The massive power failure that struck the Northeast and parts of the Midwest this week also delivered a jolt to Congress, where energy legislation has been stalled amid deep regional differences over how best to upgrade the nation's aging electric power transmission system.
Administration officials and Republican lobbyists said yesterday they believed the power outage, experienced in a large part of the country and watched on television in the rest of the country, make it more likely that the energy bill logjam will be broken when Congress returns after Labor Day.
"Nothing shines light on an issue like a blackout," said Ron Eidshaug, a lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Congress who has worked on the energy legislation.
Before members of Congress left for the August recess, both the House and the Senate passed separate energy bills that must be reconciled by a conference committee. Both...