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This paper presents a mechanism for developing knowledge based support for real time application of multiagent systems (MAS) in control, automation and diagnosis of electric power systems. In particular it presents a way for autonomous agents to utilize a qualitative means-ends based model for reasoning about control situations. The proposed mechanism has been used in different scenarios of electric power distribution system protection and control. Results show that agents can use local models of their environment and coordinate with other agents to analyze and understand a disturbance situation and choose an appropriate control action. The paper also elaborates on real time interfacing between multi-agent systems and industry standard distribution automation and control system.