A Graph Theoretic Approach to Power System Vulnerability Identification

Reetam Sen Biswas, Anamitra Pal, Trevor Werho, Vijay Vittal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


During major power system disturbances, when multiple component outages occur in rapid succession, it becomes crucial to quickly identify the transmission interconnections that have limited power transfer capability. Understanding the impact of an outage on these critical interconnections (called saturated cut-sets) is important for enhancing situational awareness and taking correct actions. This paper proposes a new graph theoretic approach for analyzing whether a contingency will create a saturated cut-set in a meshed power network. A novel feature of the proposed algorithm is that it lowers the solution time significantly making the approach viable for real-time operations. It also indicates the minimum amount by which the power transfer through the critical interconnections should be reduced so that post-contingency saturation does not occur. Robustness of the proposed algorithm for enhanced situational awareness is demonstrated using the IEEE-118 bus system as well as a 17,000+ bus model of the Western Interconnection (WI). Comparisons made with different approaches for power system vulnerability assessment prove the utility of the proposed scheme for aiding power system operations during extreme exigencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9144487
Pages (from-to)923-935
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Graph theory
  • network flow
  • power system disturbances
  • power system vulnerability
  • saturated cut-set

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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