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TAYLOR, MI-It was all because of a few tree limbs and a simple software glitch. An alarm system bug in the control room of an Ohio energy company helped to transform what should have been a small-scale local outage into a cascade of system failures that led to 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 removed from the catastrophic effects of Superstorm Sandy, which blasted the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to the tune of $68 billion in estimated damages—many real estate professionals have learned the hard way just how damaging power interruptions can be to businesses and properties.

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