A new study shows that state and federal regulations are leaving the nation’s power supply vulnerable to failure.
By conducting an analysis of the methods used to determine grid reliability, researchers found that the definition of risks to the high-voltage power transmission system used by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation is incomplete and does not allow the corporation to properly respond to the threat posed by “high-impact low-frequency events.”
Additionally, the study highlights the variability in reliability measurement methods used by state regulators. This make it difficult to assess teh relative strength of the grid even though approximately 90% of outages occur in the state-regulated distribution system. The research, published in Risk Analysis: An International Journal, also points to the expected increase in hurricanes and other extreme weather events as additional risk to the country's electrical system.
Suggestions for grid improvements include changing the NERC’s management framework from a reactive position to a risk management-oriented approach and developing a national framework for measuring and reporting electrical reliability performance on the state level.
Wondering how your electrical grid measures up? Check out the PEER rating system to learn more about your local electrical reliability.