NY Repeat of Calamitous ’03 Blackout Not Likely


Ahead of the tenth anniversary of the Great Northeast Blackout Wednesday, the operators of New York’s electric grid believe a repeat of 2003’s event — when the state lost about 80 percent of its generation in six seconds — is unlikely.

The New York Independent System Operator says there are stricter standards and better operator training now. Grid operators also are better able to see and respond to problems.

The nation’s grid is better managed and more flexible a decade after its largest blackout. It’s still vulnerable to extreme weather, cybersecurity threats, and stress caused by shifts in where and how power is produced.

The industry has mostly addressed the failures blamed on a tree branch in Ohio that touched a power line and set off outages that cascaded across eight states and parts of Canada on Aug. 14, 2003, knocking out power for 50 million people.