August 26, 2003
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today met with the Honorable Ernie Eves, Premier of Ontario, to discuss the widespread power outages that rippled through large portions of Michigan and Ontario earlier this month. The two officials also discussed the Canada-US Bi-National Task Force investigating the cause of the blackout.
"Michigan and Ontario share more than just a border - we share a power grid that literally links us together," said the Governor. "And just like the bridges and tunnels that connect our two countries, we need to work together to ensure that our electrical infrastructure functions as it should. That's why I'm grateful for the opportunity to talk with Premier Eves about how we can work together to prevent a future energy emergency."
Premier Eves has begun an inquiry into the outage and offered to share his findings with Governor Granholm. In their meeting, the Governor shared with her Canadian counterpart the details of Michigan's recovery and relief efforts, including the collaborative efforts of the state, local governments, and the private sector in mitigating the effects of the blackout. Governor Granholm suggested that Michigan's success could be a model in preparing for future contingencies that might require cross-border cooperation.
In June 2002, former Governor John Engler and Premier Eves signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Province of Ontario and the State of Michigan. The Memorandum established a mechanism for increased coordination between the two governments which proved useful in the wake of the recent blackout.
Next week, Governor Granholm and Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman J. Peter Lark will travel to Washington to testify before a congressional committee investigating the power outage. The Governor will deliver the message to lawmakers that, after a cause is determined, their focus must be on strengthening regional transmission reliability standards to prevent a future, large-scale blackout.