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December 18, 2000
Which blackout(s) did you experience?
1965 (Great Northeast Blackout)
In your own words, tell the story of your experience in the blackout(s). Try to recall specific events and the people, places, and things involved; also include more general reactions, images adn last impressions?
I was on my way home from HS after swim practice. It usually took about 20 minutes to get to the stop near my house.
As the bus entered my neighborhood I noticed that the houses were'nt lit and the street lights were out and the traffic signals did'nt work.
When I got off the bus it was dark people were outsid in front of there house looking around wondering what was going on.
Apparently everything just went dark --people started to line up at the Pharmacy to buy batteries for their transistor radios and flashlights.
As I walked the four blocks to my house there was an eerie feeling that this was not going to be over anytime soon.
but people seemed to be enjoying themselves nevertheless.
They seemed to be getting together to help each other.
I lived in a pretty quiet neighborhood but there was never a feeling of being in danger or being threatened in any way, it just seemed to be an unexpected inconvenience.
Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Not a Clue.
What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
I guess overtaxing the system. Too much energy being used at the same time.
Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Both were significant
Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
I'm sure it opened the eyes of the utility companies and exposed them to considerable criticism and lawsuits.
How did the blackout(s) affect you?
It was an experience but didn't really affect me.However after reading about other incidents in other areas of the city. Such as looting, robberies and dangerous situations, I have learned not to take them too lightly should they happen again.
What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
I felt lucky not to have been affected adversly.
How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?
Because of the lenghth of the blackout and the surrounding events. I realized how it impacted others.
What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
It forced them to make improvements and install safeguards so that it wouldnt happen again.
If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
I was out of town during the 1977 blackout, I was older and wiser and just shrugged the 2nd one off. Because as a typical NEW Yorker I had been there & done that. We learn to be more resilient after experiencing something of that magnitude.
Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?
How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
Other (please specify)
If other, please specify:
I realized what could happen. In this age of technology it is essential and I take necessary precautions to deal with it if we should experience another blackout. We rely on electricity more now than 35-40 years ago and we need to respect it and not abuse it.
Story #124, The Blackout History Project, 18 December 2000, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/124/>.
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