I will never forget New York City’s exhale on the afternoon of August 14, 2003. I was walking down 2nd Avenue in Manhattan when people started noticing that the power had gone down. Coming as we were approaching the 2nd anniversary of 9/11, there was palpable concern among my fellow pedestrians about another attack.Â When news started to filter down to the streets that it was NOT terrorist attack, but JUST a major multi-state power failureÂ you could literally feel the wave of relief in the streets. Soon, it turned into almost a carnival atmosphere as relieved New Yorkers made their way home, often over bridges.
In retrospect, we realize that any weaknesses in the nation’s electrical grid present the same and in some cases more potential concerns than even a terror attack.Â And, as we mark this anniversary, I hope it underscores the need to prepare for range of emergencies that we all may have to deal with, each with their own challenges. Addressing them in advance are all part of a broader view of building a more prepared and resilient nation.
On the subject of the electrical grid, the Reform Institute has just released a reportÂ “Smart Grid”Â arguing for the implementation of a next generation electrical grid to avoid the type of an event that occurred five years ago today. It is not a subject I know enough about to offer a comment on. But I’m linking to it in part in thanks to the Reform Institute’s spokesperson Chris Dreibelbis who reminded me about the anniversary.