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Volume 29, Issue 2

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The Great Blackout of 2003: Aug. 14 Power Outage Largest in U.S. History

Written by  Janette Ballman Thursday, 22 November 2007 00:58

Continuity planners received a wake up call when a massive power outage struck parts of the United States and Canada on Aug. 14, 2003. Thousands of manufacturing plants, offices and retail shops were forced to close. Restaurants shuttered their doors and airlines cancelled flights in record numbers. In the midst of it all were contingency planners who were called into action to implement crisis plans to protect their companies and inform their employees of proper procedures. The blackout affected eight states in the United States, including most states in the northeastern region and several in the Midwest. Areas in and around Ontario, Canada also lost power. Beginning shortly after 4 p.m. EDT., the blackout was triggered when a series of errors caused a major transmission corridor to shut down. Cities experiencing the blackout included New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Toronto, Detroit, Newark, Cleveland, Akron and Philadelphia. In total, nearly 50 million people


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