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Reliability Technology Issues and Needs Assessment

Cost of Power Interruptions

CERTS has conducted a study for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Electric Transmission and Distribution estimating the total cost of power interruptions to U.S. electricity consumers. The study combines the best data publicly available, including utility surveys on the costs electricity customers incur during outages, utility statistics on the frequency and duration of power interruptions, and information from the Energy Information Administration on the number, location and type of U.S. electricity customers.

The study estimates that the national cost of power interruptions is about $80 billion annually with the majority of economic costs borne by the commercial, $57 billion (73 percent) and industrial sectors, $20 billion (25 percent). Notably, most of the costs result from short duration interruptions lasting less than 5 minutes, but which occur more frequently than longer interruptions.

The study pays special attention to pointing out that there are large gaps in and significant uncertainties about the information currently available. Sensitivity analysis of some of these uncertainties suggests that the total annual cost could range from less than $30 billion to more than $130 billion.

Annual Cost of Power Interruptions is ∼$79 Billion

Figure 1. Annual Cost of Power Interruptions is ∼$79 Billion

Momentary Interruptions (< 5 min) are More Important than Sustained Interruptions (> 5 min)

Figure 2. Momentary Interruptions (< 5 min) are More Important than Sustained Interruptions (> 5 min)

Contact:

Joseph Eto
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
(510) 486-7284

http://certs.lbl.gov