TITLE

Using Narrative to Tell the Blackout Story

AUTHOR(S)
Clayton, Mark
PUB. DATE
June 2004
SOURCE
Nieman Reports;Summer2004, Vol. 58 Issue 2, p31
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The article presents the author's narrative reporting from inside a power plant in New York State telling the story of decision-making when a massive electric power failure hit the U.S. in 2003. Like so many calamities, the great blackout of 2003 was both a great news story to tell and a mystery. Early reports rumored a lightning strike at a power yard near Niagara Falls had knocked down the system down. Some speculated terrorism might be responsible. I began my quest with only faint hope of actually wangling my way inside any power plant. The only way into one of those plants was to be invited inside by one of its senior employees. I began my search with Google, looking for Web sites and phone numbers of those connected to the power industry, the power stations, industry associations and regional power authorities. By the next morning, power still was not back in New York. This encouraged me to continue pursuing my idea. Finally I recalled a casual conversation with the boiler maintenance chief in the basement of the Monitor building who had told me he once had worked in a power plant. I called him. I pleaded for him to call me when he could and gave him my number. It was the next day before he called me back at my home. The next day he called and finally, he told me I could come take a look if I wanted. After touring the boilers, I went with Wayne Bolton-Engelhardt to the control room. here I interviewed a half dozen men and learned how the lights went out. I learned, too, how the emergency power had come on for the Albany Steam Station for only the second time in its history. With the help of Bolton-Engelhardt and others in the control room, reconstructed a narrative account of what took place during these precious minutes.
ACCESSION #
13532531

 

Related Articles

  • Source of power problems may lie elsewhere. Johnston, Robert D. // Caribbean Business;9/21/1995, Vol. 23 Issue 38, p25 

    Reports on the sources of power interruptions in Puerto Rico. Degraded distribution and transmission network of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA); Cycle-related problems in the old electric power plants; Maintenance and systems-improvement program of PREPA.

  • Out of the Frying Pan. Weintraub, Daniel; Gagliano, Troy // State Legislatures;Jan2002, Vol. 28 Issue 1, p22 

    Reports on the economic implications of the energy crisis in California in 2001. Cost of electricity requested by Governor Gray Davis; Lessons learned by state lawmakers who dealt with the electricity crisis; Bills passed that will boost conservation and speed the construction of additional...

  • 'We know what happened, but not why'  // Modern Power Systems;Sep2003, Vol. 23 Issue 9, p3 

    Presents the compiled timeline by the U.S./Canada Power Outage Task Force which focuses on events that occurred on August 14, 2003 on transmission facilities and large power plants. Issues to be addressed by the report; Factors to be considered in determining the cause of the power...

  • The Disaster That Wasn't.  // Time;11/19/1965, Vol. 86 Issue 21, p50 

    The article focuses on the electric blackout in the U.S. in November 1965 caused by the aberrations in the Canadian-U.S. Eastern (CANUSE) interconnection power grid and several power sources such as the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant. It discusses the impacts of the blackout including stranded...

  • Explosion rocks plant.  // Modern Power Systems;Jun99, Vol. 19 Issue 6, p5 

    Reports on the occurrence of a power outage at the Hsinchu industrial park in Hsinchu, Taiwan as a result of an explosion at the Hsinchu power station.

  • Mobile GE.  // Modern Power Systems;Jan2001., Vol. 21 Issue 1, p37 

    Reports the use of GE TM2500 portable power plants for insurance policy against supply interruptions by Commonwealth Edison Co. in Chicago, Illinois. Advantages of the TM2500 power plants; Account on the grid capacity of the portable power plants; Use of distillate fuel with water injection for...

  • JWA Plans Plant to Supply Most Power. Maio, Pat // Orange County Business Journal;5/29/2006, Vol. 29 Issue 22, p3 

    The article reports that the management of John Wayne Airport wants to take control over its electricity in Orange County, California. The airport is planning to build an electric power plant. The plan aim to provide tough security screening and to make a precautionary measure on problems such...

  • Power System Blackouts: Analysis and Simulation of August 9, 2004 Blackout in Jordan Power System. Al-Odienat, Abdullah I. // Information Technology Journal;2006, Vol. 5 Issue 6, p1078 

    Large blackouts are usually caused by a complicated sequence of cascading failures. Initial failures weaken the system and cause further failures, which further weaken the system and so on. This study investigates the blackout that occurred on 9th August in the Jordanian Power System. For...

  • Energy sources lagging while marketers run with new products. Wenner, Gretchen // Business Journal Serving Fresno & the Central San Joaquin Valley;3/19/2001, Issue 322748, p5 

    Reports on developments relating to California's power generation facilities as of March 9, 2001. Power plant construction; Power to come from so-called peaker plants, or small, temporary generators that run for limited periods during peak demand; Status of permits for the electric plant in...

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of VIRGINIA BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY AND SYSTEM

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics