Utility Trends Creating Electric Grid Reliability Concerns

D.O. Koval, J. Burke (Canada), A.A. Chowdhury (USA), and K. Provost (Canada)



For the past 35 years, our experience has been that utilities have always made a concerted effort to provide reliable power to their customers, i.e., their duty to serve. Manufacturers, too, have competed on the basis of creating better products having better reliability, operability and features. Recent worldwide electricity grid blackouts in the USA-Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, and UK have occurred this year without adequate technical explanations and specific planned mitigating actions. From a consumer's viewpoint the media engages in a "blame game" but are unconscious of the evolving factors contributing to these events today and in the future. It would appear that while reliability and power quality are getting a lot of publicity, no proactive coordinated financial and technical efforts are being made or planned to improve the reliability of these grids, just a lot of talk. This paper addresses fifteen major trends that the authors feel have contributed to the recent Canada-USA blackout and future power grid blackouts. If these trends continue the reliability of future power system grids will be seriously eroded, a concern for society.

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