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The Great Blackouts


The Great Blackouts. Governor of NJ following 1967 PJM Blackout ' ... If it were a 'Third World Grid,' the 2003 blackout would never have happened. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Great Blackouts

Session 6.
  • The Great Blackouts

Governor of NJ following 1967 PJM Blackout
  • I dont care what you do or how you do it, but
    dont ever let this happen again.

  • The Mother of all Blackouts aka the good
  • Involved all/parts of Ont., NY NE 30 million
  • Caused by incorrectly set overcurrent relays in
  • Classic case of transient instability
  • Complete system separation occurred in about 7
  • Load restoration took up to 13 hrs.
  • Lessons Need for good planning operating
  • Need for cooperation coordination
  • Led to formation of NPCC, NYPP, NEPOOL
  • Devices to facilitate system restoration
  • Automatic Underfrequency Load Shedding

June 5, 1967PJM Interconnection
  • Involved most of Middle Atlantic states (except
    New York) 13 million people
  • Sequence
  • Scheduled switching of 230 kV line not performed
  • Line overloaded, sagged, tripped
  • Caused overloads on other circuits to overload
    and trip
  • System stabilized _at_ 53 hertz
  • Generation tripped on loss of field
  • Entire region shut down

Con Ed VP to George Loehr June 6, 1967
  • Leave it to PJM to be lucky enough to have their
    blackout the same day war breaks out in the
    Middle East.

July 13-14, 1977Con Ed
  • New York City, some northern suburbs
  • Thunderstorms tripped most of Con Ed ties to the
  • Con Ed SO didnt realize state of system then
    waited too long to attempt manual load shedding
    (and when he finally did, it didnt work)
  • Load restoration took up to 24 hrs.
  • Automatic Underfrequency Load Shedding worked,
    but didnt save the system
  • Lessons
  • Contingencies beyond criteria can occur
  • Adequate control room displays essential
  • Pool (or ISO/RTO) must have military authority

June 2-3, 1996 August 10, 1996Western
  • Involved most of Western United States
  • July 2 a 345kV line exiting Jim Bridger
    coal-fired power plan in southwestern WY tripped,
    triggering a second line to trip and a special
    protection system to operate ultimately the
    WSCC system became unstable and broke up.
  • July 3 same sequence began, but was arrested by
    timely manual load shedding by system operator in

July/August 1996 (cont.)
  • August 10 a series of 500kV line outages
    occurred in the vicinity of the Pacific NW-SW Tie
    no attempt was made to adjust flow or even
    modify the transmission transfer capability on
    the Pacific NW-SW Tie led to instability and
    break-up of the WSCC system.
  • Also, many of the generators on-line were set for
    zero VARs (unity power factor).

August 14, 2003
  • O Tempora! O Mores!
  • Cicero

August 14, 2003 Real Causes
  • Partition of the system, diffusion of
  • Small control areas, patchwork quilt
  • Dispersed, fragmented control
  • Lack of military authority bad protocols
  • Poor training, inadequate tools
  • Culture Shift
  • Fundamentalist reliance on markets
  • Cavalier attitude toward reliability in general,
    strong criteria in particular
  • Cognitive Dissonance

Footprints of Reliability Coordinators in Midwest
Patchwork Quilt
  • Types of Super-Entities
  • Regional Reliability Councils
  • ISOs / RTOs
  • Market Areas
  • Control Areas
  • Defense de Overlap !

Cognitive Dissonance (social scientists)
  • Britannia the mental conflict that occurs when
    beliefs or assumptions are contradicted by new
  • Cf Disconnected Policymakers, Gerald A.
    Norlander (of PULP), The Electricity Journal,
    Aug./Sept. 2001
  • Beam me up, Scotty theres no intelligent life
    down here

  • All due to transmission problems
  • Abundant generating capacity lots of reserves
  • Human error often a contributing factor
  • Also, lack of cooperation coordination
  • Inadequate predictive studies
  • Lessons Need for good coordination among CAs
  • Need for thorough off-line studies
  • Need for on-line, real-time TTC calc.
  • Need to see key flows on other systems
  • Need to know effects of key outages on
  • Timely information sharing
  • State-of-the-art control room displays

Myths of Shakespeares Macbeth
  • The witches and the apparition foretell
  • Macbeth will not be killed by man born of
  • Macbeth will not be defeated till Birnam Wood
    to Dunsinane shall come
  • The more things change, the more they stay the

Myths About the Grid
  • 1. Third World Grid (Gov. Richardson)
  • 2. Its not about deregulation
  • 3. More transmission greater reliability
  • 4. Need standards (criteria) that are
  • national/mandatory/uniform
  • 5. Replace todays dumb grid with a
  • smart grid (like the internet)
  • 6. Markets will take care of everything

1. Third World Grid
  • If it were a Third World Grid, the 2003
    blackout would never have happened.
  • There wouldnt have been a 580,000 MW grid in the
    first place.
  • This was a First World Blackout (Slate
  • Raises the question are present grids too large?

2. Not About Deregulation
  • Deregulation/restructuring more players,
    separation of generation from transmission.
  • Led to greater institutional complexity.
  • More (and more complicated) rules regulations,
    additional operating difficulties.
  • Cognitive Dissonance.
  • Culture shift coord./cooperation to
  • Physics forced into econometric models.
  • Deregulation isnt !!

3. More Transmission Greater Reliability
  • Its important to make distinctions!
  • More transmission greater transfer capability,
    thus greater commercial capacity.
  • Tougher, more stringent reliability criteria (or
    standards) greater reliability.
  • To increase TTC, build transmission.
  • To increase reliability, use stronger criteria.

More Transmission Might Make the System Less
  • Adding transmission reduces the transfer
    impedances of the grid.
  • i.e., the system is geoelectrically smaller.
  • New York is closer to Atlanta, Chicago etc.
  • Thus any given disturbance will adversely affect
    a larger area.
  • 03 blackout covered a much larger area than 65
    blackout. The next one ?

Loehrs Axiom
  • Reliability is a function of the standards or
    criteria used, not the amount of wire in the air.

4. National/Mandatory/Uniform Stds.
  • Need national standards but as a floor.
  • Already mandatory some places (NPCC, MAAC, SERC,
    parts of WECC).
  • Uniform standards NY vs. Albuquerque.
  • Must have more stringent standards in certain
  • These must not be subject to NERC.
  • And then theres the problem of your neighbor.
  • Note NERC standards now being made less

Less Stringent Standards?!
  • NERC Requirement Old New
  • Reserves on 10 min. 15 min.
  • Reserves refreshed 30 min. 105 min.
  • Transmission transfer single cont., single
    element only
  • limits (FAC 008 thru multiple element
    (ballot soon)
  • 013) (aka Std. 600)
  • Floor or Ceiling NERC minimum NERC absolute
  • (DOE Blackout Report and FERC statement support

Uniform Standards?
  • Lower TTCs if criteria include multi-element
  • e.g., L/O both lines on a double circuit tower,
    stuck breaker faults, L/O both poles of an HVDC
  • But, all the user needs to know it the TTC

(No Transcript)
5. Smart Grid
  • Myth Todays dumb electric grid must be
    transformed into a smart, self-healing, digital,
    internet-like grid.
  • Reality Blackouts as often as my server goes
  • Needs to be seriously looked at but
  • Be vewy vewy careful (Elmer Fudd)
    over-complication can lead to lower reliability

6. Properly Structured Markets Will Take Care of
  • When the Laws of Physics and the Laws of
    Economics Collide
  • Physics Always Wins!
  • Kirchhoffs Laws
  • No economic theory, no legislation, no govt.
    regulation can change the Laws of Physics

Other Myths
  • 7. The grid is a patchwork of lines built by
    individual utilities without coordination
  • 8. Not built for long distance transfers
  • 9. Its all because of the growth in electrical
    demand (a.k.a. load growth)
  • 10. Two words Vegetation management
  • 10b. We did _____ to fix it.
  • 11. We stopped the spread of the blackout!

7. Patchwork No Coordination
  • Power Pools PJM, NYPP, NEPOOL
  • Regional Reliability Councils
  • MEN, VEM, VAST, etc.
  • Culture of Cooperation Coordination
  • Example HQ-NE Phase 2
  • Major changes to plan
  • Major changes to operating procedures
  • Golden Rule

8. Heavy/Long Distance Transfers
  • Going on for decades
  • Niagara / St. Lawrence
  • PJM / Minemouth
  • Southern / TVA
  • Pacific Northwest to California
  • Four Corners, Intermountain, etc.
  • Quebec to New York, New England
  • MEN / VEM
  • VAST

9. Load Growth
  • Electrical demand has grown steadily since Thomas
    Edison began operating Pearl St. Station in 1882.
  • Through wars, recessions, etc.
  • One exception the Great Depression.
  • 1960s 7 to 7 ½
  • Now about 1 ½

10. I Talk to the Trees.
  • Is it really all about vegetation management?
  • 1971 upstate NY (near miss)
  • 1996 West Coast
  • 2003 Midwest/Northeast
  • 2003 Italy
  • etc., etc., etc.
  • till Birnam wood to Dunsinane shall come
  • rogue Ents from Tolkiens Lord of the Rings

10b. We Did _____ to Fix It
  • Vegetation Management
  • Energy Bill
  • NERC Version 0 standards
  • Reliability First Corp. (proposed merger of
    several regional reliability councils MAAC,
    ECAR, MAIN, perhaps MRO/MAPP)
  • Nothing but spin!

11. We Stopped the Spread of the Blackout!
(a.k.a. PJM)
  • System doesnt work that way.
  • 50s Sci Fi flick, The Blob.
  • Instability occurs in seconds.
  • Function of system configuration, pre-conditions,
    nature of contingency, Kirchhoffs Laws.
  • Kirchhoffs Laws cannot be repealed!
  • Will you be part of it or not? Luck!!!
  • (How are you, Phil Harris?)

  • I canna change the Laws of Physics, Captain
  • Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott (a.k.a. recently
    deceased actor James Doohan)

Till Birnam Wood to Dunsinane Shall Come
  • Macduffs army cuts trees from Birnum Wood to
    use as camouflage.
  • Macduff is a Caesarean birth (not born of
  • In the end, Lady Macbeth goes mad, and Macbeth
    is killed by Macduff.
  • Sometimes things do work out !

Joe Farace columnist
  • I havent lost my mind, its backed up on a disk

Deep Thoughts
  • So what should we do when we see some of these
  • Speak up!!!
  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is
    for good men to do nothing.
  • Edmund Burke (18th Century Irish author,
    orator, philosopher and politician)

New York State Reliability Council (NYSRC)
  • Mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek
    out new life and new civilizations, to boldly so
    where no VAR has gone before.
  • Oops wrong mission!

New York State Reliability Council (NYSRC)
  • Mission promote and preserve reliability in NYS
    by developing, maintaining and updating
    reliability rules/standards/criteria.
  • These must be consistent with all NPCC and NERC
    reliability standards.
  • They must be complied with by the NYISO and all
    entities engaging in electric power transactions
    in New York State.
  • Visit our web site at

American Education Institute
  • Courses for the Electric Power Industry
  • Principles include
  • Jack Casazza, Frank Delea, George Loehr
  • Good questions, reliable answers

  • When the Laws of Physics and the Laws of
    Economics Collide Physics Wins!
  • All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is
    for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke
  • George C.
  • American Education Institute (AEI)