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HBOK 1-501

Title Bright Idea
Author(s) Terry Bilke and John Sinn
Source Quality Progress
Topic Performance Measurement

Data Analysis

Performance Improvement

Abstract The impact of major disturbances to the North American power system is significant. The August 2003 blackout that struck dozens of cities in the eastern United States and Canada cost between 4 -10 billion dollars. That event could have been avoided if statistical process control (SPC) had been used to detect early warning signs. The North American power system is made up of three major interconnections that can be considered independent islands. Each operation is overseen by a balancing authority who shares a common meter with its neighbor. Balancing is accomplished through a combination of computer-controlled adjustments of equipment and facilities. Operators not maintaining balance as load changes occur experience frequency variations from target. SPC can track grid frequency variation and provide signals of adequacy problems and increased risk to the grid. Automated alerts to operators in the event of significant frequency noise would provide time to intervene on escalating events and reduce the overall cost of operating the grid.
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Reference Code 1-501

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