Blackout in Florida

Event Year: 2008 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: United States
Industry Type: Power and Utilities

A field engineer was diagnosing a malfunctioning 138 kV switch at Florida Power and Light Flagami substation in West Miami, Florida.  Without authorization, the engineer disabled two levels of relay protection.  The local primary protection and the local back-up breaker failure protection were disabled.  Standard procedure were violated.  Removing two levels of protection is not allowed.  When the switch was opended an electrical arc was generated that migrated to other energized equipment and ground causing a major short circuit.


680,000 customers were affected with an additional two-million plus customers affected in other parts of the state.  Several different power companies lost control of their grids.  It is estimated that as many as four million customers in Florida were affected.  Turkey Point nuclear power plant located south of Miami was affected.  The affected region ranged from Miami to Tampa, through Orlando and east to Brevard County where Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center are located.

Action Description: The Florida Reliability Coordinating Council (FRCC) has made 24 recommendations. Several have already been completed. The first was completed by FPL. Recommendation 1: "Review and enhance as required, present policies and procedures related to removing protection systems from service when performing maintenance or troubleshooting. Note: The interim measures already implemented by FPL addressed this issue. (ref. FPART 1)"