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report on august 14, 2003 blackout
The August 14, 2003 electricity blackout stamped an indelible impression on the minds of North Americans. Stretching from as far west as Detroit, the blackout covered much of Ontario, Canada, northern Ohio and extended all the way east to New York City. Almost as quickly as the event struck an avalanche of worldwide media coverage reported that the largest electric blackout in North American history had, in a matter of minutes, suddenly plunged 50 million North Americans into darkness and forced thousands of businesses to abruptly close operations. In its wake a renewed appreciation of the importance of electricity in all aspects of our everyday lives was stirred along with a rekindled understanding of just how intricately interwoven, interdependent, and vulnerable our electrical system has become. A search for answers as to what happened on August 14, and, more importantly, what can be done to strengthen the reliability of our electric system to prevent such an event from recurring in the future was immediately set in motion with a sense of keen urgency. With over six million residents out of power for up to two days and hundreds of businesses shut down, some for several days, Michigan elected to commence an investigation to examine the blackout from our vantage point.