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Preventing human errors in power grid management systems through user-interface redesign

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4 Author(s)
Prevost, M.-C. ; Cognitive Group Inc, Quebec ; Aubin, F. ; Gauthier, Jacques ; Mailhot, R.

Supervising an energy network is a critical and complex endeavor. Decisions are made under severe time constraints and errors can be costly, often resulting in a crippling impact on the network. Furthermore, the dispatchers who oversee these networks must navigate through multiple systems and tools to access the information they need to make good decisions quickly. Thousands of dynamic variables and hundreds of network configurations need to be considered. Energy network supervision is prone to human error because it requires high dispatcher attention and memory load. This paper shows that it is possible, without massive investments in dollars or in technology, to prevent human errors and to significantly reduce decision times by redesigning the user interfaces on the computer software used by the energy system's supervisors. It illustrates how the redesign of an energy transmission protection system user interface through a cognitive ergonomics approach, eliminates the cause of human errors induced by the existing user interface and reduces time to access information by 90 percent.

Published in:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 2007. ISIC. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

7-10 Oct. 2007