IEEE-USA recommends grid investment, cooperation to prevent blackouts

To help prevent a recurrence of August 2003's widespread blackout in the U.S. and Canada, IEEE-USA's Energy Policy Committee recently stated that the government and electric industry should increase investment in the nation's electric grid, improve communication capabilities, and provide more consistent operating rules.

11/01/2003


To help prevent a recurrence of August 2003's widespread blackout in the U.S. and Canada, IEEE-USA's Energy Policy Committee recently stated that the government and electric industry should increase investment in the nation's electric grid, improve communication capabilities, and provide more consistent operating rules. The committee made its recommendations to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE, Piscatawy, NJ).

IEEE-USA's committee reported that grid investment may require construction of more generating plants and power lines, as well as looking into new technologies and innovations to improve system reliability. Meanwhile, grid cooperation includes making reliability incentives compatible with economic incentives. Also, plant operators' authority and communications facilities must be sufficient to deal with reliability concerns in a timely manner.

The committee adds that grid coordination requires consistent operating rules and protocols that transcend states' and utilities' boundaries. IEEE-USA recommends that the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) collaborate to establish rules and procedures that ensure system-wide electricity reliability. In addition, IEEE-USA supports legislation, such as H.R. 6, that empowers FERC to create an Electric Reliability Organization that gives NERC the legislative authority to assure the reliability of the complete North American electric system, which includes elements in Canada and Mexico.

IEEE-USA's recommendations were made in response to questions posed by the House committee, chaired by Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.). To read the document, visit www.ieeeusa.org/forum/POLICY/2003/082903.html .





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