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Reliability Technology Issues and Needs Assessment

U.S.- Canada Power System Outage Task Force

On August 14, 2003, the largest electric power blackout in North American history left an estimated 50 million people without power in seven U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario. In the United States, the total cost of the blackout was estimated to range between $4 billion and $10 billion.

Immediately following the blackout, the U.S. President and Canadian Prime Minister appointed the U.S. Secretary of Energy and the Minister of Natural Resources Canada to co-chair a joint U.S.- Canada Power System Outage Task Force. The Task Force was established to thoroughly investigate the causes of the blackout and recommend actions that would minimize the possibility of similar, future events. Under the direction of the U.S. Secretary of Energy, the Department of Energy enlisted CERTS to provide technical assistance to the Task Force, including contribution to the Final Report on the August 14th Blackout in the United States and Canada: Causes and Recommendations.

Cover of the Blackout Report

CERTS played a significant role in the Blackout Investigation:


Joseph Eto
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
(510) 486-7284