The Ontario Liberal official talking points about the 2003 blackout, which they reference as frequently as possible, are that former Conservative Premier Mike Harris caused it and that Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals fixed it by building wind mills.
This New York Times review is a fact-based antidote to this careless politicking.
The review does not note, but might have, that Ontario had legally enforceable grid protection standards with penalties before the 2003 blackout and that Ontario’s enforceable standards became a model for the changes that were subsequently implemented throughout the US.
The review gives voice to those who argue that the 2003 blackout proves that we need to dramatically increase spending on the power grid. Unfortunately, these comments are presented without attention to the widespread decline in electricity demand across much of the north eastern region of North America in recent years.
The review also draws attention to the blackout risks due to malicious intent such as a cyber attack or terrorism. The extent to which the move toward increased automation of the power system through Smart Grid enhances this risk is not addressed.