INDEPTH: POWER OUTAGE|
CBC News Online | August 15, 2003
Updated August 18, 2003
The largest power outage in decades swept across much of Ontario and the northeastern U.S. on Thursday August 14, 2003. It left many residents and business owners in a state of confusion while they tried to figure out the cause. Here is a timeline of events (all times are eastern standard):
Thursday, Aug. 14
16:11: "Huge" power fluctuations experienced in northern Ohio.
16:15: Flow of electricity ceases across the Eastern Seaboard. MORE
16:45: U.S. intelligence assures public the power outage is not the work of terrorists. U.S. power regulators say a New York plant outage had cascading effect on the Niagara Mohawk Power grid; New York state official says grid is overloaded.
16:54: New York City mayor's office and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) say the blackout was not caused by a terror attack. MORE
17:30: New York Gov. George Pataki declares a state of emergency.
17:45: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says power should be restored to the city within hours.
18:15: The Prime Minister's Office blames the outage on a lightning strike at a power plant on the U.S. side of the Niagara Region. MORE
19:13: All Air Canada flights to and from Toronto and Ottawa are cancelled for the remainder of the day. Flights to and from all destinations in the northeastern United States are also cancelled for the remainder of the day.
19:15: The PMO points to a fire at a Con Edison power plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y., as a possible cause.
19:54: Canadian officials say a massive power outage across the northeastern U.S. and parts of Canada was caused by a lightning strike at a Niagara power plant on the U.S. side.
20:00: Independent Electricity Market Operator issues a statement that it could be a couple of days before power is restored in Ontario. They tell residents to expect rolling outages after power is restored to prevent overloading generators.
20:00: Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman announces power will start up again at midnight, and says it will be restored to most areas of the city by morning.
20:25: Premier Ernie Eves speaks to media. He insists the government is not responsible for the outage.
20:30: U.S. President George Bush holds a press conference and offers help to American cities dealing with the blackout.
22:30: Power resumes in some areas of Toronto.
23:00: Ontario government declares state of emergency. Eves instructs all non-essential workers to stay home.
Friday Aug. 15
08:00: Half of Ontario's power is restored by Friday morning.
16:00: U.S. President Bush called the blackout a "wake-up call" and said the power grid needs to be "modernized."
16:00: Air Canada resumes flights.
16:15:Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman predicts the "biggest baby boom we've ever seen," as a result of the blackout.
Saturday August 16
3:00: Toronto Hydro announces power is restored to 95 per cent of the city. Two pockets of the city remain in the dark. The utility says brownouts and rolling blackouts will continue.
9:30: New York Gov. George Pataki announces New York State has 100 per cent of its power. Shortly after the announcement, the New York City subway returned to regular service.
12:00: Toronto mayor Mel Lastman calls on Ontario Premier Ernie Eves to spare Toronto from rolling blackouts which are expected across the province in the coming days. Calling his city the "economic engine of Canada," Lastman told a news conference the he wants to "make sure that the subways are operating Monday morning."
15:00: The U.S.based North American Electric Reliability Council announces that three failed transmission lines in Northern Ohio likely caused the blackout. But, NERC head Michehl Gent says, it is unknown "why the situation was not brought under control."
Sunday August 17
11:00: Ontario Premier Ernie Eves again implores industry and residents to curb their use of electricity by 50 per cent. The Premier also denied pleas made by Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman for that city to be spared rolling blackouts. He says Toronto has more than enough power to function properly.
18:00: Eves re-issues a call for Ontario business and industry to halve normal power consumption by any means necessary. Ottawa mayor Bob Chiarelli echoed the statement, saying all but essential workers should stay home Monday.
Monday August 18, 2003
6:00: Subways and street cars return to full service in Toronto, almost four days after being knocked out by the power outage.