2003: Northeast Blackout 171
APPLICABLE REGULATIONS
Seven violations of portions of four NERC policies were the root
causes of the blackout. These violations and policies are listed here. Note
that the exact sections of policies 5 and 9 have been renumbered since
the original blackout investigation because these two policies were
revised in 2004.
Violation 1: Following the outage of the Chamberline-Harding 345-kV
line, FE did not take the necessary actions to return the system to a
safe operating state within 30 minutes.
Policy 2, Section A, Standards 1 and 2:
1. Basic reliability requirement regarding single contingencies. All
CONTROL AREAS shall operate so that instability,
uncontrolled separation, or cascading outages will not occur as a
result of the most severe single contingency.
2. Return from OPERATING SECURITY LIMIT violation.
Following a contingency or other event that results in an
OPERATING SECURITY LIMIT violation, the CONTROL
AREA shall return its transmission system to within OPERATING
SECURITY LIMITS as soon as possible, but no longer than
30 minutes. (NERC Policy 2, 1998)
Violation 2: FE did not notify other systems of an impending system
emergency.
Policy 5, Section A, Requirement 4:
1. Information sharing. To facilitate emergency assistance, the
OPERATING AUTHORITY shall inform other potentially
affected OPERATING AUTHORITIES and its RELIABILITY
COORDINATOR of real time or anticipated emergency
conditions, and take actions to avoid when possible, or mitigate
the emergency. (NERC Policy 5, 2004)
Violation 3: FE’s state estimation/contingency analysis tools were not
used to assess the system conditions.
Policy 4, Section A, Requirement 5:
5. Monitoring. Monitoring equipment shall be used to bring to the
system operator’s attention important deviations in operating
conditions and to indicate, if appropriate, the need for corrective
action. (NERC Policy 4, 1998)
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172 Engineering Ethics: An Industrial Perspective
Violation 4: MISO did not notify other reliability coordinators of
potential problems.
Policy 9, Section E, Requirement 1.5:
1.5. Communication with RELIABILITY COORDINATORS of
potential problems. The RELIABILITY COORDINATOR who
foresees a transmission problem (such as loss of reactive reserves, etc.)
within its RELIABILITY COORDINATOR AREA shall issue an
alert to all CONTROL AREAS and TRANSMISSION OPERATING
ENTITIES in its RELIABILITY AREA, and all RELIABILITY
COORDINATORS within the INTERCONNECTION via the
Reliability Coordinator Information System without delay. The
RELIABILITY COORDINATOR will disseminate this information
to its OPERATING AUTHORITIES. (NERC Policy 9, 2004)
Violation 5: MISO was using non–real-time data to support real-time
operations.
Policy 9, Section E, Requirement 1.3:
1.3. Situational awareness. The RELIABILITY COORDINATOR
shall be continuously aware of conditions within its RELIABILITY
COORDINATOR AREA and include this information in its
reliability assessments. (NERC Policy 9, 2004)
Violation 6: PJM Interconnection and MISO as Reliability
Coordinators lacked procedures or guidelines between themselves
on when and how to coordinate an operating security limit violation
observed by one of them in the other’s area because of a contingency
near their common boundary.
Violation 6 was under the jurisdiction of Policy 9, which at the time of
the blackout was unspecific.
Violation 7: The monitoring equipment provided to FE operators was
not sufficient to bring the operators’ attention to the deviation on
the system (U.S.-Canada, 2004).
Policy 4, Section A, Requirements 1 and 5:
1. Resources. The system operator shall be kept informed of all
generation and transmission resources available for use.
5. Monitoring. Monitoring equipment shall be used to bring to the
system operator’s attention important deviations in operating
conditions and to indicate, if appropriate, the need for corrective
action. (NERC Policy 4, 1998)
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