Some reflections from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC):
On August 14, 2003, the North American electric grid experienced the largest blackout in its history, leaving over 50 million people across Southeastern Canada and the Northeastern U.S. without power. On this, the event’s fifth anniversary, North American Electric Reliability Corporation President and CEO, Rick Sergel, highlights the progress that has been made and new challenges ahead for ensuring reliability:You can read more of the upgrades to the grid here. Funny enough, if you go the Wikipedia page, you can read who was blaming who for the cause of the outage just after it happened. Canadians blamed Americans, New Yorkers blamed Canadians, and all the while it was several trees in Ohio that triggered the whole event.
“In the mid-afternoon of August 14, 2003, the electric system reached a breaking point: trees contacted four separate transmission lines in Ohio – quickly taking the lines out of service; automatic controls sensed the disturbance and unnecessarily took additional lines out of service; failed computer systems left operators with inaccurate system information for hours before being addressed; and grid monitoring tools were not able to assess conditions quickly enough for operators to react.
“With the support and oversight of its stakeholders in industry and government, NERC has worked to fundamentally change the situation that allowed this catastrophic event to occur by developing mandatory reliability standards, enforcing zero-tolerance policies, leading extensive reviews of electric system components, and developing new reliability tools. As a result of these efforts, I can confidently say that the events that led to the 2003 blackout are now much less likely to recur.”