Brought back memories of the 2003 Blackout!
At the end of the first day of tests at the Louisville transformer plant, I took a 'scenic' route back to Alliance as I drove through the rolling and tree-covered countryside. While cruising along, I could not help but notice this 345,000-volt line as it crossed the highway. It was just north of here that the epicentre of the great August 14, 2003 blackout was located - taking down about 60 million customers in northern Ohio, eastern Michigan, northwestern Pennsylvania, most of New York state and almost all of Ontario, Canada. Because of my role in the North American transmission scene at the time, I ended up helping to analyze the event and write parts of the final US-Canada Power System Outage Task Force report on the blackout, which was made public in April, 2004.
Due to a combination of lax operational practices by the power company serving the Cleveland area of Ohio, including failure to adequately cut trees growing beneath their transmission lines and compounded by failures of various system monitoring devices in the mid-west USA, a series of transmission and generation outages over a four-hour period was left to go unchecked. Finally, lines began to trip out of service too quickly for human intervention, resulting in a voltage 'tsunami' that tore the whole area apart as the power flows tried every possible direction to reach the Cleveland area. This particular line was at the southern edge of the blacked out area and tripped a few times itself, starting at 3:45 PM as the loading exceeded its capability. The final surge to total blackout started 21 minutes later at 4:06 PM and was all over in about 20 seconds. Notice the lively looking sky in the background - it was not long afterward that great bolts of lightning began to flash straight into the ground! In fact it turned into one of the wildest storms I've seen in a while and 'blacked out' my hotel for more than an hour!