The day the U.S. went dark

In a late Thursday afternoon in the summer of 2003, everything turned off. What have we learned in the decade that followed?

Tech

Published Nov 12, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 2:06 am CDT

In a late Thursday afternoon in the summer of 2003, everything turned off.

As this week’s Retro Report video illustrates, in the span of a few minutes, the biggest power outage in United States history brought swaths of the Northeast, the Midwest and Canada to a standstill. Around 50 million people were left without power. In the days and weeks that followed, reporters and investigators raced to pinpoint the source of the outage, while larger questions swirled about the stability of the power grid in the 21st century.

Here, a Times reporter who covers energy technology reflects on that day and the changes that resulted.

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*First Published: Nov 12, 2013, 3:36 pm CST