Regulators Push New Tools for Preventing Massive Blackouts

A decade ago, a power failure in northern Ohio caused a cascading series of outages that knocked out power to 50 million people in the United States and Canada. New tools aim to reduce the chances that such events could happen in the future.

"After the lights went out for 50 million people from the Northeast to the Midwest on Aug. 14, 2003, investigators found readings from two obscure instruments that would have given them an hour’s warning — plenty of time to solve the problem if the devices had been wired to provide a stream of critical data," writes Matthew L. Wald. 

"Now, a decade after the largest blackout in American history, engineers are installing and linking 1,000 of those instruments, called phasor measurement units, to try to prevent another catastrophic power failure. When the work is done, the engineers say, they will have a diagnostic tool that makes the old system seem like taking a patient’s pulse compared with running a continuous electrocardiogram."

Full Story: New Tools for Keeping the Lights On

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