Seeing Is Believing
The Great Power Outage(s) of 2003
This was a letter I received from my co-researcher friend on August 7th:
Subj: Wake up time coming.
Hi Juli, One more week to Phi-Day. And this one for me should be a wake up day.
New York City - Outage An International Wake-Up Call
Outage An International Wake-Up
By Steve Wick (as in candle - see symbolism below)
August 15, 2003, 11:22 PM EDT
A day into a historic power failure, the region continued its struggle
to get back to normal...
President George W. Bush said the failure and its massive aftereffects were "a wake-up call."
"We need to take a look at what happened, analyze the problem and come up with a solution," Bush said. "We don't know yet what went wrong, but we will."
Millions Wait For Power
Massive power failure seen as a wakeup call to officials in U.S. and Canada
Times & Transcript | Canada
As published on page C1 on August 16, 2003
From the Midwest to Manhattan, the largest blackout in U.S. history left
more than four million people powerless for a second day Friday. Even when
the lights flicked back on, they illuminated a plethora of unsolved problems:
the worst water crisis in Ohio history, a state of emergency in Michigan,
a paralysed subway system in New York City.
Officials in various states warned that the whir of air conditioners and the glow of televisions might not return until the end of the weekend as the cause of the massive outage remained a mystery.
The blackout washed across a huge slice of North America, knocking out service in parts of eight states and Canada in just nine seconds...
President George W. Bush, during a tour of a California national park, said part of the problem was "an antiquated system" to distribute electricity nationally. "Its a wake-up call," Bush said. "The grid needs to be modernized, the delivery systems need to be modernized."
Blackout delivers a wake-up call
Blackout delivers a wake-up call
The Morning Sun (SON)
August 25, 2003
"If we need more of a wake-up call, I don't know what it would be,"
said Jim Zakoura, an Overland Park attorney who tracks energy issues and
represents large industrial consumers in regulatory proceedings.
RMI Hopes Blackout Will Be A Wake-Up Call
RMI hopes blackout will be a wake-up call
The Apsen Times
August 25, 2003
Old Snowmass-based RMI, one of the worlds leading energy think tanks, believes the blackout that affected 50 million people in the United States Aug. 14 should be a wake-up call for the country to fundamentally change how it designs its electricity production and delivery system.
Nova Scotia Power ad
Halifax Chronicle Herald
August 23, 2003
Because it symbolizes the world being "in the dark."
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Jesus to His disciples: Matthew 5:14-16:
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
In order to understand the meaning(s) of "in the dark" (or the Light and the Dark) you need to view my Map of The Way. Remember that this theory is based on the concept that the majority of mankind needs "to see" (visually) in order "to see" (understand). (See Summary.) That is why this map is so important. It visually represents The Word. It visually represents The Way as a picture in the form of a MAP. ("A picture is worth a thousand words.")
(For a better explanation of this Map, please view my Slideshow Presentation. Also, Chapter 9 is about The Way )
So... if you choose to believe that this may be true, then why did God choose
my birthday on which to send this wake-up call? Because if you choose to
believe that this may be true, then know that I speak the truth. For some
reason, I seem to have a special connection with God. I cannot explain why,
but based on a great deal of amazing personal information that I have not
discussed in this paper, I have no choice but to believe it is related to
Read the words of the news articles above again.
We humans tend to act on a Crisis Management basis; Reactive instead of Proactive. It is our way of thinking. We wait for the problems to arise and then try to deal with them, instead of acting to prevent those problems from happening in the first place. I had experience with this in 1999 when I worked as a Systems Analyst for a financial institution on a Y2K Contingency Planning project. I helped design the process for assisting users to figure out what could go wrong with their systems, and plan for what to do if it did. It was a new way of thinking. Which is what we humans need. A new way of thinking.
We cannot follow a Crisis Management way of thinking when dealing with the fate of our planet and ultimately our very existence because the problems (i.e. environmental) are too severe, too widespread, and too encompassing. If we wait for a major crisis to arise before we act, it may be too late. And too late means The End.
Look at the Power Outage "wake-up call" again. Look how one little power
outage somewhere (with the exact location and cause still a mystery) affected
the entire grid creating the largest power outage in North American history.
And what is more significant is that it did not only affect the power. It
had a "cascading" affect with one seemingly little problem creating widespread,
catastrophic consequences. ("Even when the lights flicked back on, they
illuminated a plethora of unsolved problems: the worst water crisis in Ohio
history, a state of emergency in Michigan, a paralysed subway system in New
The same is true with the problems we are facing with our environment and other world problems.
What we need is a Global Contingency Plan or Action Plan (including sub plans like Kyoto) to prevent the destruction of our planet and ultimately our existence. And we not only need that plan, but as the name implies, we need to act upon that plan. We need to prevent and fix the problems now before it gets to the point where it is too late. The very survival of life upon this planet depends upon it. It really is a matter of Survival vs Extinction.
What is the purpose of life? To live.
"Humans are remarkably efficient at killing. Although we often marvel at the ability of big predators like tigers, wolves and sharks to efficiently dispatch their prey, in terms of absolute numbers, none of these creatures holds a candle to human beings. We are the best killers nature has ever made...
Now, for our own sake, the best predators the world has ever known must sheathe our claws and make conservation an utmost priority."
August 18, 2003
SOUTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND
2003 August 21 12:12:50 UTC
Preliminary Earthquake Report
U.S. Geological Survey, National Earthquake Information Center
World Data Center for Seismology, Denver
Date-Time Thursday, August 21, 2003 at 12:12:50 (UTC) - Coordinated Universal Time
Friday, August 22, 2003 at 12:12:50 AM local time at epicenter
I was born at 9:12 am Atlantic Daylight Time or 12:12 Universal Time.
Also... I was born on August 14, 1960 (leap year) which puts my conception date in the timeframe of November 11 (11/11). Using www.timeanddate.com, the number of hours from November 11, 1959 at 11:11 am AST to August 14, 1960 at 9:12 am ADT (8:12 AST) is 6645 hours. Interestingly, the longitude and latitude of my birthplace is exactly 66°W 45°N. Also, 66 + 45 = 111.
Update: August 28, 2003
My co-researcher friend sent me this newspaper article from the front page of the August 27, 2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper:
Changing tactics speed growth of Jehovah's Witnesses
"Wherever the people are, you have to go. We really try to find people," said Schwerdtfeger, 58, after trying to entice some people waiting for the No. 111 bus to read an Awake! magazine.
And The Mysterious Power Outages Continue ...
1) August 18, 2003
Power Out Across Ex-Soviet Georgia
TBILISI, Georgia - All of Georgia was without power for the entire day on Monday, and officials in the impoverished former Soviet republic were struggling to determine the cause of the blackout. Electricity went off at 7 a.m. in the entire country of 4.4 million people and was not fully restored until about 10 p.m. Periodic blackouts are common here - and rolling blackouts are regularly implemented to conserve power - but it was the first time in two years that the whole country was affected at once.
"We are trying to figure out what's happening," said Medeya Kakhadze, an aide to Fuel and Energy Minister Mamuka Nikolaishvili. "We know only that an emergency shutdown occurred."
Telasi, the electricity utility in the capital, Tbilisi, refused to comment.
Many Georgians have their own diesel generators. Hospitals and airports also have their own energy supplies in case of emergency. But Tbilisi's subway did not open in the morning and electric-powered trolley buses were unable to run, leaving regular buses overflowing with passengers, many of whom hung onto the doors. City residents were also without water because electric pumps failed.
Tbilisi has experienced sporadic power supplies for the past week. On Sunday, residents of one city district stormed a dispatch unit and forced workers to turn on the power in their neighborhood. Natural gas supplies also have been cut off in the city for the past two weeks. Officials say the gas lines are being repaired.
Monday's blackout came on Nikolaishvili's first work day as energy minister and followed the recent sale of a 75 percent stake in Telasi by the Arlington, Va.-based AES Corp. to Russia's UES.
Georgia is heavily dependent on Russia for energy, and many politicians, including President Eduard Shevardnadze, had criticized the acquisition, warning that it would give Russia a powerful political lever in dealing with Georgia.
UES head Anatoly Chubais this month sought to reassure Shevardnadze, saying the company had no political goals and Georgia's electricity supplies would be safe.
2) August 18, 2003
Lights Go Out Atop St. Peter's Basilica
VATICAN CITY (AP) - The lights went out atop St. Peter's Basilica, robbing the Rome skyline of one of its most evocative images and leaving tourists wondering if Vatican City had suffered a blackout. Utility company officials said Monday that a computer problem and not a power shortage was to blame.
The dome and facade of the basilica went dark Sunday night, but other lights at the Vatican stayed on, including the illumination of Bernini's colonnade around St. Peter's Square.
After the basilica was scrubbed clean of centuries of grime for the Vatican's millennium celebrations in 2000, Rome's electric company, ACEA, provided 18 large lights to illuminate the cupola, atrium and facade.
ACEA officials said they were told that the lights didn't go on because of a computer reset problem at the Vatican.
The Vatican's press office declined to talk about the incident.
Pope John Paul II and much of the papal household have been spending the last few hot weeks at the pontiff's summer residence in Castel Gandolfo in the cooler Alban hills southeast of Rome.
3) August 28, 2003
Power cut causes chaos
A rush-hour power cut has caused major disruption on rail and Tube services in London and the South East. Power returned to the system at about 1900 BST and the rail and tube network took several hours before most services resumed normal operations. Network Rail said about 1,800 trains were affected by the power cut, caused by a fault with the National Grid. Train company Connex reported the power went out between London and Ashford, in Kent. South London was hardest hit and Transport for London said 60% of the Tube network was affected.
Stations and trains were evacuated as commuters using the Tube were plunged into darkness and some were stuck underground as the power went off at about 1820 BST. Buses quickly became extremely busy and lines of people waiting for taxis grew as commuters abandoned packed Tube platforms. London Fire Brigade took 400 calls and say they rescued about 100 people who were stuck in lifts.
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said at least 250,000 people were affected and said the situation showed the need for a serious look at the National Grid and why power went down for so long.
"We've never had this catastrophic failure before and we clearly can't have it again," he said.
British Transport Police say Tube services have been restored.
Commuter Jane Marriott, 27, was trying to get to Paddington from Canada Water on the Tube, but ended up taking the bus and walking part of the way. She said: "It's absolute chaos, it's very wet which is making people very miserable. "A bit of the Blitz spirit is kicking in and people are talking to each other which is nice, but we need more cabs and more bus lanes."
Businesses and homes in Brixton, Battersea and London Bridge were plunged into darkness and police said 270 sets of traffic lights went out. St Thomas's Hospital, in south-east London was among those which had to rely on back-up power generators.
Network Rail spokesman Kevin Groves said the situation was "unprecedented" as far as he knew.
'Very similar to New York'
The National Grid is investigating the cause of the fault but spokesman Sean Regan said any loss of power supply was "an unusual occurrence". He added: "There was a fault in the 275,000 volt system affecting a ring around London, which occurred at 1826 BST. "Power to the distribution network in London was restored at 1900 BST.
"Obviously it is going to take the regional distribution network some time to restore supplies to the end users of their system. Hopefully it shouldn't be long now."
Civil servant Alan Basford, 52, from Meopham, Kent, added: "This disruption seems very similar to what happened in New York, and it's also a bit strange the two events have happened close together."
4) September 23, 2003
Nearly 4 million in Denmark and Sweden lose electricity in afternoon blackout
COPENHAGEN (AP) - Nearly four million people in eastern Denmark and southern Sweden were without electricity for more than three hours Tuesday after a rare power outage hit parts of Scandinavia. Utility officials said the outage, caused by a faulty transmission line separating the two countries, was being repaired and most customers would likely have power restored before nightfall. By 3 p.m. power gradually returned to downtown Copenhagen and other areas of the city.
"We are getting power back sporadically," said Kaare Strandholt, a spokesman for Elkraft System, which provides power to the city of 1.8 million. "We expect that power will be back (across the whole region) before the sun goes down."
Police didn't suspect sabotage or terrorism.
Ironically, the blackout occurred as seven emergency experts from Denmark, Sweden and Norway left for Canada and the United States on a fact-finding mission to study the Aug. 14 blackout in North America.
The blackout affected the island of Zealand, where Copenhagen sits, the Danish islands between Zealand and Germany, and southern Sweden.
Traffic signals and lights in offices, shops and homes in Copenhagen went out around 12:40 p.m.
Police said there were no reports of looting or disturbances in either country, but several minor traffic accidents happened. The Copenhagen fire department rescued some 40 people stranded in elevators.
"People have tackled this in an incredible fashion," said Copenhagen police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch.
Strandholt said the error "seemingly came from southern Sweden."
After the blackout in the centre of Copenhagen, hundreds of people emerged from stores and looked around, trying to see if any power was available and using their cellphones to call friends and family. Traffic along the city's main thoroughfare was bumper to bumper.
The Danish capital's airport - the region's hub - was closed for two hours and flights were diverted to Sweden and Norway. More than 24 flights to Copenhagen were cancelled.
By late afternoon, Copenhagen's new driverless subway system was still at a standstill along the 14-kilometre-long systems. Passengers were evacuated from two trains without incident, the Metro company said.
The economic impact of the blackout was "very modest," said Jesper Hansen, economist at Danske Bank, Denmark's biggest bank. "It was only a few hours and we can see that many companies are already up and running again so lost production hasn't been significant."
In southern Sweden, the heartland of the country's heavy industry and home to the majority of the Scandinavian region's pharmaceutical industry, was also hit.
Worst power outage in 20 years hits Sweden, Denmark
COPENHAGEN, Sept 23 (Reuters) - A broad power blackout struck southern Sweden and eastern Denmark on Tuesday, leaving up to an estimated five million people without electricity and crippling industry, airports, trains and bridges.
Power went out in the early afternoon at stations including two nuclear plants. The national grids and utilities began restoring electricity within a few hours and by early evening most consumers were supplied again, officials said.
The blackout, called the worst in 20 years in Sweden and Denmark, follows a huge outage that left 50 million North Americans without power for up to two days and a shutdown which paralysed London for several hours, both last month.
Curt Lindqvist, an executive at Swedish power producer Sydkraft <EONG.DE>, said the blackout was the most extensive in Sweden since December 1983. "We do not know the reason," Lindqvist told Swedish public service SVT television news.
"Something has caused power producing facilities to be disconnected and when there is not enough production, the entire system shuts down," he said.
Director-General Jan Magnusson of Swedish grid Svenska Kraftnat said a combination of factors caused the outage.
"In this situation the cable to Germany was down due to maintenance and the cable to Poland was also down due to maintenance," Magnusson said. "This meant that southern Sweden was especially vulnerable right now," he said on SR radio news.
Production stopped at the 1,135-megawatt Oskarshamn nuclear station at 12:35 (1035 GMT), and a halt in exports of electricity from the eastern Denmark region of Zealand caused a shortage and then the blackout, Magnusson said.
Kraftnat officials said a storm had hit a power line, also contributing to sudden heavy pressure on the system.
Those events triggered outages on two units with capacity of over 1,800 megawatts at Sweden's Ringhals nuclear station.
The power outage may have hit four to five million consumers, including one to two million in Sweden and between two and three million in Denmark, officials estimated.
A spokesman for Danish grid operator Elkraft said that power had been restored to almost all customers in Denmark by shortly after 7 p.m. (1700 GMT). An official at Swedish utility Sydkraft, operator of the Oskarshamn plant, said power had been returned to most of southern Sweden even earlier.
Power was earlier cut in southern Sweden and throughout the Zealand island, where the Danish capital Copenhagen is located.
NO NUCLEAR DANGER
Swedish nuclear safety officials said the outages at the Oskarshamn and Ringhals nuclear stations posed no safety threat.
"The security systems there worked just as they should," Anders Jorle, chief spokesman at the Swedish Nuclear Power Inspectorate, told Reuters. He said the nuclear units shut down as a safety measure if there were big imbalances in the electricity network and pressure in the network fell suddenly.
Nuclear power accounts for about half of Swedish electricity output.
Copenhagen airport resumed service after earlier closing. The trains started to move again, and the Oeresund Bridge linking Denmark to Sweden re-opened.
The economic impact of the outage was unclear. But some large industrial plants in southern Sweden, including at pulp producer Sodra Cell, packaging firm Tetra Pak and vehicles maker Scania <SCVb.ST>, were halted, Sweden's TT news agency said.
(With additional reporting by Peter Starck and Anna Peltola in Stockholm and Birgitte Dyrekilde, Nils-Ole Heggland and the Copenhagen newsroom)
Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service
5) September 28, 2003
Power cut to all of Italy; cause unknown
ROME Power went out across Italy before dawn today, plunging the nation into darkness, police and news reports said. Authorities did not immediately know the cause.
Italy slowly comes back to light
Electricity supplies are slowly being restored in Italy, after the worst power failure in its history. Much of the capital, Rome, and the north of the country are now reconnected, and the south of Italy is also returning to normal. Only the island of Sardinia escaped the outage, which struck at about 0330 (0130GMT) on Sunday morning.
About 110 trains were reported to have been brought to a standstill across the country - trapping more than 30,000 people. Water supplies were also affected and hospitals reported a spate of accidents involving elderly people. Officials have warned that scheduled cuts may still be necessary.
It is the latest in a series of major blackouts to affect national power grids - north-east United States and Canada were hit last month, and Denmark and southern Sweden on Tuesday.
A power cut left London's underground transport in chaos last month.
A row has broken out over the origin of the fault - the Italian national grid authority says malfunctioning supply lines from France caused the outage, but France says it originated in Switzerland. A Swiss power company said the problem began when a tree touched a transmission line near the town of Brunnen.
Neighbouring areas of Switzerland and Austria were also hit.
France and Italy have a long-standing electricity exchange scheme to help deal with peaks in demand on both sides.
White night in the dark
In Rome, the power cut struck as thousands of people celebrated the city's first "White Night" - an extravaganza of street events. The failure halted the free underground service provided by the city, and left passengers stranded in underground trains. Heavy rain had already stopped a number of attractions.
The lights also failed inside the Vatican, although emergency generators are now operating there as they are at Rome's hospitals and key government ministries.
Emergency services coped fairly well with the situation, says the BBC's David Willey in Rome, although several accidents have been reported as a result of the failure of traffic signals. Hospitals have also reported a spate of home accidents involving elderly people who broke limbs through falls in the dark. The water supply was also affected...
Massive power outage sweeps across Italy
ROME -- A storm-tossed tree branch that hit Swiss power lines helped trigger a massive blackout in almost all of Italy, trapping thousands on trains and forcing the pope to use a backup generator to proclaim his new cardinals. The outage, blamed for three deaths, underlined the dangers of Italy's reliance on imported power.
It was Italy's worst power outage since World War II. Most of the country's 58 million people were affected - more than in North America's biggest blackout, which left 50 million people without power in Canada and the United States on Aug. 14.
As in the North American blackout, there was initially confusion about the cause and finger-pointing among neighboring countries. With scant domestic supply and swelling public demand, Italy imports most of its electricity.
"There was panic on the streets," he said. "The tourists went mad - everyone was thinking about themselves."
As experts tried to work out the cause, none of the three countries involved wanted all the blame. Swiss and French energy officials said the responsibility was Italy's, while the Italians noted that the power cut came from France. Initial investigations indicated a chain reaction that started in Switzerland and moved through France. In Switzerland, a tree branch hit and disabled a power transmission line. This caused another Swiss line to overload, which then knocked out French transmission to Italy. "After that, all connections to Italy dropped out," said Rolf Schmid, spokesman for the Swiss power company Atel. Italian energy company Enel agreed with the Swiss description of the chain reaction. But France's electricity grid operator RTE said it was too early to speculate about causes. Whatever the cause, the blackout was an ordeal across Italy.
The Vatican was also affected, with St. Peter's Basilica - normally lit up overnight - in darkness. When Pope John Paul II announced a slate of new cardinals from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square, the Vatican had to amplify his remarks with a backup generator, while journalists wrote by candles and flashlights in the Holy See press office.
Last week, nearly 4 million people in eastern Denmark and southern Sweden were without electricity for more than three hours after a rare power outage plagued parts of Scandinavia. On Aug. 28, power briefly went out in parts of London and southeast England, shutting off traffic lights in the British capital and stranding hundreds of thousands of people on subways and trains. Authorities are still investigating the British outage, as well as the Aug. 14 blackout in Canada and the United States.
6) October 6, 2003
Major power failure blacks out Czech Republic
Tens of thousands of people were left without electricity in a major power
failure in western parts of the Czech Republic on Monday night, a spokesman
for the local supplier ZSE says.
"We are investigating the reasons for the power failure and the losses suffered as a result," spokesman Miroslav Kucera said.
The blackout brought down the hydraulic power plant at Karlovy Vary, a town with 60,000 inhabitants. Mr Kucera says it cut the electricity supply to Ostrov, Nejdek, Rotava and all the smaller towns in between. He says the blackout occurred at 11:00pm local time and power was restored about half an hour later.
There have, in recent weeks, been several big power blackouts in the United States, Britain, Italy, Denmark and Sweden.