The blackout in the northeastern United States and Canada is the
first major power grid failure to hit the region in 38 years, and
the first to darken New York City since 1977.
Electricity went out in New York City Thursday nearly 26 years
to the day from the metropolitan area's last experienced a massive
power outage, on August 13, 1977. That lengthy blackout sparked
rioting and looting that cost about $100 million. Police made thousands
By contrast, a power failure in November 1965 that became known
as "the great Northeast blackout" is remembered for the spirit
of cooperation displayed by most of those who were affected - more
than 30 million people in New York, New Jersey, New England, Pennsylvania
and Canada's Ontario province, who were in the dark for more than
Early indications are that the blackout of 2003 was marked by
a convivial, almost party-like atmosphere in New York. People in
the nation's most populous city relaxed once they heard government
officials say there was no terrorist link to the power outage.
As dawn broke Friday, New York police said the number of burglaries
and other crimes committed overnight appeared to be much lower
One of the most costly power failures ever in the United States
was in January 1998, when ice storms brought down high voltage
electricity cables serving three million people in northeastern
parts of the United States and Canada. The damage was so extensive
that it took one month to restore full service.