Steve Taranovich at EDN has posted an article outlining the events leading up to the major power grid failure in the northeastern and mid-western US and parts of Canada in 2003. The article includes an actual timeline video and images of the 2003 outage as well as the sequence of events that the Genscape Real-Time North American Power Product (Power RT) captured, recorded, and identified as the blackout was happening.
A real-time power monitoring system can provide a visual and audio indication showing where/when a generator has tripped offline, as well as an estimate of the number of MW that has come offline, the approximate time of the event, and historical frequency event data.
Genscape’s real-time monitors detect the cascade of the 2003 blackout with the loss of Homer City.
From the article:
The blackout's primary cause was a software bug in the alarm system at a control room of the FirstEnergy Corporation in Ohio. Operators were unaware of the need to re-distribute power after overloaded transmission lines hit unpruned foliage. What should have been a manageable local blackout cascaded into widespread chaos on the electric grid.
We will show how such a system [as Genscape's Power RT] alerts users to what and where problems are beginning to crop up and perhaps avoid such catastrophic events in the future.
See the complete article (Power grid blackouts: Are they preventable and predictable?) at EDN.