This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

March 05, 2008

Florida Blackout Strikes a Million Customers

The fragility of the U.S. electrical grid was revealed on February 26, when roughly a million customers in southern Florida lost power after a substation fault caused a massive blackout. Florida Power and Light (FP&L) estimated that 584,000 of its customers lost power, while an estimated 500,000 customers of three other utilities also lost power. The event was triggered by a fault in a substation in west Miami, which quickly spread through the power grid, ultimately shutting down 26 transmission lines, 38 substations, and about a dozen generating units, including two nuclear plants at Turkey Point.

While power was restored to most customers the same day, the widespread nature of the power outage was reminiscent of the power outage that struck the Northeast in August 2003. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) immediately announced that it will investigate the event and later noted that new grid technologies will allow it to analyze the outage more quickly than it could in the past. See the FP&L press release and the NERC press releases regarding the event (PDF 69 KB) and the recovery from it (PDF 62 KB). Download Adobe Reader.