The Nation: CAN IT HAPPEN ELSEWHERE?

Outside New York, there were quite a few cocky power company executives who said about the possibility of blackouts: "No, it can't happen here." There were some who pooh-poohed Consolidated Edison's "act of God" explanation as unconvincing. There were a number who blamed Con Ed's own defects and described with pride the superior safety features of their own systems. Yet on closer consideration, few power executives were willing to say flatly—and publicly—that they could offer ironclad security against the same sort of failure.

Systems from Boston to Los Angeles protect themselves with tie-ins to...

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