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Contributed by: Constant Reader
Contributed on: February 27, 2015

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?
he Great Northeast Blackout of Nov 9, 1965. Around twilight on that day a power line relay failed near Niagara Falls. A cascade of overloads shut down the entire Northeast power grid, and the lights went out from Trenton to Toronto. The streets were dark, the houses were dark, and candle-lit groceries locked their doors against any unrecognized customers.

Boston Edison had recently installed a new, efficient main power plant. Problem was, restarting its generators required electricity. Without the grid there was no electricity to tap into, anywhere. The previous coal-fired plant it replaced was closed, but still intact. A few Boston Ed employees raced a block away to a construction site, stole all the lumber, built a fire with it under the old boilers, and got up enough steam to turn the turbines to feed a trickle of electricity to the new motors to start up the new power plant to bootstrap the Boston system and overnight bring the city back to life. Boston was one of the first cities to recover.

You canít count on a shuttered power plant lying around, or a nearby construction site with real lumber. In an emergency you need the resilience of redundancy. Distributed solar generation is one part of supplying that kind of resilience to the grid.

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
Both were significant

Did the blackout(s) have any larger meaning in your mind?
Yes (please explain)

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?
No

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
No effect / same reliance

Cite as: Constant Reader, Story #2209, The Blackout History Project, 27 February 2015, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/2209/>.
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