August 15, 2003


Everyone who recalls September 11 immediately thought of terrorism, and we can all be thankful it wasn’t the cause. But it’s somehow not reassuring to hear government officials refer to the event the way New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg did as a “natural occurrence.” Natural is what happens in nature, like a tornado, but a national power grid is a man-made operation.

The breadth of the energy disruption suggests that some major rethinking deserves to be done about the vulnerability of America’s power grid. If an accident can shut down an entire U.S. region for half a day, imagine what well-planned sabotage could do. The U.S. has grown complacent as the memory of California’s blackouts in 2000 has faded. But especially in the Northeast, the U.S. is still operating on an energy supply and with a load-sharing grid that has very little room for error.

Yes, and something needs to be done.

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