This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 07, 2004

Task Force Issues Final Report on August 2003 Blackout

The United States and Canada need to establish tighter and tougher electricity reliability standards in order to prevent a repeat of the August 14th, 2003, blackout, according to the final report of the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force. The report, which DOE released on April 5th, recommends the implementation of mandatory and enforceable reliability standards, backed by appropriate government oversight. It calls for strengthening the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) and developing a funding mechanism for NERC and the regional reliability councils that will ensure their independence from the parties they oversee. It also recommends improved training and certification for electrical grid operators and increased physical and cyber security for the power grid.

The Task Force reviewed previous major North American power outages and found that the causes of the August 14th blackout were "strikingly similar" to those of earlier outages. To prevent history from repeating yet again, the Task Force mandate has been extended by one year to ensure its recommendations are acted upon. See the DOE press release and the Task Force report.