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NERC Welcomes U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force Final Report

April 6, 2004

The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) welcomes the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force Final Report on the August 14 Blackout. “NERC agrees with the task force that the single most important step that the United States Congress can take is to enact the reliability provisions in pending energy bills,” stated Michehl R. Gent, NERC President and CEO. “We again urge Congress to pass reliability legislation this year,” he added.

Mr. Gent also appreciates the report’s recognition of and support for NERC’s February 10, 2004, blackout recommendations. “NERC is taking significant steps to implement key recommendations approved by its independent board, and additional work to implement those recommendations is under way,” Mr. Gent stated.“ We have recently adopted revised compliance templates and new disclosure guidelines, initiated a series of rigorous control area readiness audits, and will soon ballot revisions to NERC operating policies that incorporate the findings of the blackout investigation team.”

The NERC Steering Group will examine the government report in greater detail and determine how to incorporate aspects of the report into NERC’s action plan. “NERC will work closely with the U.S.-Canada task force to ensure that all appropriate actions are implemented to prevent future cascading blackouts,” Mr. Gent emphasized. In 1997, a NERC Blue Ribbon Panel report laid out the framework for an independent, self-regulatory organization to develop and enforce electric reliability standards. This report addressed many of the institutional issues raised in the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force final report and formed the basis for the pending electric reliability legislation. Since the Blue Ribbon Panel report was issued, NERC has established an independent Board of Trustees, developed a new ANSI-accredited standards development process, and created a Compliance Enforcement Program to monitor and enforce compliance with NERC’s reliability rules. “These changes have positioned NERC to take on the responsibilities and authorities of a strong, independent regulator for electric reliability, but we still need legislation to make this possible,” Gent said.

NERC August 14, 2003 Blackout Investigation


NERC is working closely with the Joint US-Canada Task Force and all affected entities to investigate the causes of the August 14 blackout.  NERC will post significant news about the blackout investigation on this website and issue news updates via email to NERC's Press Release list -- please make sure you register For the latest information on the Joint US-Canada Task Force investigating the August 14, 2003, blackout, please visit their website. 

We also recommend that you contact the affected utilities, regional reliability councils, and independent system operators for additional information and details about this event.  Industry Contact List

"Final Report on the August 14, 2003 Blackout in the United States and Canada:  Causes and Recommendations," U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force, April 5, 2004.

Download by chapter:

(To read PDF files, you will need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

File Type Size Date Description
Acrobat 1,677 KB 03/11/04 Blackout Presentation to APPA, March 9, 2004
Acrobat 3,088 KB 02/27/04 Blackout Presentation to IEEE Tampa, February 26, 2004
Acrobat 129 KB 02/19/04 Media Briefing Talking Points
Acrobat 91 KB 02/10/04 Board Approved Blackout Recommendations - February 10, 2004
Acrobat

50 KB

01/26/04

Summary of Responses to Michehl Gent's October 15, 2003, Letter on Near-Term Actions to Ensure Reliability

Zip File 379 KB 01/12/04 Technical Conference Presentations and Breakout Reports - Toronto, January 9, 2004
Acrobat 22 KB 12/24/03 Industry Technical Conference Announcement and Agenda - January 9, 2004
Acrobat 396 KB 12/24/03 Transcript of the December 16, 2003 Technical Conference
Acrobat 1,229 KB 12/18/03 Utility Vegetation Management Initial Report, Joint U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force - December 2003
Zip File 8,243 KB 12/17/03 Technical Conference Presentations - December 16, 2003
Acrobat 24 KB 12/15/03 Technical Conference Agenda - December 16, 2003
Acrobat 35 KB 12/05/03 Technical Conference Announcement - December 16, 2003
PowerPoint 4,139 KB 12/01/03 U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force Blackout Summary Presentation
Acrobat 96 KB 11/24/03 Hearing Before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
Testimony of Michehl R. Gent, President and Chief Executive Officer, NERC

U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force Interim Report: Causes of the August 14th Blackout in the United States and Canada

Download full report
(PDF file: 4.4Mb)

Download by chapter:

  • Contents (PDF file: 268Kb)
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction (PDF file: 46Kb)
  • Chapter 2 - Overview of the North American Electric Power System and Its Reliability Organizations (PDF file: 981Kb)
  • Chapter 3 - Status of the Northeastern Power Grid Before the Blackout Sequence Began (PDF file: 458Kb)
  • Chapter 4 - How and Why the Blackout Began (PDF file: 1.5Mb)
  • Chapter 5 - The Cascade Stage of the Blackout (PDF file: 959Kb)
  • Chapter 6 - The August 14 Blackout Compared With Previous Major North American Outages (PDF file: 99Kb)
  • Chapter 7 - Performance of Nuclear Power Plants Affected by the Blackout (PDF file: 154Kb)
  • Chapter 8 - Physical and Cyber Security Aspects of the Blackout (PDF file: 73Kb)
  • Appendices (PDF file: 330Kb)

(To read PDF files, you will need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

File Type Size Date Description
Acrobat 4,400 KB 11/19/03 U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force
Interim Report:  Causes of the August 14th Blackout in the United States and Canada
PowerPoint 4,153 KB 11/19/03 PowerPoint Presentation Summary Based on the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force Interim Report
Acrobat 49 KB 11/19/03 NERC Affirms U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force Findings
Acrobat 33 KB 11/19/03 August 14, 2003 Blackout Investigation Phase II -- Next Steps
Power Point 62 KB 10/22/03 Blackout Investigation Organization
Acrobat 162 KB 10/15/03 Letter from Michehl R. Gent, President and CEO of NERC, Concerning Near-Term Actions to Assure Reliable Operations  [ Responses to Letter ]
Acrobat 1,258 KB 09/12/03 Joint U.S.-Canada Task Force Releases Sequence of Events Related to August 14, 2003 Power Outage
Acrobat 190 KB 09/03/03

Hearing Before the U.S. House of Representatives House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Testimony of Michehl R. Gent, President and CEO, NERC

Acrobat 176 KB 09/03/03 NERC Response to Questions Posed by the Honorable W.J. Tauzin, Chairman, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, August 29, 2003
Acrobat 148 KB 09/03/03 NERC Response to Questions Posed by the Honorable John D. Dingell, Ranking Member, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, September 2, 2003
Acrobat 37 KB 09/02/03 NERC Steering Group on Blackout Investigation
Acrobat 131 KB 08/26/03 MEDIA Advisory - DOE-NERC Media Briefing Announced for August 27, 2003
Acrobat 37 KB 08/20/03 NERC Supports U.S.-Canada Task Force Investigating Causes of 2003 Blackout
Acrobat 39 KB 08/17/03 Electric System Update: Sunday August 17, 2003, 5 p.m.
Acrobat 32 KB 08/16/03 Statement of Michehl R. Gent, President and CEO from 8/16/03 Conference Call
Acrobat 49 KB 08/16/03 Power Outage Update [11:00 a.m EDT]
Acrobat 41 KB 08/15/03 Preliminary Disturbance Report
Acrobat 39 KB 08/15/03 Press Briefing Talking Points - August 15, 2003 11:00 a.m.
Acrobat 85 KB 08/15/03 Historical Power Outages
Acrobat 42 KB 08/15/03 Power Outages - Update [6:00 a.m. EDT]
Acrobat 38 KB 08/14/03 Power Outages - Update [12:00 a.m. EDT]
Acrobat 36 KB 08/14/03 Power Outages - Announcement

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