Cost of Power Interruptions to Electricity Consumers in the United States (U.S.)

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Journal Article

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The massive electric power blackout in the northeastern U.S. and Canada on August 14-15, 2003 catalyzed discussions about modernizing the U.S. electricity grid. Industry sources suggested that investments of $50 to $100 billion would be needed. This work seeks to better understand an important piece of information that has been missing from these discussions: what do power interruptions and fluctuations in power quality (power-quality events) cost electricity consumers? We developed a bottom-up approach for assessing the cost to U.S. electricity consumers of power interruptions and power-quality events (referred to collectively as "reliability events"). The approach can be used to help assess the potential benefits of investments in improving the reliability of the grid. We developed a new estimate based on publicly available information, and assessed how uncertainties in these data affect this estimate using sensitivity analysis.

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