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Florida Blackout February 26, 2008

Florida Blackout February 26, 2008

Crumbling American infrastructure caused massive blackouts throughout Florida Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Brother Loki Gremlin By Brother Loki Gremlin
February 29, 2008
  More than six million electric customers were affected when a disconnect switch failed at 1:08 p.m. Eastern Time (18:00 UTC) at the automated substation west of Miami, and another piece of equipment controling voltage caught fire about the same time.

A field engineer was diagnosing the switch when a fault occurred. The engineer had previously disabled two levels of relay protection before starting work. The outage occurred because the fault happened while both levels of relay protection were turned-off which allowed the problem to cascade through the system.

Example of:
  Crumbling American infrastructure
  Republican conservative worldview
  Commons vs. Private Property
Wikinews, February 26, 2008 – Massive blackouts occurred throughout Florida shortly after 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (18:00 UTC) on Tuesday afternoon.
Out of the 4.4 million customers served by Florida Power & Light, Co. (FPL), about 680,000 residents were affected, with an additional two million-plus customers affected in other parts of the state. It is estimated that as many as four million customers throughout Florida were affected, with many different power companies losing control of their specific grids.
  Florida Blackout February 2008

Sources clockwise from top-left: AP Photo, CBS-4, AP Photo, Getty Images
Image: Image Editor

FPL President Armando Olivera said that a disconnect switch failed at 1:08 p.m. at the automated substation west of Miami, and a piece of equipment that controls voltage caught fire about the same time. Neither failure by itself would have caused a widespread outage. The event at the utility’s Flagami substation consequently led to the rolling blackouts. It is still unclear how failure at this site spread, but with power turning off at the main Turkey Point nuclear power plant location, which serves all of south Florida, FPL’s grid shut down as well. It contributed to a domino effect which ended up sapping energy from bordering grids all over Florida.

Police reported several people were stuck in the elevators of high-rise buildings in downtown Miami and several hospitals were running on backup power, although no injuries or fatalities have been reported. The blackouts caused major traffic jams and a few accidents, but the original outage was contained shortly after it occurred. All customers affected had power restored to them by 6:30 p.m. (23:30 UTC).

  Florida February 2008 Blackout Outage Map

Source: Image Editor
Map: Image Editor
Power outages were reported as far south as the Florida Keys, on the original FPL grid, and as far north as Orlando and Daytona Beach, nearly 300 miles (483 km) away on the Progress Energy grid. Most of Miami-Dade and parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties suffered the worst outages.

CNN reported the failure was caused by a field engineer who ignored FPL’s established procedures and disabled two levels of relay protection. CNN quotes Olivera as saying “We don’t know why the employee took it upon himself to disable both sets of relays…The employee realized something had gone wrong, but I think it’s fair to say the employee didn’t recognize the extent or magnitude of the problem.”
  Wikinews – Massive blackouts hit Florida
  CNN – Power restored to parts of Florida after outage
  CNN – Probe: Engineer’s actions triggered Florida blackout
Further Information:
  AP Wire – Power back on after outages hit Florida
  Reuters Wire – Power goes out for millions in Florida
  The Miami Herald – FPL: Blackout started in S. Florida substation
  WFTV 9 – Reasons For Blackout In Central, Southern Florida Remain A Mystery
  Wire Services Photos – Millions experience power outages in Florida
  CNN – Power restored to parts of Florida after outage
  The Miami Herald – Photos

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