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Power Outages Strike East Coast

pudge posted more than 11 years ago | from the all-hail-ups dept.

News 1697

fordp writes "CNN, CNBC and others are reporting that major power outages are happening just after 4:00PM EDT in New York, New Jersey, Detroit, Ottawa and Toronto, Toledo." There are reports of a Con Edison transformer on fire on 14th Street in NYC, and lots of people stuck in trains and elevators. CNN is reporting that it is, according to power officials, most likely not related to terrorism, because you know you were wondering. The Niagra Mohawk power grid is overloaded, which feeds electricity throughout the northeast U.S. and into Canada. Update: 08/14 21:06 GMT by P : The mayor said there was no fire, that it was black smoke brought on by an automatic shutdown because of the power grid failure.

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On the other hand... (5, Funny)

caferace (442) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699286)

..You don't have to worry as much about port 135 being open.

Re:On the other hand... (0)

BWJones (18351) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699431)

Although, this is one of the proposed cyber attack strategies given the electrical grid through supervisory control and data acquisition points. It is difficult but not impossible.

FROST POSTY! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699290)

If I fail it, I will buy generators for everyone!

YOU FAIL IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699313)

Nice try though. Send generators to NYC please.

Re:FROST POSTY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699339)

Mod the parent up, and get his IP addy.

SCO's FAULT! (-1, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699292)

It's SCO's FAULT!!!

This isnt something to joke around about. (2, Funny)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699376)



If a riot starts, looting starts, or if this is part of some kinda terrorist attack you are going to feel dumb.

Lets be serious. This is not SCOs fault, its Microsofts fault.

WHUHU!!! (1, Funny)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699293)

IM going looting. Need one of them there apple g5s!!

Re:WHUHU!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699412)

Steal a SCO linux license while you're at it.

So that's why (-1)

riotstarter (650328) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699294)

all of those damn pr0n servers are down.

FP (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699296)

FP Here in the MN with Power..

First Question. Is it terrorism? (0, Redundant)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699299)



Is this a terrorist attack? I understand that doing something like this would completely shut down the US economy.

NO. NOT TERRORISM AT THIS TIME! (2, Informative)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699327)

All the evidence points to a natural overload.

Re:First Question. Is it terrorism? (0, Troll)

Zonekeeper (458060) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699329)

Yeee-up. I'd expect a knee jerk reaction like that from a Dean supporter.

Thank for adding fuel to the speculation fire. Sheesh people, CHILL OUT. Wait for the facts, or is that TOO MUCH TO ASK?

What the hell does politics have to do with this? (0, Troll)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699421)



This has absolutely nothing to do with politics, if you are thinking of politics right now, this should show how much you truely hate America.

I wonder how many people believe Bush planned 911. I bet the same people who think me being a Dean supporter matters in a situation when power is going out all accross the country for "UNKNOWN" reasons.

I am waiting for the facts, but speculation is good because you cannot expect our government to give us all the facts, maybe some expert who works at a powerplant will post here and tell us what happened.
When we find out the reasons then we can rule out terrorism.

Re:First Question. Is it terrorism? (1)

deep6d (561929) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699360)

Obviously didn't read the article or /.'s summary because both say no.

Re:First Question. Is it terrorism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699368)

Ahhh, HanzoSan. Not only did you not bother to read the article, but you FAILED to even read the Slashdot story. Way to Slashbot, moron.

Re:First Question. Is it terrorism? (4, Informative)

shelleymonster (606787) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699374)

Well, the NYSE has tons of backup generators. A friend of mine just sent an email from the floor, and she reports that at least the AC and computers are working.

Re:First Question. Is it terrorism? (1)

SixDimensionalArray (604334) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699426)

Since the market is closed already, it should not be a tremendous issue. Besides, many firms have backup generators and are still up and running!

Were fine in Boston (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699300)

Everything is goo..d h e

Nooooooooooooo

Central Boston not affected (4, Informative)

First Person (51018) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699301)

Some reports have suggested that Boston, MA, US was affected. Downtown is operating normally.

I have electricity. (0, Flamebait)

HanzoSan (251665) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699338)



I'm lucky enough to have electricity but I dont know for how long.

I suggest anyone on the east coast, cook your food, prepare for your lights to go out, get your guns ready just in case rioting and looting starts.

Re:I have electricity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699447)


"...get your guns ready just in case rioting and looting starts."

Score: -100, Idiot.

Re:Central Boston not affected (3, Informative)

Mark Gordon (14545) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699375)

Fenway neighborhood is fine, too.

Re:Central Boston not affected (1)

nurd68 (235535) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699386)

We had a momentary brownout down here in Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA (about 1 mile from URI). Enough to make the UPS's beep, put the power stayed on. And here, I thought it was just the bad power in our office building.

Re:Central Boston not affected (1)

Dr.Enormous (651727) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699388)

Woburn and Somerville seem fine, too. Other than my apartment, which loses power of its own accord anyway.

Re:Central Boston not affected (3, Informative)

kentborg (12732) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699399)

Power fine at work in Burlington, MA. My basement server in Somerville, MA, is still alive--though it does have a reasonable chunk of an hour of UPS power. (I don't have a daemon watching it.)

-kb, the Kent whose wife is in NYC and doesn't answer her cellphone or respond to wireless Palm e-mail.

Wacky... (1)

`Sean (15328) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699302)

Hrm...no power problems here in Lexington, MA or Haverhill, MA. All of the UPS boxen have been perfectly happy!

Power? (4, Funny)

Muttonhead (109583) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699303)

If I had power I could First Post.

Re:Power? (2, Funny)

`Sean (15328) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699440)

That's why I have a separate UPS for my G4, firewall and DSL bridge! ;)

Heinlen or Niven (1)

Freerange (643557) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699304)

Which one of these guys wrote about the last huge US blackout? Anyone remember?

And California? (5, Funny)

zifty (692892) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699306)

And in other breaking news, a great chorus of laughter could be heard clear across the country, apparently originating from California.

Re:And California? (5, Funny)

tgrigsby (164308) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699373)

Any thoughts on which governor will get recalled for this? Or will they decided that it was somehow caused by the Blaster worm infecting the computer systems of the power companies and go after M$ for producing laughable "security" into all versions of Windows.

And yeah, you can bet Davis is jumping up and down, pointing towards the east and yelling, "SEE? SEE? I TOLD YOU IT COULD HAPPEN TO ANYONE!!"

Re:And California? (4, Funny)

Lord Prox (521892) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699422)

Yeah, (snicker) I know.... (hehehe) It is sooo hard (hahaha) to keep it (chortle) IN!

MUHAHAHAHAHOHOHEHEHEHE

How do ya like, all ya damn east-coasters. And for our encore, we are going to export earthquakes too!

It's affecting Illinois too (3, Informative)

ChilyWily (162187) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699307)

On a conf call with some co-workers - they started losing power intermittantly just over an hour ago.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Teoti (678432) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699308)

fp! woo woot..but no one in the northeast will know...that sucks

Con Edison transformer NOT on fire (5, Informative)

EDA Wizard (2225) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699312)

Mayor Bloomberg was just on the radio and said that the Con Edison transformer on 14th Street in NYC is not on fire. It just release some black smoke when it shutdown due to the grid overload.

Re:Con Edison transformer NOT on fire (5, Funny)

Megaslow (694447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699326)

And we all know that black smoke streaming out of electrical equipment is perfectly normal.

Re:Con Edison transformer NOT on fire (2, Funny)

Kong the Medium (232629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699398)

But it won't work after the magic smoke is left out AFAIR.

Re:Con Edison transformer NOT on fire (4, Funny)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699420)

As long as it was only black smoke and not the "magic" smoke that makes all electrical and electronic devices work they should be just fine :)

Tell the whole story please (5, Funny)

in7ane (678796) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699390)

He also said that there was no grid overload, it was just being shut down for regular maintenance.

Re:Con Edison transformer NOT on fire (4, Funny)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699400)

It just release some black smoke

That's the problem. They let the magic smoke out.

whee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699317)

easier to try and get FP when lots of people don't have power! bwahaha

Toronto's on the East Coast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699319)

Did they move the city or something?

Re:Toronto's on the East Coast? (1, Funny)

nolife (233813) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699416)

It has been annexed by France.

WAN (1)

BrodyVess (455213) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699322)

That would explain why out NY WAN went down...

FIRST POS...[carrier lost] (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699323)

[dark]

FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699324)

The Niagra Mohawk power grid systems are based on Linux.

Timing is everything... (3, Interesting)

spicyjeff (6305) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699325)

This article detailing using semiconductors to mitigate large scale grid power surges ran in today's NYTs [nytimes.com] .

Re:Timing is everything... (3, Funny)

spicyjeff (6305) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699371)

err...'superconductors' I meant, not semiconductors...


too much work on the brain, time to head home, oh wait the subway is electric, damn.

Blaster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699328)

Is the power grid controlled by Windows?

Re:Blaster (5, Funny)

cbdavis (114685) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699384)

I bet it is running on linux and the OS license
was revoked by SCO.

world going to hell! (-1, Troll)

thesadjester (87558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699330)

Prepare your immortal souls! THE END IS NEAR!

Oh wait, I'm a jew. damn. oh well
/me grabs a beer and doesn't worry.

not a fire, not terrorism, according to mayor (2, Informative)

Gunzour (79584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699331)

Mayor Bloomberg is reporting on CNN that the black smoke some people have seem coming from the Con Edison plant is a result of an automatic shutdown process that was triggered by an outage at Niagra Mohawk Power, which feeds power to NYC as well as the other major cities on the region which have lost power.

They are not sure the cause of the Niagra outage but they do not have any indication of terrorism at this time.

Well... (1)

pogle (71293) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699332)

That explains why I'm suddenly unable to access the webserver in Canada for a project I'm working on...

Manhattan (5, Interesting)

Latent IT (121513) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699335)

I'm in Manhattan right now, near Colombus Circle. All power is out across all 5 boros. No traffic lights, hundreds of thousands trapped in the subway... I'm dialed in through Verizon (wow. good network, right?) on a laptop, through a PBX with a battery backup.

According to the radio, the 14th street power station is burning. Of course, it also is talking about blackouts from Cleveland to Toronto. With no power, my poor tropical fish have less than a few hours to live, and I already hear a crowd in the street screaming, but it's mostly good natured right now.

I'm sorry, this seems like sabotage. I've got 100 gallons of fresh water, and a sword.

And I'm posting on slashdot.

Oh well. I guess I just wanted to say hello. =p

Re:Manhattan (5, Funny)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699394)

"I'm dialed in through Verizon (wow. good network, right?) on a laptop, through a PBX with a battery backup. "

Do you suffer from anxiety attacks when you do not read/post to Slashdot for more than a day?

Re:Manhattan (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699409)

Rock on, man :D

Re:Manhattan (5, Funny)

Mark Gordon (14545) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699415)

You didn't get a UPS for your fish?

Re:Manhattan (1)

pogle (71293) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699418)

What kinda sword? /me is a collector of sharp and pointy things

Re:Manhattan (3, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699433)

the power station is not burning.

everything is fine and the power is out as far west as detroit, as south as cleaveland and as far north as toronto.

A niagra falls power grod overloaded and shut down, causing a power cascade.

simply a failure that brought down the whole setup.

Hartford seems fine (1)

bert33 (655799) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699336)

We had an outage for about a second but it came right back. I was going to loot something nice too...

Come On Now.. Overreaction? (3, Insightful)

Pavan_Gupta (624567) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699337)

I was watching Modern Marvels on the History channel, randomly, when I noticed that CNN and MSNBC had their news anchors put the war helmets on, and start the 9/11 rant all over again.

I'm not one to say that we shouldn't worry a little, but coincidences happen! Why should we jump to conclusions long before anything really big has happened? Come on now, this is just way too much hype!! When they begin to find evidence of something bad happening, then tell me about power outages.

People stuck in elevators? Please. The power goes out everywhere, let's at least pretend that we're not shaking in our boots, and put some confidence back in our country!

Re:Come On Now.. Overreaction? (2, Informative)

pudge (3605) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699377)

when I noticed that CNN and MSNBC had their news anchors put the war helmets on, and start the 9/11 rant all over again.

You're full of crap. CNN did not mention "terrorism" or anything related to it for a good half hour, and when they did it was only to say there was no evidence of it. They did not jump to conclusions. Stop making shit up.

Re:Come On Now.. Overreaction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699419)

Actually, on MSNBC they were calling it a "Power Grid Attack" so before you attack him, you should get your facts straight.

from drudge website (4, Informative)

baxterux (575852) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699340)

A huge power blackout hit U.S. cities spreading from New York to Cleveland and Detroit and north into Canada Thursday afternoon. In New York City, the blackout affected subways, elevators and airports, including John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. Thousands of people streamed into the streets of lower Manhattan in 90-degree heat. In Toronto, Ontario, too, workers left their offices after the blackout hit shortly after 4 p.m. EDT. Traffic lights were out throughout downtown Cleveland, creating havoc at the beginning of rush hour. There were reports of outages in New Jersey and Connecticut as well. Every prison in New York state reported a loss of power and had switched to backup generators, said James Flateau, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

Sun Spots could be partly to blame? (5, Interesting)

ratfynk (456467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699341)

Here is a link to the solar flare situation there is an X class happening right now! http://sunspotcycle.com/

Re:Sun Spots could be partly to blame? (3, Funny)

Megaslow (694447) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699379)

Isn't that one of the legendary BOFH excuses?

Sun spots, transformers, and you. (5, Informative)

josquin00 (675292) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699439)

For the lazy: here [sunspotcycle.com] is the clickable link.

Don't believe that sunspots can trigger power outages? Think again [nasa.gov] .

MOD PARENT UP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699446)

X class it the largest class of solar flare.

Solar flares can cause major havoc with power grids.

I've not seen this mentioned anywhere on TV yet...

Oh no (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699342)

They set up us the bomb!

The east (1, Redundant)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699343)

I gather they didn't learn from the problems California had a couple years back.

Power's back up here (3, Informative)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699346)

We had the power brown out here in South Central Michigan, which lasted for a few minutes. Right in the middle of playing a game, fortunately I just saved. I hope this ain't hacker or terrorist related...

Re:Power's back up here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699401)


Are you sure? Or is that just your generator?

Midwest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699352)

Chicago is fi.......

Air conditioners? (4, Insightful)

Snodgrass (446409) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699353)

Judging by this [weatherunderground.com] chart I'd say a whole lot of people were running their air conditioners today. Maybe that's it?

Looks like California.... (5, Funny)

irn_bru (209849) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699354)

finally got that extra long extension cable rigged up....

Revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699355)

Awesome! 'Any civilisation is only three meals away form revolution.'

I got hit (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699356)

This article was posted at exactly the same time that my server at RIT in New York got hit (I currently live in Kansas). I had my website in one tab and Slashdot on the other. When my server stopped responding, I figured one of the sysadmins down there was updating Apache or whatever else can cause the server to go down. But when I refreshed Slashdot's main page, lookie what I find here! :(

I hope the power comes back on the east coast soon. I want my damn website back. :-|

At fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699362)

BLAME Canada!!!

Weird day. (5, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699365)

This is kind of weird. I work at a mid size hosting center and ISP [xand.com] and since we normally run on generator power, we didn't know that there was a widespread power outage. Things started popping up on our monitoring system -- and they all seemed completely unrelated. Of course, it turned out that all the things going red were customers with T1 lines and such, that were in buildings losing power. :)

Toledo's totally down... (1)

Xangis (263898) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699367)

...as is southeast Michigan.

Thanks to a backup generator the servers are up and I'm posting on Slashdot. Yay disaster preparation!

Con Edison's LavaRnd Response Memo (1)

ArmenTanzarian (210418) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699370)

To: New York
From: Con Edison
Date: Thu Aug 14 13:53:39 2003
Subject: Power Outages

Having the based paradigm that is business, it follows that a year two thousand compliance is going to take the issue off-line. We're making forward progress towards projected by implementing a benefit that is both ethical and massively parallel.

oops! (3, Funny)

stagl (569675) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699380)

shit, i better turn off my new overclocked 4ghz athlon!

Slam*err* (1)

redog (574983) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699381)

Your computer will reboot in 60 seconds.

Power Outage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699382)

We experienced a power outage here at the University of Maryland Campus a bit after 4pm as well today. Phones were still operational, but not the doors. The darn electronic locks all locked themselves.

What happened? (2, Funny)

Muddie (72996) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699387)

From what I heard, terrorists working for SCO were exploiting port 135 worms after declaring their hatred for IBM on Friendster (of course, they were disguised as John Ashcroft and their accounts were cancelled) and, from all accounts, they were just "testing a random number generator". Where does it all end?!?!?

You know your a geek... (4, Funny)

FrostedWheat (172733) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699389)

You know your a geek when your reading Slashdot during a power cut. :-D

CNN is reporting... (5, Interesting)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699391)

...that this is due to a single fire at a major ConEd substation.

So this one isn't terrorism (so they say), but I'm sure terrorists will be delighted to know that they can throw five major cities into utter chaos by taking out one substation and getting an assist from the domino effect.

~Philly

Nice to see that one failure can do this (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699396)

I report this 20 minutes earlier when it happens and I get rejected....

I find it really interesting that one overload in niagra falls area can do this to the power grid.

Why in the world is it engineered that way? to allow undersized power plants supply a city that overgrew it's power potential?

New Haven, CT problems (2, Informative)

nstrom (152310) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699402)

Got home to find my clocks flashing 12:00... Realized my DSL is out (problems connecting to the PPPoE server), so my ISP [snet.net] still has equipment out.

Tried to call a friend in Manhattan on her Verizon cell phone before I realized everything that was happening and kept getting "all circuits down", so obviously lots of things are messed up.

Watching some CNBC and CNN on the news, people seem to be going a bit insane here, wandering the streets in mobs, etc.

Whoops... sorry... (5, Funny)

doc_traig (453913) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699407)


I always wondered what that wall switch was for and today I finally turned it off. My bad. After dinner I'll go turn it back on.

Now is the time for all good West Coasters (0, Troll)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699410)

to sit back and LAUGH HYSTERICALLY. I hope no one is hurt but I feel NO SYMPATHY for you, and I actually feel a wee bit of redemption for all the crap we had to take out here on the west coast.

Homer Simpson Did It! (1)

e03179 (578506) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699417)

Doh! Actually, I and all /.ers hope all are safe and well.

Aieee! (4, Funny)

Nucleon500 (628631) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699435)

My uptime! Argh s4a37@#89@(#*

NO CARRIER

College Park, MD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6699436)

University of Maryland lost power for about tens minutes shortly after 4pm today. Doors stopped functioning.

Anarchy. (1)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699438)

And geeks like anarchy, right?

yahoo news is reporting that it is not terrorism (1)

Squeezer (132342) | more than 11 years ago | (#6699443)

[yahoo.com]
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid= 56 4&e=1&u=/nm/20030814/ts_nm/power_outages_ferc_ dc
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