Published by EIA
Today, transmission and distribution lines owned by an individual utility are no longer resources to be used only by that utility. Electrical systems have been expanded and interlinked. The systems now provide the associated transport of electricity on the transmission lines where buyers and sellers may be geographically spread apart.
Close oversight of operations within the three power grids is needed to keep the various components linked together. The interlinked systems now include over 3,200 electric distribution utilities, over 10,000 generating units, tens of thousands of miles of transmission and distribution lines, and millions of customers.
Originally, each generating company was responsible for maintaining its own electrical system safety and planning for the future needs of its customers. Later, voluntary standards were developed by the electric utility industry to ensure coordination for linked interconnection operations. These voluntary standards were instituted after a major blackout in 1965 that impacted New York, a large portion of the East Coast, and parts of Canada.
Now, planning is done in a much more coordinated manner to achieve adequacy of supply, to establish and oversee formal operational standards for running the bulk power systems, and to address our Nation’s security concerns for critical electrical infrastructures. All of this coordination is administered under mandatory procedures set up by the electric power industry’s new electricity reliability organization (the North American Electric Reliability Corporation), with oversight provided by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy.
The National Power Grid
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