Electricity Reliability

The reliability of the U.S. electric power system is critical to the nation’s economic vitality and the well-being of society. Today, that reliability is being challenged, as the infrastructure ages and as incidences of severe weather and other threats to the system increase. To help address these challenges, the Electricity Markets & Policy Group (EMP Group) conducts interdisciplinary research on reliability data, metrics, trends, economics, and decision making. It also leads a National Laboratory/industry/university research and development consortium that focuses on creating the next generation of grid reliability-enhancing technologies, systems, and management approaches.

The EMP Group’s electricity reliability analysis research focuses on improving reliability performance data and metrics; evaluating reliability trends and their economic significance to the nation over time; assessing the economic value of reliability to consumers; and promoting applications of reliability-value based planning. The group draws on this research to provide technical assistance to states and local utilities on these topics.

Reliability Performance Data and Metrics

The EMP Group works closely with industry, academia, and the federal government to improve the quality, availability, and usefulness of electricity performance data and metrics.

National Reliability Trends

Electricity reliability is key to economic prosperity and security. To help support reliability efforts, the EMP Group conducts authoritative analyses of trends in reliability performance and of the economic significance of reliability to the nation.

Economic Value of Reliability to Consumers

The EMP Group sponsors a publicly available web-based tool, the Interruption Cost Estimation (ICE) Calculator, which provides information to decision makers on the economic costs of power interruptions to businesses and residences.

Utility Applications of Value-Based Reliability Planning

Value-based reliability planning looks beyond traditional utility investment and operating cost assessments to incorporate costs of power interruptions to their customers. The EMP Group develops and promotes the use of reliability value-based planning approaches by electric utilities and their regulators.

Electricity Reliability Technology Research and Development

The Berkeley Lab-led Consortium for Electric Reliability Technology Solutions (CERTS) works to create the next generation of grid reliability-enhancing technologies, systems, and management approaches. Through research, development, and dissemination of new methods, tools, and technologies, CERTS strives to protect and enhance the reliability of the U.S. electric power system and the efficiency of competitive electricity markets.


Sullivan, Michael J, Matthew G Mercurio, Josh A Schellenberg, and Joseph H Eto. "How to Estimate the Value of Service Reliability Improvements." IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting. Minneapolis, MN: IEEE, 2010. 5. LBNL-3592E.






Lawton, Leora, Joseph H Eto, Aaron Katz, and Michael J Sullivan. "Characteristics and Trends in a National Study of Consumer Outage Costs." Center for Research in Regulated Industries (CRRI) Annual Western Conference. San Diego, CA, 2003. 16. LBNL-53738.