Joint Canada-U.S. Task Force Sets November 18, 2003, for Interim Report on August Blackout

OTTAWA — The Canada–U.S. Task Force on the Power System Outage will issue a joint Interim Report on November 18, 2003, presenting its initial findings on the causes of the August 14, 2003, blackout. The Honourable Herb Dhaliwal, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, and U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, who co-chair the Task Force, will issue the interim report from Washington, D.C.

The interim report assesses conditions on the electric transmission grid that contributed to the blackout, outlines the actual physical causes of the outage, and discusses events and conditions that allowed the blackout to spread to large areas of the United States and Canada.

The interim report will set the stage for the next phase of the Task Force’s assignment, which is formulating recommendations to reduce the likelihood of future blackouts and bolster reliability of the electric infrastructure. The second phase of the process will include public forums to be held in both countries in early December, which will allow public comment on both the joint interim report and recommendations for preventing future blackouts.

“We are pleased with the progress and cooperation shown on both sides of the border,” said Minister Dhaliwal. “It is imperative that we find out what happened and restore the integrity and reliability of our international transmission system. The release of this interim report is a first step in that process.”

“The Task Force and its Working Groups of technical experts have collected and analyzed enormous amounts of data and information in compiling this interim report,” said Secretary Abraham. “An electrical outage of this magnitude is an extremely complex event, and these investigative teams have done an exceptional job in completing the first phase of this review in a short period of time. We believe these findings, and the work still to be done in formulating the Task Force’s recommendations, will result in more reliable electric service in both our nations.”

The Canada–U.S. Task Force on the Power System Outage was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and President George W. Bush to identify the causes of the recent power outage in North America, and to make recommendations that would help prevent future outages.

For more information, media may contact:

Alexandra Muir
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 947-8246
Ghyslain Charron
Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada
(613) 992-4447
Jeanne Lopatto
Joe Davis
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of Energy
(202) 586-4940