Byline: Peter Panepento
Aug. 19--Northwestern Pennsylvania may have escaped the worst of Thursday's massive blackout, which left large swaths of New York, Ohio, Michigan and Canada without power.
But consumer advocates say the region could be vulnerable to future outages if the system that delivers that electricity is not improved.
After all, large-scale outages are common here.
Three times during November and December 2002, for example, the lights went dark along upper Peach Street, Erie County's most important retail district.
Similar outages have hit downtown Erie, Girard and parts of Millcreek since May 2002.
In each case, the outages were confined to one small part of the region's electricity grid.
But the likely …