Our electric power system is not infallible. At times, extreme weather conditions, equipment failures, and human errors have interrupted the supply of electricity. And, as the digital age continues to affect our lives more and more, many find an even greater need for high-quality and reliable electric services. In fact, in the summer of 1999, during periods of extreme heat and humidity, power outages and other system disturbances disrupted the lives of millions of people and thousands of business in various regions of the country
In response to public concerns about these problems these problems, the Secretary of Energy brought together a team of experts to study some of last summer's events. This team – The Power Outage Study Team, or POST – consists of experts from the Department of Energy, the national laboratories, and the academic community. The team examined a number of those events in detail and, in this report, recommends a number of actions that the federal government can take to help avoid future outages. What distinguishes this report from documents of the past is that these recommendations take into consideration a new factor – an industry that is undergoing extensive restructuring.