North Eastern USA and Southern Canada, 14 August, 2003
On 14 August 2003 a significant area of the north eastern United States and southern Canada suffered a severe power blackout affecting some 50 million people in an area stretching from New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts in the east to Michigan in the west and running from Ohio north into Toronto and Ottawa in Canada.
For an overview of what happened, how the media responded and what other agencies have had to say a good place to start is the US DOE web page which draws much of this information conveniently together. If you want instant access to a listing significant reports and presentations put together by the North American Electricity Reliability Council then follow this link. There is also a good overview of information ofn the event at the website of Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The US-Canada Power System Outage Task Force released its interim report on 12 November, this is available here.
The Final Report of the System Outage Task Force was published in April 2004 and is available here. The official accompanying press statement summaries the position as follows: "The report makes clear that this blackout could have been prevented and that immediate actions must be taken in both the United States and Canada to ensure that the electric system is more reliable. First and foremost, compliance with reliability rules must be made mandatory with substantial penalties for non-compliance. In addition, a number of technical and organizational improvements are urgently needed to assure efficient and well-coordinated operations across the North American power grid."
There is a useful contact list for agencies and utilities affected by the blackout here.