WASHINGTON — Investigators released their final report on the Aug. 14 blackout Monday and said that Ohio utility FirstEnergy Corp. could have prevented the largest outage in North American history by disconnecting a piece of its system in the Cleveland area.
FirstEnergy "did not recognize or understand the deteriorating condition of its system," according to the report of the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force, and the controllable problems in Ohio rapidly cascaded into eight Northeast states and Canada.
The report includes 46 recommendations for preventing blackouts. At the top of the list is mandatory reliability rules to replace the voluntary guidelines that govern behavior on North America's interconnected energy grid.
In a conference call with reporters Monday, Allison Silverstein, an advisor to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Patrick Wood, said FirstEnergy could have stopped the disturbance in its tracks by cutting 1,500 megawatts of service in northern Ohio.