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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Still No Sign Of A Cause To New York Blackout

Aired August 14, 2003 - 18:35   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: As we watch the pictures here of New York City responding, the federal government also involved in trying to find out what happened and how it might help. For more on that, our homeland security correspondent, Jeanne Meserve.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: John, still no indication exactly what the cause of this are, but indications are it is not related to terrorism in any way, as you know.

I've just been talking to individuals at the Edison Electric Institute here in Washington. They tell me that as a result of this outage, 10 nuclear power plants have gone off line. They tell me this is a normal reaction. Because the grid is down, there is nowhere for the power that the plants are producing to go, and so the plants are shut down, taken off line, 10 of them. They say they will be brought back one by one. They have to carefully balance supply and demand, and they will be brought back slowly. They say it will be a matter of hours, at least, before these all come back on line.

The individuals to whom I spoke at Edison Electrical Institute say that the problem appears to be with a high-voltage transmission facility which connects to Canada. Apparently, when you are producing electricity, you have to have a certain level of voltage. That can be disrupted for a number of reasons. It might include an overload. When that happened, there was, as we know, a cascading effect, and other facilities were affected and the blackout grew apace.

As power is coming back on, it will be done gradually, and they will start sort of at the outermost point and work back towards the facility where they believe this happened. This is how they troubleshoot this and will determine exactly how this transpired.

There is a real plea here for individuals in the affected areas to turn off their electric devices. They say that's key. People will get their power back sooner if they please turn things off in their homes -- John.

KING: Homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve. We will check back with you, I am sure, as the night goes on.

As you see from the bottom of your screen there, the New York Stock Exchange plans to open tomorrow. The mayor says the power is slowly coming back on. If you were going to a Broadway show or the Mets tonight, you are out of luck, however. That has been canceled. The shows and the game have been canceled.

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