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Voltage stability problems have been one of the major concerns for electric utilities as a result of system heavy loading. This paper reports on an investigation on the application of ANNs in voltage stability assessment. A multilayer feedforward artificial neural network (ANN) with error backpropagation learning is proposed for calculation of voltage stability margins (VSM). Based on the energy method, a direct mapping relation between power system loading conditions and the VSMs is set up via the ANN. A systematic method for selecting the ANN's input variables was developed using sensitivity analysis. The effects of ANN's training pattern sensitivity problems were also studied by dividing system operating conditions into several loading levels based on sensitivity analysis. Extensive testing of the proposed ANN-based approach indicate its viability for power system voltage stability assessment. Simulation results on five test systems are reported in the paper.