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CHRONOLOGY-Major blackouts in Europe, Americas

LONDON, May 25 (Reuters) - Electricity was suddenly cut off to swathes of Russia's capital on Wednesday bringing large sections of the public transport system, including underground train services, to a halt.

Following is a brief chronology of some major outages to strike Europe and the North American power grid.

Nov 9-10, 1965 - "The Great Blackout": power failure knocks out electricity in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New England and parts of Ontario, Canada, leaving estimated 30 million people in dark for up to 13 hours. Cause is traced to failure of high voltage line at Niagara, New York power station.

Aug 13-14, 1977 - Major transmission line fails on hot summer night, plunging New York City into darkness and triggering widespread looting in several neighbourhoods that causes millions of dollars in damage.

Aug 10, 1996 - Major U.S. high voltage line fails on one of year's hottest days, knocking out electricity to about 15 million people in seven states across western U.S. power grid.

Jan 1998 - Slow-moving ice storm pelts Ontario and Quebec, upstate New York state and New England, snapping transmission lines and toppling 1,000 high-voltage towers. About three million people lose electricity, many for up to a month.

2001 - Series of rolling blackouts hit California at height of state's energy crisis, ordered by grid operators to avoid system collapse when supplies ran dangerously low.

2003:

Aug 14 - Power goes out across much of northeastern United States and parts of Canada, hitting major cities such as New York, Detroit, Boston, Cleveland and Ottawa. Utilities scramble to restore service and find cause of outage, which U.S. power officials call worst ever to strike grid.

Aug 28 - Huge blackout knocks out a fifth of London's power for a half hour during evening rush hour in what British grid calls its worst failure in more than 10 years. Electricity network operator blames undersized fuse.

Sept 23 - Broad power blackout strikes southern Sweden and eastern Denmark, crippling industry, airports, trains and bridges. Outage may have hit up to five million consumers, including one to two million in Sweden and between two and three million in Denmark, officials estimate.

Sept 28 - Power cut cripples most of Italy in one of its worst blackouts. Only island of Sardinia and small pockets of mainland escape outage, which authorities blame on breakdown of electricity lines from France and Switzerland hit by storms.

Oct 29 - A blackout strikes the popular Brazilian tourist destination of Florianopolis which lasts two days and which led authorities to declare a state of emergency.

Nov 7 - Most of Chile loses power in a major blackout, snarling rush hour traffic in the capital. The country's central grid goes down.

2004:

July 12 - A power blackout strikes Athens in the worst outage for a decade, leaving the Greek capital and large parts of southern Greece without electricity for hours during a mini heatwave. Trains, buses and the metro were brought to a standstill and hundreds of people were stranded in lifts.

2005:

Jan 23 - A swathe of downtown Toronto loses power for about 11 hours after a flooded water main forced the shutdown of an electrical station. Several major hospitals and hotels were relying on emergency power generators.

May 25 - Following an explosion at a electricity substation, power is suddenly cut off to parts of Moscow bringing large sections of the public transport system, including underground train services, to a halt.
 

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Against ID Cards
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Come to think of it we haven't had a power cut here for quite a while except one evening when the power went off for a couple of seconds.
 

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The Blackout of August 14, 2003 made international headlines. It lasted in some areas for a couple of days and it affected over 50 MILLION people in 8 U.S. states and the entire province of Ontario.

It is the largest blackout of its kind in North American history.

And it originated at an OHIO power plant.
 

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Nothing beats the blackout in downtown Auckland that lasted at least 2 months in 1998, and took several more months to finally come back to normal.

Imagine your city center, skyscrapers and all, dark for TWO MONTHS!
 

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I don't remember any major blackout here in Germany. They just deactivate the services for like, 2 hours every year to do maintainance works. That is, on a very local basis of course. Not nation-wide :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Blackout hits most Venezuelan states, Caracas

CARACAS, April 7 (Reuters) - Blackouts hit most of Venezuela on Thursday, affecting an oil refinery and the Caracas metro in a growing headache for President Hugo Chavez months after electricity rationing dented his popularity.

The 146,000 barrel-per-day El Palito refinery had to be restarted after the failure and the capital's metro transit system ground to a halt at the beginning of the evening rush hour, forcing thousands of commuters onto the streets.

Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez said power was restored quickly in most of the 17 states and the capital but warned many regions would be cut off again for brief periods during the evening to ration energy as the system stabilized.

"It will be necessary to ration in all the states of the country tonight between 7 and 10 p.m.," Rodriguez said on state television, explaining the cuts would be staggered.

Throughout 2010, many Venezuelans were subjected to strict electricity and water rationing during a drought attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon. Combined with an economic slump, the utilities crisis damaged Chavez's popularity.

At the time, Chavez canceled a plan to ration power in Caracas after a chaotic first day of cuts left poor, crime-ridden districts in the dark and workers stuck in elevators.

The national electricity company said via a Twitter message the programmed cuts will not affect Caracas, one of the world's most lawless cities.

Other than the El Palito, refineries were operating normally in the OPEC member, national oil company PDVSA told Reuters. Rodriguez blamed the problems on forest fires that caused the failure of an 800-kilowatt cable and affected 6,000 megawatts of capacity.

Rainfall and heavy investment in new oil-fired power stations helped overcome last year's crisis. But experts warned that the national grid was still running close to capacity.

Just last week, a number of states were plunged into darkness by blackouts that also caused problems on the metro, which carries some 2 million people a day.

The socialist president who was first elected in 1998 and draws his support largely from working-class Venezuelans is preparing a re-election bid in December 2012.
 

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I can't recall the last major blackout in Sydney, or anywhere in Australia for that matter.
 

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Power outages after Hurricane Wilma in 2005 left all of South Florida without power. Initially over 3 million FPL customers had no power. Many places remained without power for almost 3 weeks.

In 2008 a small fire in a Miami substation caused a cascading grid collapse from Miami to Tampa. More than 3 million people were without power in the middle of a hot and busy February day.
 

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Chicago never really sees any blackouts anymore. What we deal with is storms that will blast through in the spring and throw 100,000 to 300,000 customers off the grid for a few hours or more.

The city did go through hell back in 1999 though. It caught everyone off guard, but over the course of a few months the entire city grid started to cascade into massive failures at random. 100,000 customers would lose power on the north side, then the entire downtown area would go dark in the middle of the day, then the south loop would lose it, then a few days later bucktown would go offline.

The worst was when the downtown area lost power in the middle of the day stranding 500,000 people in the Loop. Luckly the trains still worked because they are on a separate grid.

It was a cascading failure, and the electric comany actually realized about 15 minutes beforehand that they had no other choice but to cut the entire downtown area because of substations that kept blowing. Police and fire officials were actually running through downtown streets and screaming to all building owners to evacuate as many people as possible in the next 15 minutes because of the oncoming failure. Then to try and stop elevator usage completely as the selected time finally arrived. Of course hundreds of thousands of people were still stuck dozens of floors up in the sky.

Needless to say everyone, especially the mayor, was enraged. They designed an entire new system, and the electric company spent billions of dollars upgrading and checking EVERYTHING. Now the city has one of the most advanced and computerized grid systems around. Power loses are extremely low, and the city can pinpoint exactly what area has lost power within seconds and send electric crews and fire/police to the scene.

In the 10 years I've lived here we've never once lost power at work downtown, and only twice at my house. Each time though it was restored within about 15-20 minutes.
 

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USA is famous for blackouts it seems...

Biggest blackout I remeber here was several years ago, en electric distribution center got overheated during hot summer days and it caught fire.

Damage was small because of fast reaction of some employees. 200.000 people got affected for several hours. That's about the worst i know.
I can't recall having lost power for the last 3 years...

Something is wrong with the USA system I guess...
 

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Blackout hits most Venezuelan states, Caracas
That was terrible, someones had to walk several kilometers from their workplaces to their homes, bus terminals or railway stations to other cities... Caracas is a city where about 70% of people live in medium or high rise buildings, and some elevators were collapsed :( (for example i live in a 18th floor)
 

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Norwich had a power cut a few weeks ago, not a major event perhaps, but it was interesting to see how utterly dependant we have become on "always on" electricity.

I work in a college and we simply had to close, no teaching was possible and the kids were lost without the computers. Doors to some facilities like the library opened with the power loss and couldn't be closed and no till worked in canteens.

The cut lasted two days for the campus and the second day we had an emergency generator hooked up which allowed us to function.

I remember (showing my age) power cuts in the 70's and we just carried on by candle light, but we can't do that now. Should we start to have frequent black-outs, we're in a real mess now.

Derek
 

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I think the worlds biggest blackout was the Italy/ southern Switzerland one of 2003, when the entire country (Italy) had a powercut, with only the island of Sardinia unaffected. I think it was 55 million people in all had their power taken out, only a few months after the 50 million blackout on the American Eastern seabord.
 

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I don't really know of any large scale black outs in England. There have been a few due to weather conditions etc. But I have never experiences them. My home was once with out electricity for 2 days...due to my ASS OF A NEIGHBOUR cutting through our power line when building a new garden wall lol
 

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I love blackouts!
i still remember the one and sadly the only one in the east coast when i was young, in NY just imagine being like 12 yrs old in Glen Oaks, Queens, NY, having all your neighbors out either bbqing or looking at the stars till like 5 am and sleeping with your doors opened or outside on the porch due to the hot weather and playing with your friends with no curfew or restriction. Felt like a community!!!

Well now if it happens again, will annoy me alot but good ole days.
 

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Had a huge storm blow through within a matter of 10 minutes this morning in Chicago - of course it had to hit right at rush hour. Winds of up to 120 km/hr hit as a huge derecho blew through the entire metro area.

Almost 900,000 homes and businesses lost power immediately after, with around 500,000 still without power over 12 hours later. It's set the record for the largest loss of power due to one event in Chicago history.

I was on a train to work when it hit this morning, and honestly I didn't think it was anything more than a really strong storm. It didn't seem record breaking. 900,000 is a LOT. That's probably over 20% of the entire metro area down.
 
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