The Lights Went Out Six Years Ago Today

rewindOne of the cool things about having a blog that's almost 8 years old is that you can go back and read how things seemed at the time they were happening. For example, six years ago today was The Blackout. Six years ago tomorrow, I wrote all about it.

24 hours and 12 minutes. That's how long the power was off at my humble abode.

Of course, the worst black out in North American history had to strike just when our food supply was at its lowest. Already due for a trip to the grocery store, it was quite the challenge putting together enough sustenance to satisfy a growing 18 month old and his two hungry parents. Barbecued fish sticks anyone? The bright side is we had very little to throw away when the power finally returned at 4:23 this afternoon.

I did learn a valuable lessen throughout this ordeal. I learned that we're entirely too dependent on electricity for our day to day lives. Heck, my phone wouldn't even work because it's a cordless. No air conditioning, no stove, no microwave, no street lights, no gas station, no lights, no refrigerator, no tv and no computer. How did we survive over 24 hours? Gotta jet...The Simpsons is starting.

I remember initial reports after the blackout was pinning the blame on us. In actuality, the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force placed the main cause of the blackout on FirstEnergy Corporation's failure to trim trees in part of its Ohio service area. The report said that a generating plant in Eastlake, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) went offline amid high electrical demand, and that strained high-voltage power lines (located in a distant rural setting), which later went out of service when they came in contact with "overgrown trees". The cascading effect that resulted ultimately forced the shutdown of more than 100 power plants.

Damn overgrown trees.


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Comments (6 - click here to join in!)

Neville A. Ross

This anniversary is a good reason to show why we need nuclear power.

August 14, 2009 @ 6:14 PM

Inigo Montoya

I missed Radiohead because of that power outage.

August 14, 2009 @ 6:40 PM


You have no idea how pissed I was at that outage. I live within seeing distance of Pickering nuke. I wanted to drag an extension cord over to them and tell the #$%@!! er's to light me up again.

Still, one of my most impressive memories was going to work in the morning at 5:30 (I was up and there was nothing I could do without power) and how QUIET it was. Really, really eerie. Going down the street and prepared to meet zombies or Heston tearing around in a Mustang. Very apocalyptic.

August 15, 2009 @ 9:39 AM


It was my first semester of college, and like most first semesters, was bloody-awful stressful. I had just written the last exam of the semester-- I was done! I walked out of the exam room, and the entire building kinda went "kerSHUNK!" All the lights went out. I didn't care, I was done, lalalala! Walked outside, all the lights at Don Mills were out. Not a problem, I was done. Got in my car, drove home-- noticed the gas tank was low-- and all the gas stations were out of service. I didn't care, I was done! My car basically coughed its way into my grandparent's building, I walked up 14 flights of stairs, and called my gf to pick me up-- but I didn't care, I was done!

Sidenote: mmm, ice cream

August 15, 2009 @ 11:27 AM

Fredericton Steve

I was in Montreal when this occured and had just stopped into a bar for a nice cold one on that hot and sunny day to see all the TV's tuned to CNN and seeing everyone panic in other cities.

August 15, 2009 @ 2:39 PM


Wow, aren't we all so cavalier. As if energy is just a god given right in our society.

I'm in the oil business. I suggest you all google "Peak Oil" and see what the future might hold. Oh, and BTW, there is NO pipeline from Ontario to Alberta.

Careful..what you whine about.

August 16, 2009 @ 10:34 PM

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