BOX 5.1

Sequence of Events During October 2003 Storm Illustrating Power Grid Operators’ Response to Evolving Geomagnetic Storm and Space Weather Warnings

Tuesday October 28, 2003

  • 07:37 hrs (EST) - SEC reports − X-ray event exceeded X10

  • 12:08 hrs (EST) - SEC reports − Extended Warning: Geomagnetic K index of 4 expected

  • 13:04 hrs (EST) - SEC reports − Extended Warning: Geomagnetic K index of 4 expected

  • 16:39 hrs (EST) - SEC reports − Watch: Geomagnetic A index of 100 or greater predicted

  • 22:55 hrs (EST) - SEC reports − Warning: Geomagnetic K index of 5 expected

Wednesday October 29, 2003

  • 01:31 hrs - Maine, Chester SVC reports Level 2 ground-induced-current alarms

  • 02:09 hrs - SEC reports − Warning: Geomagnetic K index 6 expected (3rd party forecaster predicted K8)

  • 02:15 hrs - Maine, Chester SVC reports Level 3 ground-induced-current alarms

  • 02:15 hrs - ISO New England

    • Implemented M/S # 2 Abnormal Conditions Operating Procedure for all New England effective for next 24 hours due to SMD activity. (Implementation of this Operating Procedure authorizes the New England system operator to assume an emergency condition defensive posture to protect the reliability of power system)

    • Cancelled scheduled 345-kV circuit breaker maintenance at nuclear plants in Vermont and Connecticut.

  • 02:17 hrs - Quebec limiting exports to New England due to SMD activity in the Nicolet area of Montreal. (System operator had already begun to add generators to network.)

  • Both New England HVDC converter station imports limited to >40% to <90% of normal rating

  • New Brunswick imports are limited to 600 MW maximum.

  • ISO re-dispatching New England area generation to cover load demand

  • 02:23 hrs - SEC reports − Alert: Geomagnetic K index 7 or greater expected

  • 02:49 hrs - SEC reports − Alert: Geomagnetic K index 7

  • 03:45 hrs - SEC reports − Alert: Geomagnetic K index 8

  • 03:55 hrs - Maine, SVC reports Level 4 ground-induced-current alarms

  • 04:41 hrs - SEC reports Alert: Geomagnetic K index of 9

  • 07:28 hrs - SEC reports Alert: Geomagnetic K index of 7

  • 09:26 hrs - Maine, SVC reports Level 3 ground-induced-current alarms locked with chattering, Level 4-induced current alarm spikes

  • 09:54 hrs - Vermont HVDC imports from Quebec being reduced to below 185 MW due to increased SMD activity

  • 09:58 hrs - Maine, SVC reports Level 4 ground-induced-current alarms

  • 10:07 hrs - Ontario − reports voltage and MW swings observed at the Bruce Nuclear Units on Lake Huron and Pembrooke region

  • 10:07 hrs - Ontario − reports Mountain Chute Unit #2 tripped (Pembrooke region)

  • 10:07 hrs - Ontario − reports Bruce Nuclear Units reducing VAR output to stabilize

  • 10:14 hrs - Maine, SVC reports Level 2 ground-induced-current alarms



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