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Letter to Federal Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

August 15, 2003

Dear Secretary Abraham:

As you are well aware, large portions of the Northeastern United States and Canada recently experienced the largest black-out of electric power in the nation's history. Affecting tens of millions of customers, the outage exceeded even the now infamous blackouts of 1965 and 1977.

We're very proud of the way our citizens have responded to this major challenge, but the people of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut obviously have questions that need to be answered. Although the exact cause of the recent outage may take some time to identify, it is clear that something went very wrong with the system that is supposed to protect the nation's electric grid from such incidents.

After the 1965 black-out, the North American Electric Reliability Council was founded in 1968 to identify the causes of the outage, and to take steps to ensure that such a cascading failure could never occur again. Additional efforts were initiated after the 1977 outage, and the blackout that affected the New York City region in 1996. Based upon the events of the last 24 hours, it is clear more must be done.

As Governors of three of the states most heavily impacted by the outage, we are therefore calling on you to initiate an immediate investigation to help identify the causes of this most recent outage, and the steps that must be taken to prevent such an event from happening again. As the nation's electric grid is transformed from the vertically integrated monopolies of the past to the new market-based approach, we must utilize every possible strategy available to guarantee that this type of event will never occur again.

We look forward to working with you, your agency, and all other affected parties. The safety and well being of the citizens of our states and everyone throughout the nation depends on the success of this endeavor.

Sincerely,

JAMES E. MCGREEVEY / GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY
GEORGE E. PATAKI / GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK
JOHN G. ROWLAND / GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT

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