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March 2, 2004

Report: New York utilities not at fault for August 2003 blackout

New York State’s power grid did not contribute to the August, 2003, blackout, but utility companies need to secure more backup power in the future, according to an initial report by the New York State Public Service Commission.

“Although the power surges from Midwest cascaded through New York and the surrounding region, there is no evidence of any significant failures in the operations of New York's electric system,” said Public Service Commission Chairman William M. Flynn. "Further, our report supports earlier findings that there was no warning to New York utilities or the NYISO as to the magnitude of the problems originating in the Midwest that might have allowed them to take actions to prevent or minimize the impact on New York's electric system.”

“Despite the impact of the blackout on New York State, the staff report determined that, under the circumstances, electric, telecommunications, gas and water systems generally performed well,” the report said.

The state Public Service Commission will release a completed report on the blackout next month. A full copy of the initial report is available at www.dps.state.ny.us.