Workshop proceedings explore the economic impacts of long duration, widespread power interruptions

January 10, 2019

The costs to electric utility customers from short-term, limited geographic scale power disruptions have been studied for many years. However, there is increasing interest among regulators, policy-makers, and utilities in the economic consequences of interruptions that are of longer duration (days, weeks or longer) and of larger geographic scope (entire metropolitan areas or regions).

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity’s Transmission Permitting and Technical Assistance Division, in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), convened a workshop to identify research needs and discuss potential avenues for methodological advances in the economics of widespread, long-duration power interruptions. The workshop was organized around six key themes in the economics of widespread, long-duration interruptions. Each theme was first introduced as a discussion paper written by leading experts in academia, industry, and the non-profit sector. The experts were tasked with assessing the state of knowledge on particular topics and identifying research needs. General topics included in the discussion paper and workshop include definitions of resilience and reliability; regional economic modeling approaches; uncertainty quantification; data challenges and opportunities; contingent valuation survey techniques; and reduced-form analytical tools for assessing the impacts of power interruptions of this scale.

The workshop, titled “Frontiers in the Economics of Widespread, Long-Duration Power Interruptions,” was held in Washington, D.C. in 2018 and the proceedings include an executive summary and six white papers:

  1. Mitigation and Resilience Trade-offs In Electricity Outages by Jonathan Eyer and Adam Rose (University of Southern California)
  2. Estimating Residential Customers’ Costs of Large, Long-Duration Blackouts by Sunhee Baik, Selin Sirinterlikci, Jun Woo Park, Alex Davis and M. Granger Morgan, (Carnegie Mellon University)
  3. Economic Consequence Analysis of Electric Power Infrastructure Disruptions: An Analytical General Equilibrium Approach by Ian Sue Wing (Boston University) and Adam Rose (University of Southern California)
  4. Using Stated Preferences to Estimate the Value of Avoiding Power Outages: A Commentary with Input from Six Continents by Daniel Shawhan (Resources For the Future)
  5. Evaluating Methods of Estimating the Cost of Long-Duration Power Outages by Jeffrey Roark (Electric Power Research Institute)
  6. Data Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities by Josh Schellenberg, Myles Collins, Michael Sullivan, Shannon Hees, Stephanie Bieler (Nexant, Inc.)

A link to the proceedings can be found here.

This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Transmission Permitting and Technical Assistance Division of the Office of Electricity. Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located in Berkeley, California. Berkeley Lab conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California. Visit our website at