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. The New York Times reported, “one sagging electrical line near Cleveland, Ohio, connected with a tree branch at 3:32 p.m. on August 14, 2003, beginning a chain of events which led to the largest blackout in American history.” And there were those who though it might be terrorism.

The paper continues, “According to the most comprehensive study yet, the failure of this single transmission line caused a utility company in southern Ohio to overload and seal itself off from the now infamous power grid…this created a huge need for power, and Cleveland began sucking an unsustainable amount of electricity from Michigan and Ontario…knocking out more transmission lines and generating plants. When the need for more power reached New York, power plants there sealed themselves from the grid in order to protect their own systems. This, however, created a new problem when New York, ironically, had too much electricity and overloaded its own system. The result: history’s largest shutdown.

James Glanz and Andrew C. Revkin, "Experts Retrace a String of Mishaps Before Blackout," The New York Times (8-23-03)

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