The Blackout: Can it Happen Again?
By Steve Kiesner Director of National Accounts, Edison Electric Institute | October 28, 2008
The result is greater congestion on the lines. This can lead to higher power prices for hotels and all customers. It also stresses the electric system, which creates the potential for reliability problems.
Federal legislation is needed to address these issues. The nation's electric companies encourage the hotel industry to support it.
The nation's transmission "grid" is really three grids: the Eastern Interconnection, which connects the Eastern seaboard and the Plains states and Canadian provinces; the Western Systems Coordinating Council Interconnection, which includes the Pacific coast and the Mountain states and provinces; and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates within Texas.
Each grid transmits electricity from generating plants to population centers within its region. From there, low voltage power lines distribute the electricity to homes and businesses. About 12 percent of all power lines in the country are high voltage transmission lines.
The interconnected nature of each transmission network improves system reliability. It benefits electric utilities by giving them alternative paths to move electricity to wherever it is needed. As was the case in the August 2003 blackout, however, this interconnected approach also brings with it the risk that a local problem could cascade into a regional one.