Announcing Pair of Research Products Related to the Value of Power System Reliability and Resilience

August 1, 2018

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (“Berkeley Lab”) and Nexant, are pleased to announce the release of two research products: (1) Estimating Power System Interruption Costs: A Guidebook for Electric Utilities (“Guidebook”) and (2) the Interruption Cost Estimate Calculator 2.0 (“ICE Calculator”).

The Guidebook is a timely and modern update to a 1995 Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) commissioned reference manual that first set forth standard procedures for measuring electric utility customer interruption costs using generally accepted surveying techniques. The ICE Calculator, which was first released in 2011 and has now been updated and redesigned, is an online tool designed for electric reliability planners at utilities, government organizations or other entities that are interested in estimating interruption costs and/or the benefits associated with reliability improvements.

Estimating Power System Interruption Costs: A Guidebook for Electric Utilities

Utilities are constantly making improvements to their infrastructure and operating protocols to maintain or enhance the reliability and resilience of the electric grid. Customer interruption cost (CIC) estimates are useful in assessing and monetizing the economic benefits customers receive from these improvements. This Guidebook for electric utilities explains how to conduct CIC studies and describes commonly-used, value-based planning methods. The Guidebook is intended to serve as a reference for utility personnel, policymakers and experts in survey design and administration who may be planning to implement CIC studies. It brings the utility industry up-to-date using modern survey technologies, practices, and data analytics to estimate CICs and, ultimately, use the estimates to address both traditional and emerging electric utility planning needs. 

ICE Calculator 2.0

The ICE Calculator is one of its kind—there are few, if any, publicly-accessible tools allowing users to estimate interruption costs for utility customers. In addition to major improvements to the look and feel of the website, other upgrades to the ICE Calculator include:

  • Allowing users to save assumptions to replicate results
  • Ability to output and download results into commonly-used file formats
  • Improvements to the underlying customer interruption cost calculations

“The over-arching goal of these two projects is to help stakeholders estimate and consider the economic benefits of proposed investments in power system reliability and resilience,” said Peter Larsen, Deputy Group Leader of the Electricity Markets and Policy Group at Berkeley Lab.

“Utilities are increasingly focused on improving the customer relationship,” said Josh Schellenberg, Vice President of Advanced Analytics at Nexant. “The Guidebook and ICE Calculator align with this objective by providing state-of-the-art guidance and tools for assessing the value that customers receive from a wide variety of investments ranging from everyday tree-trimming activities to advanced smart grid applications.”

The work described in this study was funded by the Transmission Planning and Technical Assistance Division of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity under Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. 

To access the Guidebook, please visit: https://emp.lbl.gov/publications/estimating-power-system-interruption

To access the ICE Calculator, please visit: https://icecalculator.com

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