The 2003 Blackout’s Effect in Perspective

On August 14, 2003, a massive blackout disrupted large parts of the eastern United States and Canada, causing an estimated 50 million people to be without power. The blackout spread through areas of Ohio, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, as well as parts of Ontario and Quebec.

The team investigating the blackout estimated that more than 70,000 megawatts of power was lost during the event. To put this in perspective, in non-severe weather conditions, one megawatt can power between 800 and 1,000 average-sized American homes.

To learn more about the blackout and what PJM and others have done to improve the electric grid, visit the PJM Learning Center.

The infographic below shows a variety of things you can power with one megawatt-hour of electricity.


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