As power system loading increases, larger blackouts due to cascading outages become more likely. We investigate a critical loading at which the average size of blackouts increases sharply to examine whether the probability distribution of blackout sizes shows the power tails observed in real blackout data. Three different models are used, including two simulations of cascading outages in electric power transmission systems. We also derive and use a new, analytically solvable model of probabilistic cascading failure which represents the progressive system weakening as the cascade proceeds.

%P 10 %8 01/2002 %R 10.1109/HICSS.2002.993975