TAYLOR, MI-It was all because of a few tree limbs and a simplesoftware glitch. An alarm system bug in the control room of an Ohioenergy company helped to transform what should have been asmall-scale local outage into a cascade of system failures that ledto the great Northeast Blackout of 2003. In all,approximately 55 million people were impacted across North America,including widespread outages in eight US states.

Today, 10 years after that blackout and almost a year removedfrom the catastrophic effects of Superstorm Sandy,which blasted the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to the tune of $68billion in estimated damages—many real estate professionals havelearned the hard way just how damaging power interruptions can beto businesses and properties.

But here is the hidden truth about blackouts: the historicevents are only one piece of the puzzle. Consider the fact that,while Hurricane Sandy left more than 8.5 million people in thedark, all told almost five times that number were affectedby outages last year. Local and regional outages are commonplace,and they do not have to make headlines to make a dramatic impact:power interruptions cause millions of dollars of annual damage inproperty and infrastructure damage, and lost business andproductivity.

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