DOUBLE DRICK II
August 14, 2003 Northeast Power Blackout
It looks like DOUBLE DRICK* all over again.
It's an instant replay of the November 9, 1965 northeast blackout in almost exact detail, except for the localities
affected. Even the suspected location of the start of the outage is nearly the same.
No UFO reports this time. Much time was wasted looking for UFO causes of the 1965 blackout.
Read my page on the REAL CAUSE of the original 1965 blackout at:
Solving the 1965 northeast blackout.
Guess what? The same thing happened again!
THE CAUSES OF THE EVENT
The main causes of the 8/14/2003 blackout were found to be:
- The planned loss of two power plants, and the unplanned loss of one plant in the Cleveland OH area.
- The shutdown of phase-correcting capacitors in the Cleveland area for "inspection" (A local government
- Several power lines, overloaded by the above two conditions, heated up, sagged into untrimmed trees, and tripped out.
- A cascade of surges and generators getting out of phase caused many protective devices to trip, as illustrated in:
A SOLUTION FOR THE 2003 NORTHEAST BLACKOUT
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT THIS?
How can such power-grid shutdowns be prevented, and what can be done to stop them from spreading? Here are some
- Disconnect all grid links that are not actually needed for the power being transferred at the moment. This will confine any
blackout to a smaller area.
- Keep the trees trimmed. Arrest the environmentalists who object.
- Don't run close to capacity. Make sure there is plenty of reserve power available.
- Don't schedule plant shutdowns during peak demand dates.
- Instead of merging power from different generators, build substations that are able to switch loads from one generator
to another as needed to handle the total power demanded.
- Place phase compensation capacitors at the load itself, so they are switched in and out by the load as it starts and
stops. This will remove many phase disturbances from the grid. But because they become private property, they might not be
as well maintained.
- Monitor the reactive power coming out of high-demand customers, and charge them for it. This will cause them to put
in their own compensation capacitors and to maintain them in good working order.
- If a generator drops out of phase too far (relative to the grid), trip the grid connection, but keep the local
substation load on that generator, rather than tripping out the entire generator.
- In all but short-circuit conditions, first shed or divert part of the load to relieve an overload, rather than tripping
out the entire circuit.
- Build enough power plants that long-distance power transmission is not needed as much.
- Build enough redundancy into the system, so that the loss of a power transmission line or a generator does not strain
other generators or power lines to their limits.
- Don't let government demands for inspections remove vital components when they are needed. Reschedule the inspection
for a low-demand period (such as at night, or on a cooler day). The schedule of a government inspector is not as important
as keeping the system operating. Get rid of the idea that government always comes first.
- Keep government out of it. Nothing can make something more failure prone than government regulation (as shown by the
demand for an inspection during the highest power demand time). Just because government wants to do something does not
make it the right thing to do. Very often, it turns out to be the very thing that should NOT have been done.
* What's a DOUBLE DRICK?
In 1966, an episode of the TV show "Green Acres" made fun of the printed comic-book sound effects on the TV
show "Batman" (with Adam West). The Douglas farm generator always quit working any time they
"plugged in an 8." Then the caption "DRICK!" appeared on the screen.
Oliver Douglas numbered the appliance cords from 1 to 7 according to how much load each appliance drew, and told Lisa to
never plug in a total of 8. The generator went "DRICK!" again a few minutes later. Lisa responded,
"2 plus 7 is 9, not 8."
They decided to try to get the power company to bring power to the rural farms of Hooterville. The company installed a
duplex outlet up on their utility pole, right next to where the telephone company had put the telephone. The Douglases ran
an extension cord down into the house. Then Lisa plugged in an 8 again, and the following caption appeared on the screen:
"On November 9, 1965, an unexplained power blackout occurred over most of the northeastern United States. Here's
what really happened:"
The screen went blank, then read:
- SOLVING THE 1965 NORTHEAST BLACKOUT
- A SOLUTION FOR THE 2003 NORTHEAST BLACKOUT
- IDENTIFYING UFOs MENU