Learning from the Blackouts

Electricity market reform has fundamentally changed the environment for maintaining reliable and secure power supplies. Growing interregional trade has placed new demands on transmission systems, creating a more integrated and dynamic network environment with new real-time challenges for reliable and secure transmission system operation. These operational challenges are intensified as spare transmission capacity is absorbed. The major blackouts of 2003 raised fundamental questions about the appropriateness of the rules, regulations and system operating practices governing transmission system security. Despite the considerable efforts since 2003 to address the weaknesses exposed by the blackouts, it can still be argued that the development of these rules and operating practices have not kept pace with the fundamental changes resulting from electricity market reform. More can and should be done.