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Underfrequency load shedding is one of the most important protection systems, as in many cases it represents the last chance to prevent a system blackout after a serious disturbance occurs in a power system. In order to improve traditional schemes, many efforts have been concentrated on attempts to use the frequency gradient as an indicator for determining the lack of active power in a system. This paper concentrates on analyzing the factors that influence the gradient. Analyses have shown that the gradient can give misleading information about the active-power deficit, as long as certain factors are ignored or assumed to be constant. A draft of a gradient-based underfrequency load-shedding scheme is presented, which also highlights the problems associated with the use of gradient. On the one hand, a frequency gradient alone does not appear to be sufficient for the active-power deficit estimation. Nevertheless, for the actual load-shedding procedure it is found to be very useful.