Electricity - Power Cuts: Keeping the Lights On

The old children’s riddle asks ‘Where was Moses when the lights went out?’ Since August he could have been in New York, Toronto, London, Copenhagen, Rome or any number of other places; but wherever he was he was certainly in the dark. Unfortunately, early reactions to the wave of blackouts that made front pages all over the world indicate that governments and electricity planners are also in the dark.

The World Today Updated 16 October 2020 Published 1 January 2004 4 minute READ

On Thursday August 14, in a matter of minutes, the lights went out from Massachusetts to Michigan, affecting some fifty million people in the northeastern United States, Ontario and Quebec – the biggest blackout in North American history. Two weeks later a power failure in London trapped commuters in the Underground and scrambled public transport across southeastern England. On September 23 it was the turn of Copenhagen and southern Sweden, losing supply to some four million homes and businesses. Just five days later, as Rome was revelling in a ‘Notte Bianca’ – white night – everything instead went black, across much of Italy.

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