TABLE 1.1 Some Worldwide Examples of Cascading Power Failures with Potential or Actual Widespread Impact


Date Location Notable Consequences

November 9, 1965 Northeastern United States (10 states), Ontario Power to 30 million customers (20,000 MW) interrupted (USFPC, 1965)
June 5, 1967 Middle Atlantic Region 4 million people affected
May 1977 Miami, Florida Power to 1 million customers over 15,000 square miles interrupted
July 13, 1977 New York City Power to 9 million customers (6,000 MW) interrupted for as long as 24 hours; widespread looting, chaos; police made about 3,000 arrests (DOE/FKRC, 1978)
December 1978 France Power in part of France interrupted due to voltage collapse
January 1981 Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming Power to 1 million customers interrupted for 7 hours
March 1982 Oregon Power to more than 900,000 customers interrupted for 1.5 hours
1987 Tokyo Power to 2.8 million customers interrupted
1989 Quebec Power to 9 million customers interrupted; geomagnetically induced currents from solar storm
1990 Egypt Power for entire country affected by sandstorms
December 1994 Western United States Power to 2 million customers interrupted from Arizona to Washington state
1996 Malaysia Power to 20 million customers interrupted
1996 Philippines Half of country affected by power plant outages
July 2, 19% Western United States Power to 2 million customers (11,850 MW) interrupted in 14 states for approximately 6 hours (WSCC, 1996)
July 3, 1996 Western United States Recurrence of July 2 disturbance; operators interrupted power supply to most of Boise, Idaho, vastly reducing the extent of the event (WSCC, 1996)
August 1996 Indonesia Power to 100 million customers interrupted
August 10, 1996 Western United States Power to 7.5 million customers (28,000 MW) interrupted; economic damage estimated at $1 billion to $3 billion (WSCC, 1996)
1998 North central United States/central Canada Power to 152,000 customers interrupted by lightning
January 1998 Québec, Northeastern United States Power to 2.3 million customers interrupted due to ice storms
February 1998 Auckland, New Zealand Power cables failed, central business district was without power for about 5 weeks, affecting as many as 60,000 of the 74,000 people who worked there
June 25, 1998 Midwestern United States, central Canada Power to 152,000 customers (950 MW) interrupted
November 1988 to June 2003 Western India 29 large cascading failures over 15 years—1.9 per year; power to millions of customers interrupted in most cases (Roy and Pentayya, 2004)
1998 to 2001 Western and midwestern United States Rotating blackouts in several markets because of summer prices
December 1998 San Francisco Power to 0.5 million affected
1999 Brazil 24.5 GW of load lost short-circuit 440 KV Busbar
1999 Denmark Power to 100,000 customers interrupted by a hurricane
1999 France Power to 3.6 million customers interrupted by storms
1999 Taiwan Entire country affected by transmission tower collapse due to earthquake
July 1999 New York City Power to 300,000 customers interrupted for 19 hours
2000 Portugal Power to 5 million customers interrupted by failure of protection system
2001 Nigeria Power to 20 million to 50 million customers affected
2002 Argentina Power to 2 million customers interrupted by damaged cables
2002 Colombia One-third of country affected by rebel attacks


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement