The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

One Year after the Great Power Blackout—Preparing for the Next One

Aug 2, 2004

It’s now been a year since the Great Power Blackout of 2003, the biggest in U.S. history. Starting on the afternoon of August 14, some 50 million people in eight states and the province of Ontario were suddenly without power for three days, most without clean drinking water, some without critical medical services, everyone without refrigeration, fans and air conditioning on some of the hottest days of the summer.

In the wave of political posturing that followed, all sorts of legislative proposals and recommendations to improve the electrical grid and avoid another massive power failure were made. Yet today, one year after the blackout, not one thing has been done. No new standards have been established to prevent this kind of snowballing failure. Government officials have failed to take even the rudimentary step of requiring all power generation and distribution companies to obey existing operational and safety standards–like clearing away trees near power transmission lines, one of the problems that started the Great Blackout of 2003!

At most big utility companies serving urban areas, the biggest change since the blackout is said to be the planning for the next one!

And that’s it.

The Detroit Free Press reports that industry officials believe more Americans will have to sweat in the dark before any real improvements are made in the electric power industry’s power grid. In other words–it will take another blackout or two to convince the population we need to accept much higher electrical rates.

This is nothing but outright extortion.