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Energy Secretary Bodman and Minister of Natural Resources for Canada Lunn Release the 2003 Power Outage Final Report

October 3, 2006 - 9:37am


WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman and Minister of Natural Resources for Canada Gary Lunn, today released the final report on the power outage that affected 50 million North Americans in August 2003.

In accordance with the mandate of the U.S.-Canada Power Outage Task Force, the report outlines all of the actions taken to prevent or minimize the likelihood of future blackouts, reduce the scope of those that do occur and improve the security of the North American electric power grid.

"I appreciate the hard work and diligence that went into this important report. It demonstrates that while improvements are being made to enhance grid reliability," Secretary Bodman said. "We still have a very complex system that is subject to possible mechanical and human failures.  We must remain vigilant."

"I wish to congratulate the members of the Task Force and the many organizations involved for their hard work and their determination to ensure the completion of key recommendations made to both governments to reduce the likelihood of future large-scale blackouts," Minister Lunn said. "The Task Force has been an outstanding example of close cooperation between the governments of Canada and United States, and we have established a Bilateral Electric Reliability Oversight Group for collaboration between authorities in both countries on issues of common concern."

The report deals with the largest power outage in North American history, which occurred on August 14, 2003. This outage affected an area served by 61,800 megawatts of electric power in Ontario, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

There has been significant accomplishments in the three years since the 2003 blackout. Mandatory reliability standards are being implemented in the United States and in jurisdictions across Canada. The North American Electric Reliability Council is submitting 118 new standards to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and appropriate authorities in Canada for review and approval. Additional standards are also being developed.

The governments of the United States and Canada have also established the Bilateral Electric Reliability Oversight Group as a forum in which the U.S. Department of Energy, FERC, Natural Resources Canada and provincial energy ministries can discuss issues of common concern.

The final report denotes that the U.S.-Canada Power Outage Task Force has fulfilled its mandate, and that the Task Force is being dissolved.

Obtain a copy of the final report.

Media contact(s):

Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940