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September 30, 2003

Treasury Studies The Blackout

By Gregory Bresiger

Where were the markets when the lights went out? And what will happen the next time it happens?

These are some of the issues under review by the U.S. Treasury. A study by Treasury officials will focus on the critical service providers for the securities markets and how they performed in August's power blackout, which blanketed large parts of the Northeast as well as parts of the Midwest and Canada.

Among the subjects under review are cell phone breakdowns and the interdependencies that financial services have with other industries. These include relationships with the telecommunications, energy and IT sectors. Treasury officials want to find a way to prevent the "cascading effects" of one industry knocking out the securities markets.