Northeast brightens up

Life is pretty much back to normal after the massive power failure that hit the northeastern United States.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | BALTIMORE | August 18, 2003

Life is pretty much back to normal after the massive power failure that hit the northeastern United States and southern Canada Aug. 14, according to emergency management officials.

Energy conservation measures and boil-water advisories were gradually rescinded over the weekend, and into Monday in some cases, until almost all areas effected by the power failure were operating normally by Monday afternoon.

Michigan, one of the states hardest-hit by the blackout, had eight southeastern counties under a boil-water advisory until 3 p.m. Monday. The advisory affected 4.3 million people.

But the power crunch over the weekend was not as bad there as had been anticipated, according to John Austerberry, spokesman for DTE Energy, the company that supplies electricity for 2.1 million customers in the Detroit area. Austerberry attributed the restoration of power by Saturday (some predicted that power would be out until Monday) to the compliance of customers to electricity conservation recommendations.

"We're pretty much back to normal. We're in good solid shape," he said. "Our customers were extremely cooperative. Their cooperation allowed us to restore power sooner than anticipated." Rolling blackouts, which had also been predicted, were also successfully avoided, he said.

In some part of New York state, however, electricity conservation recommendations were still in effect Monday. Consolidated Edison, which services 3.1 million people, continued to urge customers to conserve electricity Monday, according to Chris Olert, a spokesman for ConEdison. Five of New York's six nuclear power plants were back online Monday.

In Ohio, Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell announced Monday that the city water was safe to drink. However, the beach on Lake Erie remained closed Monday, after a water treatment plant malfunction discharged an unknown amount of sewage into the lake, as well as the Cuyahoga River.

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Related Links:

• Information About Previous New York City Blackouts: Blackout History Project

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