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Contributed by: David Rahfeldt
Contributed on: November 8, 2004

Which blackout(s) did you experience?

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?
No thanks. Would just tell the tale of a redhead in bed. Chuckle.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
EMP from experimental programs hit an unprepared grid.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
Lack of capacity and Lack of planning.

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?
Significant due to the logistics and productivity displacement they caused.

Significant due to the amount of increased sexual activity and pregnancies / births due to the blackout ...

Hey, it was not an entirely unproductive time! wink

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
Went back to bed and got a holiday. Was great.

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
Nothing, expected the scope to be greater than it was. Had been expected by many of us for years.

How would you compare the blackout(s) to "normal" power failures you have experienced at other times?

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?
No change. They are still as incompletent as ever.

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):
No functional difference, except the later event had NO effect at all on me functionally as I had accomodated for it, and demanded of my vendors that they prepare and accomodate for such events.

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

If yes, please explain:
Lack of rational Strategic planning for our power grid and its controls.

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?

If yes, please explain:
No one took seriously the event. It soon passed from our collective memories.

How did the blackout(s) affect your daily reliance on electricity?
Other (please specify)

If other, please specify:
Bought MORE generators and UPS systems to sustain my busineses and residences.

Now my home has 90 days of generator capacity and 48 hours of UPS for all systems.

At least 25% of that is shielded and isolated (boxed) so as to shied it from EMP.

This is how the story goes: In November of 1965 the lights went out in New York and crime rates temporarily dropped; there were widespread reports of extraordinary cooperation and trust between strangers caught together in the power failure. In July of 1977, little more than a decade later, the lights went out again in New York. This time, a devastating wave of looting and arson broke out. Does this story ring true to you? Explain why or why not:
Yes, it does.

The nature and chracter of our relationships to each other and to our government changed.

Now while I would not expect a "devastating wave" in 77, I would expect LESS "common tribe" attitude and more "me now" attitude due to the failure of 60's reforms to effect expected change and due to disappointments the body politic had recently realized.

Cite as: David Rahfeldt, Story #324, The Blackout History Project, 8 November 2004, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/324/>.
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