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SF POWER: Dec 16 briefing and indepedent analysis

  • From: Sean Donelan
  • Date: Thu Dec 17 19:08:09 1998

For those wondering how a single human error could take down a chunk
of the power grid, it now appears there were at least two failures
involved in the San Francisco blackout.  The original root cause: the
failure to remove safety grounds; and a second failure in the protective
systems.  The second failure in the protective systems is now under

PG&E has added a 2nd backup system to the San Mateo plant.  Exactly
what the second backup system is supposed to do, wasn't clear from
the PG&E statement.

In addition to PG&E's internal investigation, there are now two other
independent investigations by the California Public Utility Commission
and the California Independent System Operator.  This power outage seems
to have struck a nerve.  I don't remember there being this type of
hostility after the double Western States blackouts in 1996.
Sean Donelan, Data Research Associates, Inc, St. Louis, MO
  Affiliation given for identification not representation