Analyzing Cascading Failures in Power Grids under the AC and DC Power Flow Models

Hale Cetinay-Iyicil, Saleh Soltan, Fernando A. Kuipers, Gil Zussman, Piet Van Mieghem

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we study cascading failures in power grids under the nonlinear AC and linearized DC power flow models. We numerically compare the evolution of cascades after single line failures under the two flow models in four test networks. The cascade simulations demonstrate that the assumptions underlying the DC model (e.g., ignoring power losses, reactive power flows, and voltage magnitude variations) can lead to inaccurate and overly optimistic cascade predictions. Particularly, in large networks the DC model tends to overestimate the yield (the ratio of the demand supplied at the end of the cascade to the initial demand). Hence, using the DC model for cascade prediction may result in a misrepresentation of the gravity of a cascade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-203
Number of pages6
JournalACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventIFIP WG 7.3 Performance 2017: 35th International Symposium on Computer Performance, Modeling, Measurements and Evaluation - Columbia University, New York, United States
Duration: 13 Jan 201717 Nov 2017
Conference number: 35


  • Power grids
  • AC versus DC
  • power flows
  • cascading failures
  • contingency analysis


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