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This was part of the 2003 North East Blackout


>The blackout's primary cause was a software bug in the alarm system at the control room of FirstEnergy, an Akron, Ohio–based company, which rendered operators unaware of the need to redistribute load after overloaded transmission lines drooped into foliage. What should have been a manageable local blackout cascaded into collapse of the entire Northeast region.

Bit of an oversimplification, but I think it was a human error assisted by bad design.

An engineer set the "state estimator" to manual mode at 12:40 pm, then at 1:30 pm went to lunch forgetting to put it back on auto. Half an hour later, a grounded wire set off the first outage and due to the system reporting bad information, a cascade occurred.

They had launched the new power model just a couple of months prior, but I don't think it was a software glitch. For a few more details, see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12476001 and for the full report (238-page PDF) see https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/oeprod/DocumentsandM...

My boss claims he is responsible for this blackout due to an errant tibco message. I can never tell if he is kidding or not, but he has a lot of experience in the power industry so I have no reason to doubt this.

If you dare reveal your HN activity and ask him to comment, I'd love to read his first-hand account.

I asked and either because of fear of prosecution or modesty or hyperbole he said its just a bar story...

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