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The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965

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Where were you when the lights went out?

The Great Northeast Blackout (November 9, 1965 at 5:27 pm)

By Dave Lucier

On a fall afternoon in November 1965, I was arduously studying kinematics in the library of the University of Massachusetts where I went to engineering school.

Author's note: I was more likely flirting with some busty co-ed in the study hall.

It was late in the afternoon, as I recall. The lights flickered once or twice. A few seconds later, there was nothing but pure darkness as the power went off.

I heard a deep voice in the cavernous room say:

"This is God speaking."

There was a silent pause as a few people snickered. Then the voice continued:

"Due to lack of interest, today has been cancelled!"

The power was out for approximately 12 hours, extending into the next morning.

It was the largest power outage in US history.

The Hamptons

By Dave Lucier

In the late 1980s, I was troubleshooting a MS5001D gas turbine package power plant. This plant was installed in 1962 by Long Island Lighting Company in the township of Southampton, NY. The site is near the tip of Long Island, just down the road from some of the most expensive homes and property in the United States. The area is known as The Hamptons. Movie stars and socialites have summer homes out there. During his reelection bid, Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, attended a fund raiser in the home of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. You get the idea.

Anyway, according to one of the plant operators (call him Doc), this turbine/generator is credited for bringing back the Island and eventually NY City during The Great Northeast Blackout of November 1965. It had a feature called Black Start capability.

As far as I know, the plant still operates after over forty-three years of service, making it one of only a handful of package power plants of this vintage still in service. There is a "sister" unit (MS5001D) at the FEDC donated by Delmarva Power & Light for Dover, DE.

Created by admin
Last modified Sunday, Mar-13-2005 11:58 AM

Where were you when the lights went out?

Posted by dlucier at Thursday, Dec-23-2004 05:36 AM

Leave a message here: It was November 9, 1965.

The Norhteast Blackout Conspiracy

Posted by dlucier at Friday, Mar-11-2005 12:07 PM
There is a theory that the 1965 NE blackout was actually a very elaborate plot by The General.

The plot was formed alledgedly on the golf course when 4 GE managers were playing golf and whining about slow business sales. The foursome included the manager power transformers, gas turbines, generators & gears and plastics (a young chemical engineer named Jack). They figured that if there was a huge blackout then power companies panic and order “black start” gas turbine/generators to get up and running again.

If they could sell several hundred turbines then all of the business groups would flourish! So the guy from transformers plotted a way for a large transformer to fail during a lightening strike. Sure enough, a lightening strike took out a large transformer from Ontario Hydro, which then took out the main high voltage power line that stretches from Buffalo to NY City. The rest of the state tried to pick up the load demand without success. Units tripped off line due to “Under Frequency”.

Neighboring states unsuccessfully tried to pick up New York’s load success and tripped for the same reason. In a matter of minutes the entire northeast blacked out. The main GE plant in Schenectady stayed online because they tripped their breaker to the outside world.

This appeared very suspicious…How did they know? They must have known about the plot. Sure enough, hundreds of gas turbines were ordered and delivered. Places like NY, Chicago and TVA ordered 50 at a time! Business was now booming. The secret plot was a total success.

Rumor has it that the golf outing was really a five-some and not a foursome. The 5th golfer was an obstetrician. As we all know 9 months after the Great Northeast Blackout there was a baby boom. Now you know the rest of the story.

FACT or FICTION? You decide.
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