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[cdn-nucl-l] Blackout: Toronto lightens up, a little
Posted on globeandmail.com on August 14, 2003 (12:04 PM) at:
It appears that Darlington and Pickering poisoned out. Bruce must not have
been down as long - 3 units back up and running. Initial reports were that
21 generation plants in the US went down within 3 minutes of the blackout,
including 9 nuclear units in New York and Penn. Hydro One and OPG web pages
are still down, though the IMO page is up. It's rare that the IMO will
Current Market Demand: 2,315 MW
Current Hourly Price (HOEP): -$2,000.00 /MWh (-200.00¢/kWh)
at 11:00 p.m. EST August 14
Average Weighted Price for August: $51.49 /MWh (5.15¢/kWh)
Hourly Uplift Charge Estimate: -$58/MWh (-5.8¢/kWh) at 11:00 p.m.
Notice to Users: The IMO-administered market has been suspended until
See more at:
Blackout: Toronto lightens up, a little
Canadian Press and Globe and Mail Update
Lights are flickering on across Toronto this evening, as power restoration
hits the city. It has also come back in many outlying areas, including parts
of Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga.
Ontario Premier Ernie Eves has declared a state of emergency in the entire
province, and is asking people not to go to work tomorrow if they can avoid
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"I urge them not to go to work tomorrow unless they have to, absolutely have
to, essential services," the premier said.
"They are working diligently to bring as many generators back up as they
can," Mr. Eves said. "They have connected the three units at Bruce with the
grid system which is good news."
"Darlington and Pickering will be down, possibly for a couple of days or
more because once those units go into a certain mode, they go into safet
mode or they shut down and it takes a while to get them back up."
"There is no definitive time as to when I can tell you that power will be up
all over the province," he said. "It will come on in blocks and pieces."
Everyone is asked to use all power sparingly, and to remember that restored
power could easily go out again. Mr. Eves asked that air conditioning be
turned off and that motorists stay off the roads until normalcy is restored.
Earlier Thursday, a power outage of unprecedented impact hit huge swaths of
Ontario and parts of the United States, leaving millions of people without
power as officials warned some would stay that way for days.
At 4:15 p.m. the blackout also cut power to such U.S. cities as New York,
Cleveland and Detroit. Terrorism was quickly ruled out by officials with
reports pointing to lightning or a fire at a power plant.
Hydro One official Al Manchee said many would be forced to wait out the
blackout in the dark.
Said Mr. Manchee: "We are slowly restoring. I don't want to put a specific
time frame on full restoration, but we expect to be making substantial
progress this evening."
Hydro One's Anne Creighton explained that parts of Canada are vulnerable to
blackouts if U.S. power goes down because the grids are in some cases
Parts of Ontario and Quebec are on the same power grid as the northeastern
region of the United States, she explained. "We're all interconnected, so an
impact outside of our jurisdiction could affect our system."
Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, told CBC's Peter Mansbridge that
Ontario's emergency preparedness officials were working closely with their
U.S. counterparts. He said the two countries have a very good agreement on
natural disasters that worked well in this case.
Bruce Campbell, a spokesman for Ontario's Independent Electricity Market
Operator, said people should expect rolling blackouts over the next couple
of days until power is fully restored, The Globe's Richard Bloom reports.
Mayor Mel Lastman asked citizens to conserve water over the next two days,
and applauded all those who were helping their neighbours. Police noted that
they would be patrolling residential areas throughout the evening, but were
happy that no major crimes had been reported.
Not terrorism, Pentagon says
Pentagon officials in Washington were quick to say the cascading afternoon
blackouts in sweltering summer temperatures were not an act of terrorism.
But into the early evening, there were still conflicting theories about why
a 15,000-square-kilometre stretch of land was blacked out at about 4:15 p.m.
The Prime Minister's Office first said lightning had struck a power plant in
the Niagara Region on the U.S. side of the border, but later said there had
been a fire at a Con Edison power plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
But the Department of National Defence said it was indeed lightning that
wiped out power.
As darkness fell, Defence Minister John McCallum weighed in, speaking for a
cabinet committee that deals with national emergencies. He pointed the
finger at a fire at a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, but he had no
other details. The PMO said it was getting its information from U.S.
officials, and blamed them for the changing picture.
By early evening, Hydro One, the Crown corporation that operates the
province's power, was separating from the U.S. system in order to restore
order, said Jim Munson, aide to Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
But while officials tried to sort out what had gone wrong, it was reported
that most in Ontario, home to more than 10 million people, were without
electricity save for some in the province's northwest. The greater Toronto
area, with a population of five million, ground to a complete halt.
From Ottawa to Windsor
The blackout stretched to Ottawa in the east, Windsor in the western reaches
of the province and North Bay in the near north.
Toronto police said there had been no major incidents, despite the chaos and
paralysis caused by the blackout. In New York, with almost eight million
people one of the largest cities in the world, was turned into a
horn-blowing gridlock. Manhattan streets were flooded with pedestrians who
had no idea how they would get home.
Police in Toronto praised the way the city's residents stayed calm.
"We're very encouraged by the way this emergency has developed," said Sgt.
"We're in this together as a community."
U.S. cities: New York to Cleveland
In the U.S., cities stretching from New York to Cleveland and Detroit were
affected. Thousands of people streamed onto the streets of lower Manhattan
following the blackout in a scene reminiscent of the first hour after the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. For some, even those far from Manhattan, the
similarities were frightening.
"I was in the office building," said Dean Petrovich, 33, a property tax
consultant in Toronto. "I just walked down 20 flights - I didn't want to be
in any building."
Upon hearing that it was a widespread outage, Petrovich added: ``Now I'm
freaked out. I've tried using my cellphone - I can't get a hold of anyone."
While there were some reports that the Niagara-Mohawk power grid had
overloaded, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg went on CNN to point the finger
briefly at Canada. The outage, he said at one point, might have originated
in Niagara Falls, Ont. A later CNN report said it began in Ottawa, the
nation's capital, where the everlasting Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill
was snuffed out by the blackout.
A helping hand
But while the majestic Parliament Hill in Ottawa was forced to operate with
only scant lighting, Gatineau, a stone's throw away across the Quebec
border, had all the power it needed. Other provinces - Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick - were sending their excess power to the grid, said Margaret
Murphy, of Nova Scotia Power.
"Between ourselves, likely New Brunswick and possibly Maine, we'll probably
be sending about 100 megawatts into the greater New England area," she said,
adding that amount wouldn't come close to solving the power problems.
Ontario Premier Ernie Eves denied the province's dependence on imported
power played any role in the ordeal. "We've imported power - more than 10
per cent - on lots of occasions for the last 70 years in this province at
peak times when demand goes up as high as it did today to 25,000 megawatts,"
"We all pay the price when we're interconnected. There's no way of avoiding
that because all the jurisdictions in the northeastern part of North America
interchange power." Officials said late Thursday they were particularly
concerned about a potentially dangerous surge once power was restored that
could cause further blackouts as far as Manitoba and the American Midwest.
Almost 40 years ago, on Nov. 9, 1965, Ontario and the northeastern seaboard
experienced a similar blackout, although that was many years before
businesses and citizens became so heavily reliant on high-tech
telecommunications. Residents were kept in the dark from anywhere from five
minutes to 13 hours in that blackout.
With files from Richard Mackie