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Shortly after 4:00pm Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday 14 August, the lights went out – literally. The northeastern US and parts of Canada as far north as Ottawa suffered a major power outage affecting approximately 61,800 megawatts in an area covering around 50 million customers. Even as utilities worked tirelessly to restore power to many areas within 24 hours, politicians, industry executives and commentators were already on national television arguing for legislative and regulatory changes in the way the US regulates electricity – blaming each other for the stalemate between Congress, federal and state regulators which has prevented meaningful reform.

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