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Contributed by: Roger Green
Contributed on: November 8, 2005

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?
My family was together. My father thought it was a Communist plot, uncharacteristically.

Why did the blackouts happen, in your opinion?
Overload of the system and lack of safeguards to stop it.

What is your opinion regarding the general causes of power failures (blackouts)?
we should find ways to use less energy

Did either blackout seem significant or shocking at the time?
1965 only

Why did you consider the blackout(s) to be significant or insignificant?
Because my father did, because it was so widespread.

How did the blackout(s) affect you?
Made me a little paranoid

What happened to your perception of the blackout(s) when you heard the news about the full scope of the event(s)?
Actually, relief.

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

What affect, if any, did the blackout(s) have on your opinion of Consolidated Edison Company?

If you experienced both the 1965 and 1977 blackouts, please compare them (describe the ways in which they were similar/different):

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

If yes, please explain:
we're vulnerable to our need for energy

Did the blackout(s) cause any profound crisis?

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

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:
I read a lot about the 1977 looting, especially after the non-looting after 9/11/2001, to which the 1977 event was compared to in the media.

Cite as: Roger Green, Story #480, The Blackout History Project, 8 November 2005, <http://blackout.gmu.edu/details/480/>.
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