Monday, March 03, 2008

More on Last Week's Florida Power Outage

For those who have not heard what the cause was:

A Florida Power & Light engineer not following proper procedure was the sole cause of Tuesday's massive power outage that left millions without electricity throughout the state for a few hours, FPL officials said Friday.

...

FPL President Armando Olivera said a preliminary investigation found that not one customer would have lost power had proper procedure been followed. The engineer, who Olivera refused to name, disabled two levels of relay protection, while diagnosing a piece of malfunctioning equipment. When the equipment short-circuited, there were no protective measures in place.

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The engineer was working on a piece of equipment that controls voltage at the Flagami substation in West Miami. While he was diagnosing the problem, an arc -- originally thought to be a small fire -- occurred and melted some of the equipment. Since the protective relays had been disabled, there was nothing in place to contain the problem.

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Olivera said changes in how protection relays were governed are already in place. He also said that once a full investigation is complete, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) would conduct a review of the findings.
According to Annex B of the World Energy Outlook 2006, 25 percent of the world's population had no access to electricity in 2005. While the brief Florida outage was an inconvenience, everyone should recognize that 1.6 billion people live in this world every day without access to the benefits of electricity.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to take odds on those who blamed the outage on the Turkey Point reactors going offline coming forward to admit their error? My guess is those would be pretty long odds.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to take odds on those who blamed the outage on the Turkey Point reactors going offline coming forward to admit their error? My guess is those would be pretty long odds.

Anonymous said...

My question is this: who was the supervisor and manager for the engineer who made a mistake? It's easy to find a scape goat. Is that what this is? problems like this usually happen because of lack of procedures, training and management oversight. It's very rare for one lone engineer to go itby himself and "wing it", but if he wasn't nuclear trained, I suppose it's possible. I just want to see his manager take some accountability if there is accountability to be shared. There are too many scape goats.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind the electric utilities cutting off electricity for a month to radical environmentalists who want to shut down power plants. Both at their homes and their work.

Anonymous said...

The engineer wasn't working at a nuclear station - he was somewhere out in the power grid at a major switching station. When the slow-clearing fault spread its effects outward into the system, the nuclear reactors went down due to the severe effects on voltage and frequency. It is common to let experienced engineers work on difficult problems - after all, they are the 'experts' and he should have known better than to disable the second 'backup' level of protection.