Research Papers

The 2003 Blackout

Follow-Up | Event Description | Commentary/Statements | Policy Analysis | Data Analysis


Research On Cascading Failures, Criticality and Self-Organization In Large Blackouts. 2 May 2006. Webpage.

Competition and Reliability in North American Energy Markets. Conference White Papers. September 2005. Webpage.

Event Description

U.S. Department of Energy

US-Canada Power System Outage Task Force. Final Report on the August 14, 2003 Blackout in the United States and Canada: Causes and Recommendations. April 2004. 238 pages (6.7 MB download).

New York Independent System Operator. Interim Report on the August 14, 2003 Blackout. 8 January 2004. 76 pages.

US-Canada Power System Outage Task Force. Interim Report: Causes of the August 14th Blackout in the United States and Canada. November 2003. Paper, 134 pages (4.3 MB download).

Michigan Public Service Commission. Report On August 14th [2003] Blackout. November 2003. 110 pages (1.67 MB download).

U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. Keeping the Lights On: The Federal Role in Managing the Nation's Electricity. 10 September 2003. Hearing Webpage.

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. Blackout 2003: How Did It Happen and Why?
3 September 2003. Hearing, Webpage.

North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC).
Press Briefing Talking Points. 15 August 2003. Media briefing, 1 page.
Preliminary Distrubance Report. 15 August 2003. Press release, 1 page.
Maps of NERC's Preliminary Disturbance Report Events. 15 August 20003. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Power Systems Engineering Research Center. Resources for Understanding the Blackout of 2003. Website.

A Timeline of the 2003 Blackout. 17 August 2003. Exerpts from an Associated Press news article. 2 pages

International Transmission Company. Description of the Grid Collapse. 20 August 2003. PITC's Michigan transmission system collapsed. Presentation, 9 pages.

The New York Times.
Experts Retrace a String of Mishaps Before the Blackout. Abstract. 24 August 2003.
An Investigation of Blackout, New Details on Timeline. Abstract. 25 August 2003.

The Blackout History Project contains a wealth of information about the 1965, 1977 and 2003 blackouts in the United States and Canada.


Hogan, William. Shedding Light. 19 April 2004. Op ed, The Wall Street Journal.

Nadis, Steve. (Kennedy School Bulletin). Let There Be Light. Spring 2004. Article.

Power Engineers Supporting Truth. What Really Caused the Blackout? 11 February 2004. Statement, 4 pages.

Hogan, William. Electricity Is a Federal Issue. 18 August 2003. Commentary, The Wall Street Journal.

Brown, Ashley. The Power-Line Problem Starts with States. 18 August 2003. Commentary, Long Island Newsday.

Joskow, Paul. The Blackout. 17 August 2003. Commentary, 3 pages.

Gent, Michehl ( North American Electric Reliability Council). Statement from Michehl Gent. 16 August 2003.

Policy Analysis

International Energy Agency. Learning from the Blackouts: Transmission System Security in Competitive Electricity Markets. December 2005. Book, 216 pages.

Down, Erin and Gilles Rheaume (Conference Board of Canada). Shedding Light on Power Solutions. 1 October 2003. Briefing, 6 pages.

Landrieu, Pete. August 14, 2003: Lessons Learned. 1 March 2004. Presentation, 7 pages.

North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). August 14, 2003 Blackout: NERC Actions to Prevent and Mitigate the Impacts of Future Cascading Blackouts. 10 February 2004. Report, 25 pages.

Glotfelty, Jimmy (US DOE). Transforming the Grid to Revolutionize Electric Power in North America. 11 December 2003. Presentation, 24 pages.

Krapels, Edward. Goodbye Gridlock (2): How to End the Shortage in Transmission Investment That Led to the Northeast Blackout. 31 August 2003. 55 pages.

Felder, Frank. The Importance of Reevaluating the Reliability Analysis of the Electric Power Grid. 19 August 2003.
3 pages

Alvarado, Fernando and Rajesh Rajaraman. The 2003 Blackout: Did the System Operator Have Enough Power? 18 August 2003 (Revised 26 August 2003). 3 pages.

The New York Times. Oversight Group Warned Utilities on Power Flows. Abstract. 21 August 2003.

Kirschen, Daniel and Goran Strbac. Analysis and Selection of Analytical Tools to Assess National-Interest Transmission Bottlenecks. 27 August 2003. Paper, 10 pages.

Cambridge Energy Associates. The Blackout of 2003: Sweating in the Dark. 14 August 2003. Webpage (password required).

North American Electric Reliability Council ( NERC). NERC's 2003 Summer Assessment: Reliability of Bulk Electricity Supply in North America. 15 May 2003. Paper, 58 pages.

Department of Energy
National Transmission Grid Study. March 2002.
Report of the Department of Energy's Power Outage Study Team. March 2000.

Data Analysis

North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). Technical Analysis of the August 14, 2003, Blackout: What Happened, Why, and What Did We Learn? 13 July 2004. 124 pages.

Overbye, Tom (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois). Power System Control: Enhancing the Human-System Interface. The Mathematics of August 14, 2003: How Complex? 13 March 2004. Presentation [useful graphics], 43 pages.

Electric Power Research Institute Power Electronics Applications Center.
Updated Data Analysis. 20 August 2003. Presentation, 11 pages.
Initial Analysis. 14 August 2003. Presentation, 12 pages

EnerNex Corporation. Preliminary Analysis of Measured Data. Website.

I-Grid. Website.

Power Systems Engineering Research Center (PSERC). Resources for Understanding the Blackout of 2003. Website.


Capacity Markets

Climate Change


Competitive Market Models and Transitions to Competition

Distributed Energy Resources

Electric Storage

Environment - Clean Air

EPAct and Predictions for the Future

FERC Rulings and Reports

Financial Markets

Financial Transmission Rights

Investment Incentives/Risk Allocation

Lessons from Abroad

Lessons from Other US Industries


Market Liquidity

Market "Manipulation"

Merchant Transmission

Mergers, Market Power and Anti-Trust

National Energy Policy

Natural Gas

Nuclear Power

PEV (Plug-in Electric Vehicles)

Public Power

Regional Transmission Organizations

Regulation, Governance and Judicial Review


Renewable Energy

Research and Development

Resource Adequacy

Retail Pricing

Scarcity Pricing


Smart Grid

Standard Market Design and Demand-Side Activities

State and Regional Activities

Stranded Benefits (Including Public Policy, Environment, DSM, IRP)

Stranded Investments, Assets, Costs (Including the Nuclear Question)

Technology Incentives

Transmission: Cost Allocation, Investment, and Planning

Wholesale and Retail Competition

Miscellaneous (Including Electricity Futures, Economic Principles, Financial Reform)