The electricity grid as a test bed for crisis management

© Photo Fraunhofer FIT

Blackouts are rare events in Germany, but when they happen, people are unprepared and the outage causes considerable damage. In the case of a blackout information and communication are decisive factors in restoring power supply. For this reason the INFOSTROM project, which focuses on learning information infrastructures for crisis management and uses the electricity grid as a test bed, develops a security platform that connects all relevant actors, e.g. electricity companies, emergency task forces, fire departments and police. Prototype systems will be evaluated in two North Rhine-Westphalian counties, the more urban Rhein-Erft-Kreis and the more rural Kreis Siegen-Wittgenstein.

Commissioned by SAP Research and PSI Transcom, FIT studies the potential contributions of process support to deal with this type of emergency. We want to work out a methodology to capture and represent knowledge about procedures. Once this knowledge is represented in a formal model, it can be checked for plausibility and consistency. Moreover, the formalized process knowledge can be used to assist decision makers in executing countermeasures. As the step to a formal representation in the style of business process management requires modeling experience, our methodology will support different levels of formalization that allow a stepwise process modeling by the end-user. The modeling process will be assisted by a set of tools that help the end-user in capturing the measures and their sequence, and present different views, e.g. an overview of measures, the sequence of actions or the allocation of responsibilities to agencies.