A control area is like an airport (em too many planes, not enough runways.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, AUGUST 21, 1996 - 8:35 A.M.
On Saturday, Aug. 10, 1996, a power outage left more than 4 million Californians without electricity, prompting the California Public Utilities Commission to conduct emergency hearings. Witnesses appeared from electric utilities and a host of federal and state agencies, including the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Western Systems Coordinating Council.
ON WHO WAS NOTIFIED:
Commissioner Duque: When the first line went out, who was notified?
Mr. Vancoevering: I'm not sure. It's possible that we did not notify anyone.
Commissioner Duque: And when the second line went out, was anyone notified?
Mr. Vancoevering: When the second line went out, it's a possibility that we didn't notify anyone there, also, although Pacific Gas and Electric has data automatically sent to their computer system from ours that has an indication on the John Day-Marion line.
Commissioner Knight: And the third line?
Mr. Vancoevering: The Keeler-Allston line, when that line went, basically, the disturbance was triggered. And within, what, like six minutes after that basically the whole system has broken apart. So when the Keeler-Allston line went, there was really no time to take any action. All events after that were automatic events.
ON PREVENTIVE MEASURES:
Commissioner Conlon: Do we have simulators for control rooms for the control center like we have for nuclear plants and for airplane training?
Mr. Stahlkopf: Most definitely, we do.
Commissioner Conlon: So that BPA has a simulator, and PG&E has a simulator?
Mr. Macias: Yes, I think that's the problem. We have our simulator. BPA has their simulator. Southern
California Edison has their simulator ... [It's like] San Francisco Airport has an air traffic controller, and Oakland has an air traffic controller, and San Jose Airport has an air traffic controller.
Mr. Budhraja: [R]ight now in WSCC we have 38 control areas. In California we have about eight or nine control areas. It'll be like every airline having their own air traffic controller.
Commissioner Fessler: And at some point if the outage is large enough, we're one airport.
ON WHO WAS IN CHARGE:
Mr. Hardy: [S]uffice it to say you've got three federal agencies trying to coordinate: Bonneville on the transmission side reports to the Department of Energy; the Corps [of Engineers] which owns probably 70-80 percent of the generation reporting to the Department of Army; and the Bureau of Reclamation which reports to the Department of Interior, which owns the Grand Coulee Dam and Hungry Horse Dam, and therein lies the challenge for all of us.
Commissioner Knight: So in painting the picture of this spider web that we're describing here, the Army Corps of Engineers or Department of Defense does not tie back to FERC or Department of Energy in any of this, correct?
Mr. Hardy: No.
Commissioner Conlon: Who runs the control area?
Mr. Hardy: We run the control area.
Note: Excerpts show statements by commissioners at the California Public Utilities Commission, and testimony by Darrel Vancoevering, supervising electrical engineer, Bonneville Power Administration; Karl Stahlkopf, v.p., power delivery, Electric Power Research Institute; Jim Macias, v.p. and gen. mgr., transmission, Pacific Gas & Electric Co.; Vikram Budhraja, sr. v.p., power grid, Southern California Edison Co.; and Randall Hardy, CEO and administrator, Bonneville Power Administration.
Source: Public OnLine Group: California Electric Industry Restructuring, operated by EERR (Energy Efficiency & Renewable Resources in Electric Industry Restructuring), at http://eerr.notes.org/california/082196_CPUCelectricreliability.txt
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