Alarm processing has been a traditional feature of energy management systems and has not changed significantly over several generations of EMS design. Problems are obvious, however, and operations personnel have often voiced a desire for a better way to monitor a power system than provided by existing alarm processing software and hardware. The thesis of this paper and the experiments reported show promise of a truly different methodology for handling alarms. This is realized through the application of a realtime expert system dedicated to continuous analysis and reporting of system conditions rather than simply printing numerous specific alarm messages. Results show the ability of the expert system to present operators with concise alarm information extracted from a standard set of alarm messages.