DOE Power Outage Study

Power Outage Study Team (POST) Releases Interim Report

Bill Richardson initiated this effort last summer, on the heels of the various outages around the country. The team was assembled during September and went through its paces, coordinated by Paul Carrier in DOE headquarters. There’s no direct connection to the CERTS effort, though many of the same people are involved. The press release below explains all the key elements. In particular, note the workshops later this month, and the availability of the interim report in hard copy and on line. The team’s website was turned on 2 days ago, and has all the information:

Contact: Paul Carrier, 202-586-5659,

DOE PRESS RELEASE January 4, 2000

Energy Department Team Examines Summer Outage Problems in the U.S. Electric Power System

Power Outage Study Team Releases Interim Report

U.S. Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson today received an Interim Report on the department’s investigation of the power outages and disturbances that occurred last summer. The high temperatures and heavy demand strained electric systems, affecting millions of people and businesses.

“The lessons that we learned as industry and government worked together preparing for the Y2K rollover were a good step toward achieving a more reliable electric grid,” Secretary Richardson said. “However, Congress needs to pass the administration’s electricity competition legislation in order to address many of the uncertainties that exist as the industry transitions to a new restructured environment.”

The investigation’s findings warn that while the electricity industry is undergoing fundamental change, the necessary operating practices, regulatory policies, and technological tools for dealing with those changes are not yet in place to assure an acceptable level of reliability. A significant increase in electricity use, especially during times of peak demand, is stressing the electric system.

The team of academics and departmental experts, formed last September as part of the Secretary’s six-point initiative to address electric reliability concerns, investigated outages in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, the Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) Peninsula, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and Chicago, and non-outage disturbances in New England and the Mid-Atlantic States.

A final report, to be issued in March, will provide recommendations and will be followed by regional policy-level discussions across the country among industry leaders and federal, local and state government officials.

The team will be conducting a series of three technical workshops to obtain stakeholder input and comment on the Interim Report. The 38 findings detailed in the report have been grouped into five topical areas to facilitate discussion at the workshops. The workshop times, locations and primary topics are:

January 20
San Francisco, California
– Topic 1: Transition to Competitive Energy Service Markets (morning session)
– Topic 2: Regulatory Policy for Reliable Transmission and Distribution ( afternoon session)

January 25
New Orleans, Louisiana
– Topic 3: Information Resources (morning session)
– Topic 4: Operations Management and Emergency Response (afternoon session)

January 27
Newark, New Jersey
– Topic 5: Reliability Metrics, Planning, and Tracking

All interested parties are invited to register to participate in one or more of the workshops. A registration form is provided on the world wide web at

The Interim Report is also available on that website. Printed copies of the report may be obtained from the Energy Department’s Public Reading Room at 202/586-3142.

Comments on the Report can also be submitted through January 31 via the Internet. These comments, as well as those received at the technical workshops, will help develop recommendations for the final report.

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