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Analysis of 162 disturbances from 1979 to 1995 reported by the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) indicates the importance of information systems under the regulated and competitive environment. This paper points out the major deficiencies in current communication and information systems and proposes a new power system information architecture aimed at correcting these deficiencies. The proposed architecture includes automation and control systems at all levels, from substation control system to independent system operator (ISO) operating center, taking into account the requirements of real-time data, security, availability, scalability, and appropriate Quality of Service (QoS). It uses multiple communication channels employing a wide variety of technologies to transmit real-time operating data and control signals. The real-time operating and control system is modeled with various redundancy configurations; the reliabilities of different configurations are studied and compared for practical values of component failure rates and repair rates.