Oops! A single worker caused the massive blackout across the Southwest on Thursday night, the power company admitted.
The blackout, which left about 5 million people without power, may be one of the biggest caused by human error…Officials believe the outage, which hit at 4 p.m. Thursday, happened when a power worker removed a piece of equipment at a substation. According to the power company APS, there should have been some safeguards that would have limited the outage in most cases.
“Operating and protection protocols typically would have isolated the resulting outage to the Yuma area,” APS said in a press release. “The reason that did not occur in this case will be the focal point of the investigation into the event, which already is under way.”
It took more than 12 hours for power to be restored for people affected by the outage, an area that ranged from Mexico to Southern California to Arizona.
“There appears to be two failures here – one is human failure and the other is a system failure. Both of those will be addressed,” Damon Gross, a spokesman for Pinnacle West Capital’s Arizona utility Arizona Public Service, told MSNBC.
They’re going to smack the capacitor that had to be replaced on its bottom with a battery cable. Hopefully, they won’t be as severe with the poor bugger who was just trying to replace it.
The fact remains that for systems as critical as this more than simple redundancy is required. Allotting only one person isn’t sufficient – you need someone to say “Check!” Saving chump change and leaving room for a failure the size of a small country ain’t the way to manage complex infrastructure.