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Largest Power Outage In North American History

Historical Events

At 4:13 pm Eastern time a failure in the power transmission system near Cleveland, Ohio created a cascading failure that knocked power out across much of the North-eastern US and Ontario on August 14th, 2003. More than 50 million people were without power from Michigan all the way to New York City and most of Ontario, Canada.

Though power hadn't been lost in a few isolated areas and power was restored in hours in many others, millions of people were without power from 12 to 24 hours. Commuters in both New York City and Toronto were stranded when the subway and street car systems were shut down. Many others were stranded when their car ran out of gas because gas stations couldn't pump gas.

For more than a week after the failure, consumers were asked to reduce power consumption while the system recovered.

Posted:  2003-08-20  3:05:21 PM

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