Investigations: The Backlash from Q-29BW

At the Ontario Hydro-Electric Commission operations center in suburban Toronto, a technician twisted a control handle to the right to raise the voltage. In the next three seconds, the $265 million 16-turbine Sir Adam Beck Generating Station No. 2 (see map) sent 1,600,000 kw. of power careering out of control through 80,000 sq. mi. of the northeastern U.S. and Canada. Thus, at 5:16 p.m. on Black Tuesday, began history's biggest power failure (TIME cover, Nov. 19).

It was no fault of the technician. The disruption began, Ontario Hydro explained last week, when a...

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