Power System Connectivity Monitoring Using a Graph Theory Network Flow Algorithm

Trevor Werho, Vijay Vittal, Sharma Kolluri, Sze Mei Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


A method of applying network flow analyses during real time power system operation, to provide better network connectivity visualization, is developed and presented. Graph theory network flow analysis is capable of determining the maximum flow that can be transported between two nodes within a directed graph. These network flow algorithms are applied to a graphical representation of a power system topology to determine the minimum number of system branches needed to be lost in order to guarantee disconnecting the two nodes in the system that are selected. The number of system branches that are found serves as an approximate indicator of system vulnerabilities. The method used in these connectivity analyses makes use of well known graph theory network flow maximum flow algorithms, but also introduces a new algorithm for updating an old network flow solution for the loss of only a single system branch. The proposed new algorithm allows for significantly decreased solution time that is desired in a real-time environment. The value of using the proposed method is illustrated by using a detailed example of the 2008 island formation that occurred in the Entergy power system. The method was applied to a recreation of the 2008 event using a 20,000-bus model of the Entergy system to show both the proposed method's benefits as well as practicality of implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7384772
Pages (from-to)4945-4952
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2016


  • Blackout
  • Entergy
  • connectivity
  • graph theory
  • network flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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