It was 3:27 a.m. on Sunday 28 September 2003 when all of Italy was plunged into darkness in the most serious electrical outage ever to happen in the country’s history. The incident is clear in the memory of Alessandra Zagnoni, the manager of Terna's North-East Planning Department, who started working for the national transmission grid operator just a short time later with the aim of helping to upgrade the security of the electricity system.
«My experience in the company began thanks to a research thesis. I was enrolled in an electrical engineering course and had chosen power plants as my area of specialisation, and nowhere held as much interest for me and my studies as Terna did. So in early 2004, just after the blackout, I took part in the first studies to review the defence system». 15 years have passed since that thesis, years during which Zagnoni has worked in a variety of roles: moving from the Commercial and Regulatory Department to Dispatching, and finally to her current role in Grid development and planning. She speaks enthusiastically about her previous experiences: «They gave me the chance to acquire the skills necessary for my current position, as the manager responsible for coordinating Development Plan activities for the North-East area».