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2014 Outage News
The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) compiles reports
on outages. Click to go to their web site for a list of outages sorted by year.
The following is a list of news summaries of some major power outages and related
stories as reported in the media for this time period. The most recent are listed
- NSA Director: Yes, China Can Shut Down Our Power Grid
According to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the
National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command, China and
"one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyber
attacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical
systems in parts of the United States. This was disclosed at a
hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on November 20. He
said that U.S. adversaries are regularly performing electronic
"reconnaissance" so that they can be in a position to disrupt
the control systems at any time. "All of that leads me to
believe it is only a matter of when, not if, we are going to see
something dramatic," he said.
--various news reports,
November 20, 2014
- Massive Solar Superstorm barely missed blasting the
earth back to the dark ages
On July 23, 2012, we had no idea how close we were to a massive blackout caused by a huge magnetic superstorm from the Sun.
The storm was caused by a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections, intense eruptions from the surface of the Sun, which hurtled out into space through the Earth’s orbit. If it had happened just nine days earlier, our world would have been hit, wreaking havoc with the electrical grid, knocking out satellites and GPS and costing economies billions of dollars.
A team has now analyzed the magnetic storm, which was detected by NASA’s STEREO A spacecraft and published their results in Nature Communications.
“Had [the latest storm] hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous,” said Janet
Luhmann, who is part of the STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Observatory) team and based at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory.
That 1859 big one, referred to as the Carrington Event, is the most severe solar storm ever recorded on the planet. At the time the only electric lines were telegraphs. And the induced voltages caused the lines to fail and start fires.
"People keep saying that these are rare natural hazards, but they are happening in the Solar System even though we don’t always see them.”
A small magnetic event in 1989 collapsed Canada’s Hydro-Quebec power grid and led to six million people going without electricity.
The cost of an extreme space weather event, if it hits Earth, could reach trillions of dollars with a potential recovery time of 4-10 years.”
A study last year estimated that a second Carrington event could cost the world $2.6
and various other new reports, March 19, 2014
- Snow and ice storm causes a million power outages in northeast
A second winter storm of the week dumped more
than a foot of snow with ice on parts of the northeast. In
Pennsylvania, especially around Philadelphia, power was out to nearly
849,000 customers. There were 69,000 out in Maryland and tens of
thousands out in New Jersey. Utility crews are working to restore
power which will take days.
--various new reports,
February 6, 2014