But this wasn’t the first time a major power outage has hit the city on the exact same date. In 1977, in the beginning of a stifling heat wave, a 25-hour blackout sent the city into havoc.
During the blackout decades ago, people did not help guide traffic and take it in stride — like they did Saturday. Back then, a crime rampage broke out as people filled the pitch-black streets, looting and setting stores ablaze.
In the span of one day, there were close to 3,000 arrests, a study commissioned by the division of Electric Energy Systems and the Department of Energy states.
“In the areas hit worst by the looting and vandalism, the vast amount of refuse, garbage and spoiled food required the addition of 82 sanitation trucks and 4,000 workers to cope with the clean-up operation,” the study says.
Back then, the system collapsed for several reasons
The 1977 blackout was caused by a combination of events.
Thunderstorms raining over the city that night triggered malfunctions in the Con Edison system, which eventually blacked out. Con Edison’s system collapsed from a combination of natural events, equipment malfunctions, questionable system design features and operating errors, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
That blackout had an estimated cost of $350 million, according to the study.