Blackout: Understanding the US Power Grid’s Vulnerability from the 2003 Failure

In 2003, a blackout crippled areas of the U.S. and Canada, leaving some 50 million people in the dark. Years later, we are still grappling with concerns over the vulnerability of our power grid.

On a late Thursday afternoon in the summer of 2003, everything turned off. In the span of a few minutes, the biggest power outage in U.S. history brought swaths of the Northeast, the Midwest and Canada to a standstill.

In the days and weeks that followed, reporters and investigators raced to pinpoint the source of the outage, while larger questions swirled about the stability of the power grid in the 21st century.

Today, some changes have been made, but new threats have emerged and governments and utilities are trying to determine how to best prepare for another crisis.

  • Producer: Matthew Spolar
  • Director: Jonathan Gruber
  • Editor: David Feinberg