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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Big Apple Gets Back to Work Without a Hitch

NEW YORK -- Financial markets and businesses in New York opened without a hitch Monday in the first big test for the power supply in parts of the United States and Canada since last Thursday's blackout.

Electricity providers urged customers to keep conserving energy on their return to work because power supplies in New York, the Midwest and Ontario, Canada, were still tight as plants downed in the massive outage slowly restored service.

"Subways are working, buses are working, traffic is light, it's a Monday in August, just what you would expect," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on NY1 News TV.

Bloomberg has won praise for staying cool while the heat was on during the Big Apple blackout, but he has consistently praised New Yorkers for their efficiency and orderliness.

"Mainly the people in the streets said, 'We're going to get along here, it's a minor inconvenience, let's not turn it into a tragedy,'" businessman-turned-politician Bloomberg said. The city was hit by rioting and looting in the last major blackout in July 1977.

New York, the most populous city in the United States with 8 million people, lost power for 29 hours starting shortly after 4 p.m. on Thursday in cascading outages that left up to 50 million in Ontario and eight U.S. states in the dark.

The Wall Street Journal reported that business leaders and economists estimated that the cost of the blackout for the entire area could total $6 billion, with retailers and airlines hit particularly hard.

The cause of the blackout, which U.S. grid operators described as the worst in North American history, was still not known. A joint U.S.-Canadian investigation was looking at three power transmission lines near Cleveland, Ohio owned by FirstEnergy Corp.

U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham acknowledged Sunday that the electricity grid was old. He said the United States needs to generate more electricity, make grid improvements and conserve more energy.

U.S. stocks opened higher Monday amid signs that an economic recovery is gaining steam and relief that the power outage did not leave lasting damage to the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average opened up 19.63 points, or 0.21 percent, at 9341.88. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 2.37 points, or 0.24 percent, at 993.04. The technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.60 points, or 0.39 percent, at 1,708.61.

New York's subway system, which carries nearly 5 million people on an average weekday, has been operating since Saturday, but Monday was the first workday with a full load.