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Addressing broader issues raised by the blackouts


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It is challenging to imagine the blackouts as anything but technological accidents--oversights of management and engineering quickly and inevitably corrected. Yet these failures were far from random. The blackouts exposed to public view an intersection of long-term developments which have often been overlooked, underestimated, or studied as disconnected phenomena.

Our first debate concerns the historical significance of the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965 for the electric utility industry. Historian Richard Hirsh of Virginia Polytech opens the discussion by placing that massive cascading power failure within the context of the electric utility industry circa 1965.

Richard Hirsh, "The Electric Utility Industry in 1965: At the Pinnacle of Success before the Blackout," 1999.

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jts{27 June 2000}