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This paper describes a fresh approach to improving operational security measures by identifying the key difficulties that threaten the integrity of EHV transmission grids, namely: it is impossible to predict the limitless multiple contingencies; and the uncoordinated responses that lead to power system breakdown. Focussing on resolving these problems has led to a proposal that uses pattern recognition of parameters changes to identify any threatened cause of breakdown. The parameter changes would not only identify the most affected localities but would also trigger appropriate countermeasures. This "system protection" would automatically adapt to any prevailing multiple contingency to maintain the integrity of the transmission grid, something that existing security measures are unable to achieve. Its implementation would allow higher line loadings, so gaining very large savings in the operation and development of the power system.