Congress Searches For Answers To Blackout; Taft Testifies

Lawmakers Promise Change In Nation's Electricity

CLEVELAND - In the wake of last month's massive blackout, Congress is searching for answers.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee convened two days of hearings Wednesday to find out why millions were in the dark. NewsChannel5's Ted Hart reported that Ohio Gov. Bob Taft was among those to testify.

Congress is demanding answers, but Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said people will have to wait a little longer.

"The analysts meeting the other day concluded they still do not have (an answer) ... to the stage that they would consider its release as accurate," Abraham said.

Going beyond exactly what happened and why, lawmakers are promising to include changes in the nation's electricity grid as part of the pending energy bill.

Taft was among those who testified in favor of new mandatory reliability standards.

"We strongly support a regional approach under the supervision of federal standards," he said.

Some Democrats argue that Congress should deal with electric reliability as a separate issue and not part of the energy bill that includes incentives for increased oil production.

"We should stop searching for a solution in Alaska," said Rep. Ed Markey, of Massachusetts. "The problem (is) not in Alaska. The problem is in Ohio. The solution is not above the Arctic Circle, but below Lake Erie."

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