt newslist)
     
  13. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

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    I-Grid helps find source of power outage

    By Jeff Richgels
    August 15, 2003

    Deepak Divan was sitting on a plane waiting to take off in Portland, Ore., on Thursday afternoon when North America's biggest blackout ever began.

    "The stewardess came back and said the pilot said there was a massive blackout on the East Coast, and I said, 'Yes!' " Divan said in an interview this morning.

    Not because roughly 50 million people had been thrown into chaos, but because Divan's Middleton-based company, SoftSwitching Technologies Inc., was about to enter the national spotlight, and the power grid problems its products address would likely get the attention Divan believes they deserve.

    "Bad things happened but hopefully some good will come out of this - not just for us, but for everyone," said Divan, a former UW-Madison professor who founded SoftSwitching in 1995.

    More than 1,000 of SoftSwitching's "I-Grid" monitors are in place across the country, about 30 percent with utilities and 70 percent with major manufacturers like General Motors and Motorola that use large amounts of power.

    The I-Grid monitors captured what the firm believes to be the start of the problem -- a severe voltage sag in the Lansing, Mich., vicinity -- at 2 seconds past 4:09 p.m.

    "We think we know where it started but were still trying to analyze the data," said Divan, who fielded many calls from national media today. "At first blush, it looks as if there was a significant event in Michigan that resulted in pretty wide gyrations in the power system and possibly resulted in a generator being lost in Michigan or Ohio. That was the straw that broke the camels back and it cascaded across the system."

    Divan said it took only 10 seconds from the first event to the full blackout taking effect.

    He said the massive blackout in New York "was really the final gasp of the system as it was collapsing."


    The data from SoftSwitching's real-time monitoring system is posted at www.i-grid.com for anyone to view.

    Such information can be used to sort out the cause of problems, eliminating finger pointing by utilities when problems occur - and, more importantly, provide the basis for fixing problems with the grid.

    Long term, Divan hopes that it will spur federal and state regulators to establish grid reliability standards, and shake the complacency of many utility executives.

    "It's a pretty dramatic way of making a point, though," he said. "A lot of people are shocked that utilities don't have this information already. Something like this really brings things into focus."

    "Sometimes I think glaciers move faster than utilities," Divan added.

    Companies with the monitors are notified by e-mail or phone calls when an event occurs.

    Homeowners can buy a monitor for just a couple hundred dollars so they can be notified if the power goes out at their home and they're away, Divan said.

    SoftSwitching also makes a device that corrects momentary voltage sags that aren't noticeable except by those who need continuous high-quality power, such as precise manufacturing companies.

    The Dynamic Sag Corrector can't stop blackouts, Divan said.

    Some of the biggest names in finance, including GE Equity and JP Morgan Partners, are investors in SoftSwitching. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and local venture firms also are involved with SoftSwitching.

    SoftSwitching, which is located in the Airport Road Business Park, has about 40 employees.


    ********************************************

    "FirstEnergy, which officials said owns four of the first five lines that failed, said a system that is supposed to flash a red warning on computer monitors at the company's control center was not operational when the lines began failing Thursday afternoon."

    "A failure in the monitoring system could be devastating because it prevents operators from isolating failures before they spread, said Thomas Stuart, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Toledo."
     
  14. Primrose

    Primrose Registered Member

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    Capturing an event is a lot different than when a fault occurs...but those are nice numbers.
     
  15. Detox

    Detox Retired Moderator

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    Well, I hafta say one thing that really impressed me about this - from what I've read there was little trouble (looting, etc) and we all know something like this can be taken advantage of by "unsavory" types... I'm really happy to see how relatively calm things stayed. Nothing like the blackout in the 70's up there.
     
  16. AplusWebMaster

    AplusWebMaster Registered Member

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