I woke up Friday morning and soon got the news of the US/CANADA Blackout 2003 from a local TV channel. Then I switched to CNN where it was reporting live. Since Friday is our weekly holiday, I got the time to follow the events from TV the whole day. However, I was away from from the net and missed the fresh reports of the blackout blogs.
Blackouts are common in Bangladesh as the existing power plants barely covers the whole country needs. The problems arise during summer when the consumption peeks (Air conditioning & cooler fans) and specially when some station goes out of order. Then we face the rolling blackouts in localities for a brief period (10 minutes to 1 hour max) what we call load shedding. Everybody is pretty much accustomed to that. And there are always provisions for backup powers for all emergency services like hospitals, traffic lights etc. In home we always keep rechargeable lights/candles and some have emergency backup inverter systems/generators which can power the emergency lights and fans. So unless the blackout period is extensive there is no massive disruption in Peoples lives.
Here are some reactions to the US/CANADA blackout:
My sister could not apprehend the extent of disruption in the 50 million lives. She thought that I was kidding and asked me why the generators were not giving backup power?
I said: the generators might be incapable of giving backup power for a long time. She couldn't agree and told me that something else is not right.
Watching the stream of people walking across the street with a few cars, my mom asked what happened to them?
I said: they are returning home from work as the subways are closed.
She then asked how far are their home and when they will reach?
I said: If the shuttle train takes say 1 hour I don't know how far and how long it will take. She commented that they are in big trouble.
An acquaintance who is an anti-war/anti-US minded told that they have got what they deserved. God always returns the evil doings to own lives.
I said: How can you say such a thing watching so many innocent people's sufferings. US internationals affairs are decided by the US policy makers. If anything has to happen, the should have been the target. But why millions of innocent people and many of our countrymen are facing the suffering. I asked him: If you put yourself in the shoes of the person who could not reach home and slept on street could you still think that?
I am glad that today the power is coming back and fully restored in NY city. I hope this would not happen next time because the terrorists might want to exploit this weakness to do some disturbance. I am interested to read reports from bloggers in the affected area about how they coped with this problem.
Still one thing is buzzing in my mind: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (ex-energy secretary) quoted "the US as a superpower with a third world electricity grid".