The blackout in New York Wednesday night marked the eighth time this year Americans across the country suffered a loss of lights, but on a smaller scale.
A power failure June 28 blacked out 45,000 homes in Texas border towns for two hours and another in Florida May 16 blacked out 1 million homes in and around Miami for more than four hours. On each occasion, a "disturbance" in the transmission lines serving Texas and Florida was the cause of the blackout.
Last winter, a snowstorm March 10 felted power lines in Colorado, Nebraska and parts of both Dakotas, blacking out 14,000 homes for as long as three days. A month earlier, a transmission line failure blacked out 30,000 homes for four hours in Jacksonville, Fla., and on Feb. 17 an estimated 34,000 homes in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho were blacked out for two hours when a technician threw the wrong transmission switch.
Up to 42,000 customers in Cleveland lost their lights twice last winter, on Jan. 19 and Feb. 4. A circuit that should have been closed was accidentally tripped open each time, causing blackouts of two hours the first time and a half-hour the second.
The entire eastern half of the nation came close to being blacked out last Jan. 17, unofficially the coldest day of the coldest winter east of the Mississippi River in the last 100 years. The demand for electric heat on that day was so great that voltage was reduced by electric utilities in 17 states, a situation that slowed down the electric clock by 28 seconds in almost all homes in the eastern half of the country.