Brighter Night Seen for Many Post-Blackout

With power recovering after the biggest blackout in U.S. history, investigators are vowing to find answers, some officials are pointing fingers, and critics — including President Bush and a former energy secretary — are calling for a fix of America's "Third World" electrical grid.

Electricity returned today to many previously dark parts of New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Connecticut and Vermont, though some suppliers imposed rolling blackouts to control electricity use as service came back.

Power had been restored to all of New York City as of 9:03 p.m. ET, Con Edison said. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said all Broadway shows and a New York Mets baseball game were going on as scheduled after cancellations Thursday night.

More Darkness

However, some areas continued without any power at all.

Michigan officials warned parts of the state could be without electricity over the weekend. In Detroit, one of the state's worst-hit areas, some traffic lights began turning on shortly before 4 p.m. ET. Five hours later, the city's skyline was fully illuminated again.

After some looting incidents Thursday night, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said authorities would strictly enforce a curfew tonight for minors under 16.

"The party has to happen in your homes tonight," Kilpatrick said. "Let's learn to love one another a little bit more. Let's get to know our family members. All special events in the city of Detroit are canceled. There's no festival downtown, there aren't any concerts. Stay home."

Detroit and Cleveland were recovering from water-pumping problems that left supplies short. The National Guard delivered water tankers to Cleveland, and residents of both cities were advised to boil drinking and cooking water.

Sewage accidentally escaped into New York and Cleveland waterways when the power went off, and officials warned people against swimming.

New York City remained without subway service, which was expected to resume Saturday, though commuter train lines had partial service.

New Yorkers endured darkness Thursday night largely without widespread disorder, such as that spawned by an infamous blackout in 1977. There was a heat-related death, scattered looting reported in Brooklyn, and an increase in fires, largely attributed to candle use. But the 750 arrests in New York over a 24-hour period roughly following the loss of power were slightly down from the norm of about 800.

"New Yorkers showed that the city that burned in the 1970s when facing similar circumstances is now a very different place," Bloomberg said.

In Canada's capital, Ottawa, authorities reported two possible blackout-related deaths, as well as 23 cases of looting during the blackout, The Associated Press said. Toronto reported 114 cases of looting overnight Thursday.

‘We Need to Figure Out What Went Wrong’

Speaking to reporters in California today, President Bush said the blackout served as a "wake-up call" for a better national energy policy and an upgrade of the nation's "antiquated" power grid.

"The grid needs to be modernized, the delivery systems need to be modernized," he told reporters during a visit to the Santa Monica mountains.

He did not provide details about a modernization plan or its likely costs.

While hailing the response of people in affected areas, Bush warned that it would take some time to figure out what went wrong.

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