Blackout Watch

System Power Outages

Author: Clare Duffy, ESBI, Ireland

Analysis of system power outages can help us learn and avoiding similar events in the future. If you have information on any blackouts, please e-mail to editor@pacw.org.

20 August 2010, St. Petersburg, Russia
A massive blackout left residents of the former imperial capital in the dark for over an hour. Officials quickly said it was caused by a failure at the Vostochnaya electricity substation just outside the city, which then triggered a breakdown at another station further down the line. St. Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia with a population of 4.5 million, at least half of which were left without water during the outage. This was the largest blackout in Russia since May 2005, when Moscow suffered a power outage which affected about 4 million people.
 
30 August 2010, Kazan, Russia
An explosion at a power station in the Volga region left approximately 80,000 people without power. The incident occurred at the Leninskaya substation, which partially destroyed the three-story building and deprived around one-third of the population of electricity.  Power had mostly been restored the following day and no injuries were reported. Authorities believed dysfunctional equipment may have been to blame. 
 
1 September 2010, Reykjavik, Iceland
A nationwide blackout swept across Iceland at approximately 21:00 GMT. The outage is thought to be one of the most widespread electrical outages in Icelandic history. Sources were unable to confirm the number of people affected, however it was estimated to be at least 200,000. Hot water quickly became scarce in some of the neighborhoods in Reykjavik. Fires were reported at Century Aluminum Grundartangi Smelting plant however no one was reported injured.

5 September 2010, Caucasus, Georgia
Almost all of Georgia suffered a blackout due to an electricity transmission line failure. A spokeswoman for the Georgian State Electrosystem said that a fire in the Ksani area damaged an electricity transmission line which caused the failure of the country's entire system.
 
6 September 2010, San’a, Yemen
Large swaths of the country were darkened after a massive blackout struck just as Muslims were sitting down to end their dawn-to-dusk fast for the Holy month of Ramadan. Millions across the nation were without any power for most of the night in the capital and the southern port of Aden. The Electricity Authorities believe the grid failure may have been brought on by heavy rain and high temperatures, which hovered around 100°F.

8 September 2010, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
A technical glitch at the Sabah Gas Terminal, which supplies gas to three independent power producers (IPP), caused trips in two of the IPPs and triggered a statewide power outage. According to local officials, the glitch occurred at 7:25pm and shut off the gas supply to Ranhill Powerton II (130MW) and Sepanggar Bay Power Corporation (100MW), which caused them to trip. This triggered a 230MW shortfall and forced load shedding in several areas.

11 September 2010, Nagaland, India
The eastern towns of Kohima and Wokha suffered a day-long power blackout after a landslide washed away a highway along with several power lines. According to the local power department, a pylon of the 132KV power transmission line was washed away, causing them to divert the line to another supply transmission line. It was estimated that the work to repair the damaged lines could take weeks.
 
21 October 2010, Washington, USA
A logging truck that crashed into two of Tacoma Powers’ transmission lines was to blame for a widespread blackout that struck the Key Peninsula for more than three hours. Over 31,000 homes and businesses were affected throughout Gig Harbor, Fox Island and the rest of the peninsula. The incident occurred around 4:35pm local time near the Cushman Generation Project Dam. Delays in restoring the power were caused by Peninsula Light’s decision to be cautious and not overload the substations, and instead bring them back online one at a time.

Time and location of the System & Power Disturbances in  2010

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