The August 14th, 2003 Blackout
Submitted for a graduate level course “Power Systems Relaying” on December 6th, 2006.
I am pleased to provide technical documentary of the events leading to and including the outage of 50 million Americans. Relaying and system protection has played a major contribution to the cascade of an outage that could have been contained within one localized area. An overview of the August 14th, 2003 blackout will be discussed in summary. The role of relaying and system protection in contributing to the cascade of outages in other areas will then be discussed in detail. After the blackout, system restoration took coordinated planning and often days to restore all customers affected by the blackout. The restoration and protection issues after the blackout event will also be discussed. The aftermath of the blackout sparked massive government and utility investigations. Legislation passed through Congress granted organizations new roles, responsibilities, and powers to enforce reliability and cooperation of stakeholders and asset owners in the North American power grid.