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Report: Transmission Line Failure Not Enough To Blame For Massive SoCal Blackout

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(CBS) Tom Reopelle
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SAN DIEGO (CBS) — A federal probe into a massive power outage last year has revealed major coordination problems among electrical grid operators that went beyond any single-source failure.

KNX 1070′s Tom Reopelle reports the findings shed some light on a blackout that left 2.7 million customers in Southern California, Arizona and Baja California without electricity.


Regulators with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) blamed a lack of planning and operating in an unsecured state for the outages last September.

“Several transmission operators did not know that over 600 megawatts of generation in a key location was out for maintenance, and did not reflect this in their planning studies,” said Heather Polzin of the FERC office of enforcement.

Utility officials previously said an employee’s work on a transmission line in Arizona started the chain of events, but that conclusion was undermined by the new report, which denied that event alone could trigger such a massive blackout.

Operators may have avoided cascading blakouts with more effective analysis of real-time information that may have allowed them to reduce their energy load or dispatch additional generation to prevent a more widespread outage, regulators said.

Click here to read the full report.

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