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"The best way to trim trees in a transmission line right of way is at the ground line with a chain saw." I think Wikipedia downplays the role First Energy played with the tree contacts. The computer and operator issues were a bunch of human performance issues, and human performance issues will always occur. But the tree trimming practice was a deliberate cost saving action. The other issues wouldn't have propagated if they'd just trimmed the damn trees.

The industry had a lot of changes due to this, though it isn't fair to blame First Energy for that. If it wasn't them initiating it, it'd have been someone else (like APS, WECC and IID blacking out San Diego).

The engineering and physics side of the blackout is pretty neat, and if anyone wants to talk about it, I'm more than happy to. I run power system studies all the time.