Now, for those who don’t know what a blackout is, I wonder what bizarre dream world you happen to live in? Do you burn fearie dust for heat in the winter or something equally deranged? But nevermind the freaks who fail to understand a basic concept of electrical generation, a blackout is a total loss of power, hence the name, BLACKout, the slightly less horrible occurrence is a brownout, meaning a partial loss of power, rather than total.
Blackouts are pretty much always the result of some failure somewhere in the system, like the Northeast blackout of 1965, caused by a safety relay at the Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Power Station, the relay had been programmed poorly and triggered when a significant load happened, mostly due to it being October and Ontario and New York, freezing cold and a lot of electricity being consumed.
That single point of failure, ONE relay in ONE powerstation, caused a blackout hitting some thirty million people, all because one relay wasn’t programmed properly, thanks to cascading failures it was just overload and automatic shutdown after another.
And it takes a while for electrical grids getting back up, if you don’t configure everything properly, the damn thing’ll just shutdown again.
Lesson here? Don’t fuck up your programming, it won’t end well.
The New York City blackout of 1977 is actually totally different, this one was caused by a series of lightning strikes, causing a number failures to pop up in several separate areas of New York City’s electrical infrastructure, however, this wasn’t the true cause of the blackout, not the true cause of the failure:
Problems with communication, apparently the electrical generation company, Consolidated Edison, used different definitions to the term “Shed Load” when compared to the Power Lines management, a matter of amount of load dropped and how fast.
The whole thing just cascaded into all sorts of delightful failure points, Long Island tried to send way to much power through lines that were being adjusted, nobody told them, probably due to a growing sense of panic.
The end result was a total collapse of the power supply of the entire city of New York, except Queens and for reasons “old generator on site” the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, unlike the previous blackout, which had only five cases of looting, this one? Some two thousands, that’s what an economic recession and heat does to you, nobody goes looting in freaking October weather.
Lessons? Make sure everyone’s using the same terminology at all times or CHAOS REIGNS.
The 2012 India blackouts is just fun, essentially just a massive overload of A QUARTER of India’s population power supply, caused by a couple of states power Load Centre being “to slow” to react to the Regional Centre’s orders to balance to load better.
And let’s be honest “to slow” in India means “fuck the central government, we need MORE POWER”, the whole thing was a massive shitstorm of bureaucratic ineptitude and incompetence.
This happens all the time too, hell, it happen TWICE in the same blackout, the first one just a quarter, the next one? Almost half the population, that’s SIX HUNDRED MILLION people without power, basically more than the total population of Europe lost power for way to long.
This is the primary reason why Private Industries in India now have over thirty GV of off-grid power supplies available and planning to add more.
The lesson? De-Centralization might not be a bad idea here, I mean central planning of power is all well and good, but not for a billion people, that’s just not something that can really be managed, not with an infrastructure were people outright steal power.