German utility E.On says major European blackout was caused by human error [the broken link was removed]
The Duesseldorf-based company said the power outage, which led to blackouts in parts of Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain on Nov. 4, was not caused by a lack of proper maintenance or enough investment in transmission grids and facilities.
The blackout was caused after a high-voltage transmission line over a German river was turned off in an aborted attempt to allow a newly built Norwegian cruise ship to pass safely under it.
That triggered a blackout that briefly left 10 million people without power, stopping trains in their tracks and trapping people in elevators.
Ok, the focus seems to be that we didn’t do anything wrong, just some “human” made an error, which seems to be implied is out of their control. Why would the organization not be responsible for the people and the system working together? Management needs to create systems that work. That system includes people and equipment and process management and suppliers…
E.ON says human error responsible for Nov 4 power outage [the broken link was removed]:
About half an hour later there was an outage at a second transmission line, which ultimately created a domino effect that led to the temporary disconnection of the European interconnected power grid.
The German utility said that all systems reacted in accordance with standard procedures, effectively preventing a complete blackout across Europe.
It seems obvious the process was not well designed if they believe a mistake was made that led to the tens of millions of people being without power. Failing to admit that the process was designed poorly and needs to be improved is troubling. Blaming “human error” does not help or help improve in the future (and is not a way to develop a culture that respects people). And it reinforces the notion that this event is due to one special cause (or 2…). It seems to me, even with this very little evidence at hand, that this is a system problem.