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762

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Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« on: November 20, 2003, 09:21:56 am »

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103532,00.html

Gov't: FirstEnergy Mistakes Led to Blackout

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

WASHINGTON ? The nation's worst blackout began with three power line failures in Ohio and should have been contained by operators at FirstEnergy Corp. (FE), a three-month government investigation concluded Wednesday.

The report by a U.S.-Canadian task force said the FirstEnergy operators did not respond properly, allowing the Aug. 14 outage to cascade, eventually cutting off electricity to 50 million people in eight states and Canada.

The task force also cited outdated procedures and shortcomings at a regional grid monitoring center in Indiana that kept officials there from grasping the emerging danger and helping FirstEnergy deal with it.

"This blackout was largely preventable," Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham (search) said.

The task force said it found "no computer viruses or any sort of illicit cyber activities" to blame. It also concluced that there was no deliberate damage or tampering with equipment associated with the outage.

Among the faults found at FirstEnergy, however, was a simple failure to keep trees around power lines trimmed.

FirstEnergy, the nation's fourth largest investor-owned utility company, had no immediate comment on the report. The company, based in Akron, Ohio, has maintained that its problems were but some of many in the Midwest power grid on the day of the blackout and that it should not be singled out.

The task force report cites the failure of a FirstEnergy line near Cleveland, follow by problems with two of its other lines, as the "initial events" of the blackout.

The loss of the three lines caused too much electicity to flow into nearby lines, causing an overload. Because those lines not prepared for the sudden increase in power, the system became unstable as the balance between available power and demand deteriorated, said the report.

It said the company's failure to adequately trim trees along the lines "was the common cause" for the lines tripping and said overall FirstEnergy "failed to ensure the security of its transmission system."

Abraham and Canadian Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal (search) released the findings in the 134-page report on the causes for the blackout that spread across eight states, from eastern Michigan to New York City and into Canada.

It was the worst blackout in the nation's history, costing at least $6 billion in economic and other losses. It prompted new calls for upgrading the nation's high-voltage electric transmission systems and giving the government power to enforce reliability standards. Congress is expected this week to complete a massive energy bill that includes, for the first time, federal reliability rules for companies to follow to safeguard the grid system. Currently the industry regulates itself with no direct penalties for violations. The report raises questions about the monitoring of the power grid by the Midwest Independent System Operator (search), or MISO, a group responsible for overseeing power flow across the upper Midwest. The MISO operators, from a control center in Carmel, Ind., were using outdated information and didn't have the means to identify significant transmission problems developing in the system, said the report. That prevented MISO operators from assisting FirstEnergy control operators, who themselves were hampered by a faulty computer and other mechanical glitches. The task force cited both human error and equipment failures, noting that FirstEnergy's ability to analyze its problems was hampered for nearly an hour and a half by a computer failure. From the time the computer failed "to when they began to recognize their situations, (FirstEnergy) operators did not understand how much of their system was being lost" or that their interpretation of events did not reflect the system's true condition, the report said. Abraham said of the hours before the blackout: "A number of relatively small problems combined to become a very big one." The report found four violations of industry reliability standards by FirstEnergy and another violation by the Midwestern Independent System Operator. The industry is largely self regulating and such violations in themsevles would carry no fines. The FirstEnergy violations included not reacting to a power line failure within 30 minutes as required by the North American Electricity Reliability Council, not notifying nearby systems of the problems, failing to analyze what was going on and inadequate operator training. The report said the MISO, the multi-state grid operator, did not notify other regions about the potential problems. While the blackout was preventable, Abraham said "once the problem grew to a certain magnitude, nothing could have been done to prevent it from cascading out of control." The report said the cascade began at 4:06 p.m. EDT when a FirstEnergy high-voltage line called Sammis-Star tripped. "Within seven minutes the blackout rippled from the Akron area across much of the northeast United States and Canada," the report said. In those seven minutes more than 263 power plants went down. Crimmy • Guest Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout « Reply #1 on: November 20, 2003, 01:06:53 pm » Yeppers...take it from an electrician.....the first thing they cut to save money is line maint....the ice storm outages are a prime example... First energy used to have crews that did nothing but trimming around high power lines...to save money..they stopped this and subbed it out to tree contractors.....but this is more expensive it reality..so to save money...they do request less trimming.... It is also MUCH more dangerous to have trimmers do the work instead of trained linemen around high power lines...you dont actually have to touch a line to cause death...the arc can jump several feet depending on humity and the moisture present in a tree... 50kv can cause serious internal injury and death....the luckey ones are killed instantly....no not so luckey ones languish in extreme pain.... Bad news all around....hopefully the legislature will force electric providers to actually do line maint. themselves with quaified personel... ------------------------------------------- As a side note...the most common voltage involved in deaths by electrocution is 110 volts...the most common area is around pools...the most common cause of dwelling fires is faulty wiring.... I detest 'do it yourself" shows that show "unquaified" people working on their own wiring...its not plumbing...a problem with faulty work wont simply result in a mess....it will most likely result in an injury, fire, or death..... Please...if you need electrical work done....let a qualified electrician do the work...it may be more expensive.....but the life you save may be your own...or someone you love.... This public service message brought to you by Local 8 member, Internaional Brotherhood of Electrical Workers « Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 pm by Crimmy » lloyd007 • Guest Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout « Reply #2 on: November 20, 2003, 02:02:14 pm » I agree with ya there. When my parents had our kitchen redon 15 years ago they had all the appliances replaced. The former owner was a do-it-youselfer and had failed to properly ground ANY of these appliances any one of which could have shorted and caused a fire or sparked and hurt or killed any one of my family... Personally aside from house painting any major do it yourself unless you're well experienced is foolhardy AT BEST. Sethan • Guest Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout « Reply #3 on: November 20, 2003, 03:49:47 pm » Quote: It is also MUCH more dangerous to have trimmers do the work instead of trained linemen around high power lines...you dont actually have to touch a line to cause death...the arc can jump several feet depending on humity and the moisture present in a tree... The rule of thumb I was taught was that electricity can arc through air to reach a ground source, 1 inch for every 1000 volts. When you consider that many transmission lines run at over 130kv, that translates to 10 feet. Some transmission lines run as high as 765kv - 60 feet plus. SL-Punisher • Guest Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout « Reply #4 on: November 20, 2003, 03:53:42 pm » Think that's bad? Hell the landlord at my dad's store had some incompetent electrician come in and he managed to run a hot neutral. So 220 volts went through the wall sockets, lights, alarm, everything. 762 • Guest Untrimmed trees caused the blackout « Reply #5 on: November 20, 2003, 09:21:56 am » http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103532,00.html Gov't: FirstEnergy Mistakes Led to Blackout Wednesday, November 19, 2003 WASHINGTON ? The nation's worst blackout began with three power line failures in Ohio and should have been contained by operators at FirstEnergy Corp. (FE), a three-month government investigation concluded Wednesday. The report by a U.S.-Canadian task force said the FirstEnergy operators did not respond properly, allowing the Aug. 14 outage to cascade, eventually cutting off electricity to 50 million people in eight states and Canada. The task force also cited outdated procedures and shortcomings at a regional grid monitoring center in Indiana that kept officials there from grasping the emerging danger and helping FirstEnergy deal with it. "This blackout was largely preventable," Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham (search) said. The task force said it found "no computer viruses or any sort of illicit cyber activities" to blame. It also concluced that there was no deliberate damage or tampering with equipment associated with the outage. Among the faults found at FirstEnergy, however, was a simple failure to keep trees around power lines trimmed. FirstEnergy, the nation's fourth largest investor-owned utility company, had no immediate comment on the report. The company, based in Akron, Ohio, has maintained that its problems were but some of many in the Midwest power grid on the day of the blackout and that it should not be singled out. The task force report cites the failure of a FirstEnergy line near Cleveland, follow by problems with two of its other lines, as the "initial events" of the blackout. The loss of the three lines caused too much electicity to flow into nearby lines, causing an overload. Because those lines not prepared for the sudden increase in power, the system became unstable as the balance between available power and demand deteriorated, said the report. It said the company's failure to adequately trim trees along the lines "was the common cause" for the lines tripping and said overall FirstEnergy "failed to ensure the security of its transmission system." Abraham and Canadian Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal (search) released the findings in the 134-page report on the causes for the blackout that spread across eight states, from eastern Michigan to New York City and into Canada. It was the worst blackout in the nation's history, costing at least$6 billion in economic and other losses. It prompted new calls for upgrading the nation's high-voltage electric transmission systems and giving the government power to enforce reliability standards.

Congress is expected this week to complete a massive energy bill that includes, for the first time, federal reliability rules for companies to follow to safeguard the grid system. Currently the industry regulates itself with no direct penalties for violations.

The report raises questions about the monitoring of the power grid by the Midwest Independent System Operator (search), or MISO, a group responsible for overseeing power flow across the upper Midwest.

The MISO operators, from a control center in Carmel, Ind., were using outdated information and didn't have the means to identify significant transmission problems developing in the system, said the report. That prevented MISO operators from assisting FirstEnergy control operators, who themselves were hampered by a faulty computer and other mechanical glitches.

The task force cited both human error and equipment failures, noting that FirstEnergy's ability to analyze its problems was hampered for nearly an hour and a half by a computer failure.

From the time the computer failed "to when they began to recognize their situations, (FirstEnergy) operators did not understand how much of their system was being lost" or that their interpretation of events did not reflect the system's true condition, the report said.

Abraham said of the hours before the blackout: "A number of relatively small problems combined to become a very big one."

The report found four violations of industry reliability standards by FirstEnergy and another violation by the Midwestern Independent System Operator. The industry is largely self regulating and such violations in themsevles would carry no fines.

The FirstEnergy violations included not reacting to a power line failure within 30 minutes as required by the North American Electricity Reliability Council, not notifying nearby systems of the problems, failing to analyze what was going on and inadequate operator training.

The report said the MISO, the multi-state grid operator, did not notify other regions about the potential problems.

While the blackout was preventable, Abraham said "once the problem grew to a certain magnitude, nothing could have been done to prevent it from cascading out of control."

The report said the cascade began at 4:06 p.m. EDT when a FirstEnergy high-voltage line called Sammis-Star tripped.

"Within seven minutes the blackout rippled from the Akron area across much of the northeast United States and Canada," the report said. In those seven minutes more than 263 power plants went down.

Crimmy

• Guest
Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2003, 01:06:53 pm »
Yeppers...take it from an electrician.....the first thing they cut to save money is line maint....the ice storm outages are a prime example...

First energy used to have crews that did nothing but trimming around high power lines...to save money..they stopped this and subbed it out to tree contractors.....but this is more expensive it reality..so to save money...they do request less trimming....

It is also MUCH more dangerous to have trimmers do the work instead of trained linemen around high power lines...you dont actually have to touch a line to cause death...the arc can jump several feet depending on humity and the moisture present in a tree...

50kv can cause serious internal injury and death....the luckey ones are killed instantly....no not so luckey ones languish in extreme pain....

Bad news all around....hopefully the legislature will force electric providers to actually do line maint. themselves with quaified personel...

-------------------------------------------

As a side note...the most common voltage involved in deaths by electrocution is 110 volts...the most common area is around pools...the most common cause of dwelling fires is faulty wiring....

I detest 'do it yourself" shows that show "unquaified" people working on their own wiring...its not plumbing...a problem with faulty work wont simply result in a mess....it will most likely result in an injury, fire, or death.....

Please...if you need electrical work done....let a qualified electrician do the work...it may be more expensive.....but the life you save may be your own...or someone you love....

This public service message brought to you by Local 8 member, Internaional Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 pm by Crimmy »

lloyd007

• Guest
Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2003, 02:02:14 pm »
I agree with ya there. When my parents had our kitchen redon 15 years ago they had all the appliances replaced. The former owner was a do-it-youselfer and had failed to properly ground ANY of these appliances any one of which could have shorted and caused a fire or sparked and hurt or killed any one of my family...

Personally aside from house painting any major do it yourself unless you're well experienced is foolhardy AT BEST.

Sethan

• Guest
Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2003, 03:49:47 pm »
Quote:

It is also MUCH more dangerous to have trimmers do the work instead of trained linemen around high power lines...you dont actually have to touch a line to cause death...the arc can jump several feet depending on humity and the moisture present in a tree...

The rule of thumb I was taught was that electricity can arc through air to reach a ground source, 1 inch for every 1000 volts.  When you consider that many transmission lines run at over 130kv, that translates to 10 feet.  Some transmission lines run as high as 765kv - 60 feet plus.

SL-Punisher

• Guest
Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2003, 03:53:42 pm »
Think that's bad? Hell the landlord at my dad's store had some incompetent electrician come in and he managed to run a hot neutral. So 220 volts went through the wall sockets, lights, alarm, everything.

762

• Guest
Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2003, 09:21:56 am »

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,103532,00.html

Gov't: FirstEnergy Mistakes Led to Blackout

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

WASHINGTON ? The nation's worst blackout began with three power line failures in Ohio and should have been contained by operators at FirstEnergy Corp. (FE), a three-month government investigation concluded Wednesday.

The report by a U.S.-Canadian task force said the FirstEnergy operators did not respond properly, allowing the Aug. 14 outage to cascade, eventually cutting off electricity to 50 million people in eight states and Canada.

The task force also cited outdated procedures and shortcomings at a regional grid monitoring center in Indiana that kept officials there from grasping the emerging danger and helping FirstEnergy deal with it.

"This blackout was largely preventable," Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham (search) said.

The task force said it found "no computer viruses or any sort of illicit cyber activities" to blame. It also concluced that there was no deliberate damage or tampering with equipment associated with the outage.

Among the faults found at FirstEnergy, however, was a simple failure to keep trees around power lines trimmed.

FirstEnergy, the nation's fourth largest investor-owned utility company, had no immediate comment on the report. The company, based in Akron, Ohio, has maintained that its problems were but some of many in the Midwest power grid on the day of the blackout and that it should not be singled out.

The task force report cites the failure of a FirstEnergy line near Cleveland, follow by problems with two of its other lines, as the "initial events" of the blackout.

The loss of the three lines caused too much electicity to flow into nearby lines, causing an overload. Because those lines not prepared for the sudden increase in power, the system became unstable as the balance between available power and demand deteriorated, said the report.

It said the company's failure to adequately trim trees along the lines "was the common cause" for the lines tripping and said overall FirstEnergy "failed to ensure the security of its transmission system."

Abraham and Canadian Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal (search) released the findings in the 134-page report on the causes for the blackout that spread across eight states, from eastern Michigan to New York City and into Canada.

It was the worst blackout in the nation's history, costing at least \$6 billion in economic and other losses. It prompted new calls for upgrading the nation's high-voltage electric transmission systems and giving the government power to enforce reliability standards.

Congress is expected this week to complete a massive energy bill that includes, for the first time, federal reliability rules for companies to follow to safeguard the grid system. Currently the industry regulates itself with no direct penalties for violations.

The report raises questions about the monitoring of the power grid by the Midwest Independent System Operator (search), or MISO, a group responsible for overseeing power flow across the upper Midwest.

The MISO operators, from a control center in Carmel, Ind., were using outdated information and didn't have the means to identify significant transmission problems developing in the system, said the report. That prevented MISO operators from assisting FirstEnergy control operators, who themselves were hampered by a faulty computer and other mechanical glitches.

The task force cited both human error and equipment failures, noting that FirstEnergy's ability to analyze its problems was hampered for nearly an hour and a half by a computer failure.

From the time the computer failed "to when they began to recognize their situations, (FirstEnergy) operators did not understand how much of their system was being lost" or that their interpretation of events did not reflect the system's true condition, the report said.

Abraham said of the hours before the blackout: "A number of relatively small problems combined to become a very big one."

The report found four violations of industry reliability standards by FirstEnergy and another violation by the Midwestern Independent System Operator. The industry is largely self regulating and such violations in themsevles would carry no fines.

The FirstEnergy violations included not reacting to a power line failure within 30 minutes as required by the North American Electricity Reliability Council, not notifying nearby systems of the problems, failing to analyze what was going on and inadequate operator training.

The report said the MISO, the multi-state grid operator, did not notify other regions about the potential problems.

While the blackout was preventable, Abraham said "once the problem grew to a certain magnitude, nothing could have been done to prevent it from cascading out of control."

The report said the cascade began at 4:06 p.m. EDT when a FirstEnergy high-voltage line called Sammis-Star tripped.

"Within seven minutes the blackout rippled from the Akron area across much of the northeast United States and Canada," the report said. In those seven minutes more than 263 power plants went down.

Crimmy

• Guest
Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2003, 01:06:53 pm »
Yeppers...take it from an electrician.....the first thing they cut to save money is line maint....the ice storm outages are a prime example...

First energy used to have crews that did nothing but trimming around high power lines...to save money..they stopped this and subbed it out to tree contractors.....but this is more expensive it reality..so to save money...they do request less trimming....

It is also MUCH more dangerous to have trimmers do the work instead of trained linemen around high power lines...you dont actually have to touch a line to cause death...the arc can jump several feet depending on humity and the moisture present in a tree...

50kv can cause serious internal injury and death....the luckey ones are killed instantly....no not so luckey ones languish in extreme pain....

Bad news all around....hopefully the legislature will force electric providers to actually do line maint. themselves with quaified personel...

-------------------------------------------

As a side note...the most common voltage involved in deaths by electrocution is 110 volts...the most common area is around pools...the most common cause of dwelling fires is faulty wiring....

I detest 'do it yourself" shows that show "unquaified" people working on their own wiring...its not plumbing...a problem with faulty work wont simply result in a mess....it will most likely result in an injury, fire, or death.....

Please...if you need electrical work done....let a qualified electrician do the work...it may be more expensive.....but the life you save may be your own...or someone you love....

This public service message brought to you by Local 8 member, Internaional Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 pm by Crimmy »

lloyd007

• Guest
Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2003, 02:02:14 pm »
I agree with ya there. When my parents had our kitchen redon 15 years ago they had all the appliances replaced. The former owner was a do-it-youselfer and had failed to properly ground ANY of these appliances any one of which could have shorted and caused a fire or sparked and hurt or killed any one of my family...

Personally aside from house painting any major do it yourself unless you're well experienced is foolhardy AT BEST.

Sethan

• Guest
Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2003, 03:49:47 pm »
Quote:

It is also MUCH more dangerous to have trimmers do the work instead of trained linemen around high power lines...you dont actually have to touch a line to cause death...the arc can jump several feet depending on humity and the moisture present in a tree...

The rule of thumb I was taught was that electricity can arc through air to reach a ground source, 1 inch for every 1000 volts.  When you consider that many transmission lines run at over 130kv, that translates to 10 feet.  Some transmission lines run as high as 765kv - 60 feet plus.

SL-Punisher

• Guest
Re: Untrimmed trees caused the blackout
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2003, 03:53:42 pm »
Think that's bad? Hell the landlord at my dad's store had some incompetent electrician come in and he managed to run a hot neutral. So 220 volts went through the wall sockets, lights, alarm, everything.