It is not generally known by most users of electricity to what extent power system automation is being used - that is until there is a blackout.
All lines and all electrical equipment must be protected against prolonged overcurrent
. If the cause of the overcurrent is nearby then automatically that current is interrupted immediately. But if the cause of the overcurrent is outside the local area then a backup
provision automatically disconnects all affected circuits
after a suitable time delay.
Note that disconnection can, unfortunately, have a cascade effect, leading to overcurrent in other circuits that then also must therefore disconnect automatically.
Also note that generators that suddenly have lost their load because of such a protection operation will have to shut down automatically immediately, and it may take many hours to restore a proper balance between demand and supply in the system, partly because there must be proper synchronization before any two parts of the system can be reconnected.
Reclosing operations (only once) of circuit breakers usually are attempted automatically, and often are successful during thunderstorms, for example.
Some power stations can control other stations via communication links over long distances.
Remote switching, telemetering of home grids (showing voltage, current, power, direction, consumption in kWh, etc.), even automatic synchronization is used in some power systems.