Today’s LiveWire Spotlight examines a NERC analysis of 220 Energy Management System (EMS) events where a latent failure mechanism manifested itself unexpectedly and resulted in a threat to Bulk Electric System reliability.  A precise root cause was not found for most of the events (68) as they arose from a 3rd party (e.g., a vendor or neighboring entity equipment upgrade or replacement).  In those scenarios where a specific trigger was identified, the top root causes were poor project planning and mismanaged corrective action execution; 67 in all.

The loss of situational awareness for any reason is one of NERC’s top reliability concerns.  Severe penalties may be levied if an electric system outage occurs due to an EMS impairment, and it is found that an Operator did not act upon this analysis.