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This Day in History

World History

Tuesday, November 9, 1965. :   Northeast America suffers a blackout which affects thirty million people.

     Between 5:15 and 5:30pm on 9 November 1965, northeast America suffered a massive power outage. A faulty relay at the Sir Adam Beck Station No. 2 in Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, affected the electricity supply to the northeastern states of the USA and large parts of Canada. The blackout covered 207,000 square kilometres and lasted more than 13 hours. The faulty relay was catalyst to a domino effect as a number of escalating line overloads hit the main trunk lines of the grid, separating major generation sources from load centres, and weakening the entire system as each separated. Power stations in the New York City area automatically shut themselves off to prevent the surges coming through the grid from overloading their turbines.

The 1965 power outage was largely peaceful, with people assisting each other. Subsequent major outages have resulted in looting and riots.

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