List of major power outages

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Skyline of Toronto during the 2003 North American blackout

This is a list of notable wide-scale power outages. To be included, the power outage must conform to all of the following criteria:

  1. The outage must not be planned by the service provider.
  2. The outage must affect at least 1,000 people and last at least one hour.
  3. There must be at least 1,000,000 person-hours of disruption.

In other words:

Largest[edit]

articlemillions of
people affected
locationdatereferences
July 2012 India blackout670India31 July 2012[1]
July 2012 India blackout330India30 July 2012[2]
January 2001 India blackout230India02 January 2001
2005 Java–Bali blackout100Indonesia18 Aug 2005[3]
1999 Southern Brazil blackout97Brazil11 March 1999[4]
2009 Brazil and Paraguay blackout87Brazil, Paraguay10–11 Nov 2009[5]
Northeast blackout of 200355the United States, Canada14–15 Aug 2003[6]
2003 Italy blackout55Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia28 Sep 2003[7]
Northeast blackout of 196530the United States, Canada9 Nov 1965[8]

1960–1969[edit]

1965[edit]

On the evening of 9 November, the Northeast blackout of 1965 affected portions of seven northeastern states in the United States and the province of Ontario in Canada.

1970–1979[edit]

1971[edit]

On the evening of 2 February, power in parts of the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens was lost following an explosion at Con Ed's Waterside power facility on 40th Street and 1st Avenue in Manhattan. New York City television and FM radio stations who transmit from the Empire State Building were knocked off-the-air, AM radio stations were not affected due to the fact that most of their transmitters are located in either Northern New Jersey or on High Island in the Bronx which was not affected by the blackout. Several lines of the New York City IND and IRT subway lines were affected when the power went out stranding passengers in the cars and in tunnels. At Grand Central Terminal power in the terminal itself was lost but power on the tracks was unaffected due to the fact that it runs on DC power. The New York Daily News was also affected when the blackout hit it caused their printing facility to halt operations.[9]

1976[edit]

On 4 July, a major power failure affected most of Utah and parts of Wyoming for 1.5 to 6 hours.[10]

1977[edit]

1980–1989[edit]

1981[edit]

On 8 January, prisoners on a work assignment burning trash and debris at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, accidentally caused a major power failure when something they were burning exploded, causing a fireball that shorted out transmission lines above them. 1.5 million people lost power, in almost all of Utah, as well as parts of southeastern Idaho and southwestern Wyoming.[12]

1982[edit]

On 22 December, a transmission tower near Tracy, California collapsed onto an adjacent tower bringing down two 500-kV lines and a pair of 230-kV lines that passed underneath the 500-kV right of way. Total loss of 12,530 MW affected approximately five million people on the west coast.[13][14]

1983[edit]

On 27 December, two-thirds of the Swedish network was shut down when a single component in a switching station failed, causing a short-circuit in a transformer. This affected about 4.5 million people in the more densely populated southern half of Sweden.[15][16]

1987[edit]

On 16 October, the Great Storm of 1987 the High Voltage Cross-Channel Link between the UK and France was interrupted, and the storm caused a domino-effect of power outages throughout the Southeast of England.[17]

1989[edit]

1990–1999[edit]

1991[edit]

On 7 July, a powerful wind storm affected a large portion of central North America and knocked power to about one million customers from Iowa to Ontario.[22]

1995[edit]

Hurricane Opal approaching Pensacola, Florida in October 1995

On 4 October, Hurricane Opal, which killed at least 59 people, knocked out power to over two million customers across eastern and southern North America.[23]

1996[edit]

1998[edit]

1999[edit]

2000–2009[edit]

2000[edit]

2001[edit]

2002[edit]

2003[edit]

2004[edit]

2005[edit]

2006[edit]

2007[edit]

2008[edit]

2009[edit]

2010–2013[edit]

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

The residential neighborhood of Los Navegantes, in Pichilemu (O'Higgins Region, Chile) during the 24 September blackout.

2012[edit]

2013[edit]

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]