Issue Date: April 12, 2004
Blackout task force report released
Federal mandatory and enforceable electricity reliability standards with penalties for noncompliance by utilities were among 46 recommendations of the U.S.-Canadian joint task force that is investigating the cause of the Aug. 14, 2003, electricity blackout. The blackout cut electricity to 50 million people, mostly in the Northeast U.S. and Canada, and was preventable, the report says, noting that many of the infrastructure problems that led to the widespread outage had been known for years and that the causes were similar to previous outages. The report lays much blame on mismanagement of the energy system, especially by FirstEnergy Corp., an Ohio utility, but it also cites other inadequacies, such as ineffective tree trimming. In the U.S., a framework to begin developing mandatory and enforceable electricity reliability standards was included in provisions of the long-debated national energy bill. However, the bill remains blocked in Congress due to disagreements between political parties and House and Senate Republican leadership over provisions unrelated to electricity reliability. The complete task force report is available online at http://reports.energy.gov.
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