Session 6. - New York State Reliability Council

Session 6.
The Great Blackouts
Governor of NJ following 1967
PJM Blackout
“I don’t care what you do or how you do
it, but don’t ever let this happen
NOVEMBER 9, 1965
The Mother of all Blackouts – aka the “good” blackout
• Involved all/parts of Ont., NY & NE – 30 million people
• Caused by incorrectly set overcurrent relays in Ontario
• Classic case of transient instability
• Complete system separation occurred in about 7 sec.
• Load restoration took up to 13 hrs.
• Lessons: Need for good planning & operating criteria
Need for cooperation & coordination
Led to formation of NPCC, NYPP, NEPOOL
Devices to facilitate system restoration
Automatic Underfrequency Load Shedding
June 5, 1967
PJM Interconnection
Involved most of Middle Atlantic states (except New York) –
13 million people
• Scheduled switching of 230 kV line not performed
• Line overloaded, sagged, tripped
• Caused overloads on other circuits to overload and trip
• System stabilized @ 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, 1977
Con Ed
• New York City, some northern suburbs
• Thunderstorms tripped most of Con Ed ties to the north
• Con Ed SO didn’t realize state of system – then waited
too long to attempt manual load shedding (and when he
finally did, it didn’t work)
• Load restoration took up to 24 hrs.
• Automatic Underfrequency Load Shedding worked, but
didn’t 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, 1996
Western Interconnection
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 Idaho.
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!”
August 14, 2003
Real Causes
Partition of the system, diffusion of responsibility
• 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 information.”
• Cf: “Disconnected Policymakers,” Gerald
A. Norlander (of PULP), The Electricity
Journal, Aug./Sept. 2001
• Beam me up, Scotty – there’s 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. capability
Need to see key flows on other systems
Need to know effects of key outages on TTCs
Timely information sharing
State-of-the-art control room displays & applications
Myths of Shakespeare’s 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 same
Myths About the Grid
1. “Third World Grid” (Gov. Richardson)
2. It’s not about “deregulation”
3. More transmission = greater reliability
4. Need standards (criteria) that are
5. Replace today’s “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 wouldn’t have been a 580,000 MW
grid in the first place.
• “This was a First World Blackout”
(Slate magazine).
• Raises the question: are present grids too
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 competition.
• Physics forced into econometric models.
• Deregulation … isn’t !!
3. More Transmission = Greater
It’s 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 Reliable
• 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 …?
Loehr’s 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 there’s the problem of your neighbor….
• Note: NERC standards now being made less
Less Stringent Standards?!
NERC Requirement
Reserves on
Reserves refreshed
10 min.
30 min.
15 min.
105 min.
Transmission transfer
limits (FAC 008 thru
013) (aka Std. 600)
single cont.,
multiple element
single element only
(ballot soon)
Floor or Ceiling
NERC = minimum
NERC = absolute
(DOE Blackout Report and FERC statement support “floor”)
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 line
But, all the user needs to know it the TTC
5. “Smart” Grid
Myth: Today’s “dumb” electric grid must be
transformed into a smart, self-healing,
digital, internet-like grid.
Reality: Blackouts as often as my server
goes down?!
Needs to be seriously looked at … but …
Be vewy vewy careful (Elmer Fudd) –
over-complication can lead to lower
6. Properly Structured Markets
Will Take Care of Everything
When the Laws of Physics and the Laws of
Economics Collide …
Physics Always Wins!
Kirchhoff’s Laws
No economic theory, no legislation, no gov’t.
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. It’s 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
• 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
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 Tolkien’s 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,
Nothing but spin!
11. “We Stopped the Spread of
the Blackout!” (a.k.a. PJM)
System doesn’t work that way.
’50s Sci Fi flick, The Blob.
Instability occurs in seconds.
Function of system configuration, pre-conditions,
nature of contingency, Kirchhoff’s Laws.
• Kirchhoff’s 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 Kirk.”
Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott
(a.k.a. recently deceased actor
James Doohan)
“Till Birnam Wood to
Dunsinane Shall Come”
• Macduff’s army cuts trees from
Birnum Wood to use as camouflage.
• Macduff is a Caesarean birth (not
“born” of woman).
• In the end, Lady Macbeth goes mad,
and Macbeth is killed by Macduff.
• Sometimes things do work out !
Joe Farace – columnist
“I haven’t lost my mind, it’s backed up
on a disk somewhere.”
Deep Thoughts
• So what should we do when we see some
of these things?
• 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
• 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
• 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
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. Loehr
[email protected]
American Education Institute (AEI)

similar documents