What caused the blackout of 2003? Right now the Department of Energy is in the midst of a in-depth investigation that will hopefully determine the root causes of the cascading power grid failure that left 50 million people in the dark. The House Energy Committee released 650 pages of transcripts — conversations that took place between various power companies and grid managers — that raise more questions than they answer.
We know from those transcripts that employees of FirstEnergy of Ohio were complaining about malfunctioning computers that were not giving them real-time information about the condition of the grid. It is also true that the blackout came at the same time that the so-called Blaster Worm was wreaking havoc with computers around the country.
Officials close to the investigation tell FOX News that the grid was not cyber-secure at the time of the blackout, but that they have no indication of a coordinated cyber-attack. Regardless, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham has told reporters that making the grid secure from hacker and virus attack is a top priority.
A timeline of the power outage has been developed that shows what happened and when. But why did certain circuits mysteriously fail at a time when the grid was only operating at about 75% of its capacity?
As is often the case in Washington, when members of Congress are screaming for answers, things move quickly. But based on several conversations I had today with key Hill staffers, it appears that members of Congress have moved on to other concerns for the moment.