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The power system is changing rapidly due to the wide integration of renewable energy sources. In order to ensure a secure energy supply in the future power system (smart grid) the current laws, rules and standards concerning measures in critical system states to save or re-establish the system need to be examined. In this paper the authors provide a definition of critical states in the electric power system and describe measures to react in critical states or to prevent system instability based on current rules in Europe and Germany. The study aims to identify the demand for standardization in this area.