Northeast blackout of 2003

Major power outage in August 2003 in North America
Northeast blackout of 2003
Map of North America, blackout 2003.svg
This image shows areas where power outages happened. Not everywhere in these political borders were affected.
DateAugust 14–16, 2003 (2003-08-14 – 2003-08-16)
Duration2 hours–4 days, depending on location
LocationNortheastern United States, Central Canada
CauseSoftware bug in the alarm system in the control room of FirstEnergy

List of Northeast Blackout CitiesEdit




New Jersey

New York




The Northeast blackout of 2003 was a big power outage that happened in many parts of the northeastern and midwestern United States, and the Canadian area of Ontario on Thursday, August 14, 2003, starting soon after 4:10 p.m. EDT.[1]

Most places got power back by midnight (in about 7 hours since it was lost), some as early as 6 p.m. on August 14 (in 2 hours since it was lost),[2] while the New York City Subway started serving customers again by 8 p.m.[2] Full power came back to New York City and Toronto on August 16.[3] It was the world's second biggest blackout in history, second to the 1999 Southern Brazil blackout.[4][5]

The blackout happened because of a software problem in the alarm area of the control room of FirstEnergy.


  1. "What Caused the Power Blackout To Spread So Widely and So Fast?" (Press release). Genscape. August 15, 2003. Archived from the original on May 18, 2016. Retrieved July 13, 2011 – via PR Newswire.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Major power outage hits New York, other large cities". CNN. Turner Broadcasting System. August 14, 2003. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2008.
  3. International Comparison Major Blackouts and Restoration (PDF) (Report). 2016-05-05. pp. 16–17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-03-13.
  4. "2003: The great North America blackout". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. August 14, 2003. Archived from the original on August 15, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2008.
  5. "INDEPTH: Power Outage | Timeline". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. August 18, 2004. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2008.