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Keynote Address on

Power System Reliability Assessment


L Goel

Professor & Head of Division of Power Engineering

School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
IEEE - IICPE - December 2006


• Power System Reliability

• Generating System (HLI) Reliability Assessment
• Composite System (HLII) Reliability Assessment
• Distribution System Reliability Assessment
• Cost-Benefit Considerations
• Concluding Remarks

Power System Reliability

An electric power system serves the basic function of supplying customers, both
large and small, with electrical energy as economically and as reliably as
possible. The reliability associated with a power system is a measure of its ability
to provide an adequate supply of electrical energy for the period of time intended
under the operating conditions encountered.
Modern society, because of its pattern of social and working habits, has come to
expect the power supply to be continuously available on demand - this, however,
is not physically possible in reality due to random system failures which are
generally outside the control of power system engineers, operators and planners.

Power System Reliability

The probability of customers being disconnected can be reduced by increased

investment during either the planning phase, operating phase, or both. Over-
investment can lead to excessive operating costs which must be reflected in the
tariff structure. Consequently, the economic constraints can be violated even
though the system may be highly reliable.
On the other hand, under-investment can lead to the opposite situation. It is
evident therefore that the economic and reliability constraints can be quite
competitive, and this can lead to extremely difficult managerial decisions at both
the planning and operating phases.

Power System Reliability

The criteria and techniques first used in practical applications were basically
deterministic (rule-of-thumb) ones, for instance
• Planning generating capacity - installed capacity equals the expected
maximum demand plus a fixed percentage of the expected maximum demand;
• Operating capacity - spinning capacity equals the expected load demand plus
a reserve equal to one or more largest units;
• Planning network capacity - construct a minimum number of circuits to a load
group, the minimum number being dependent on the maximum demand of the

Power System Reliability

Although the above-mentioned three and other criteria have been developed to
account for randomly occurring failures, they are inherently deterministic. The
essential weakness of these methods is that they do not account for the
probabilistic/stochastic nature of system behavior, customer load demands and/or
of component failures. Such aspects can be considered only through probabilistic

Power System Reliability

Typical probabilistic aspects are as follows:

• Forced outage rate of generating units is known to be a function of unit size
and therefore a fixed percentage reserve cannot ensure a consistent risk;
• Failure rates of overhead lines are functions of their lengths, design aspects,
locations and environment, etc. - therefore a consistent risk of supply
interruption cannot be ensured by constructing a minimum number of circuits;
• All planning and operating decisions are based on load forecasting techniques
which cannot predict future loads precisely, i.e., uncertainties will always exist
in the forecasts. This imposes statistical factors which should be assessed

Power System Reliability

It is important to conjecture at this point on what can be done regarding reliability

assessment and why it is necessary. Failures of components, plant, and systems
occur randomly; the frequency, duration and impact of failures vary from one year
to the next. Generally all utilities record details of the events as they occur, and
produce a set of performance measures, such as:
• system availability
• estimated unsupplied energy
• number of incidents
• number of hours of interruption
• excursions beyond set voltage (and frequency) limits

Power System Reliability

These performance measures are valuable since:

• they identify weak areas needing reinforcements and modifications
• they establish chronological trends in reliability performance
• they establish existing indices which serve as a guide for acceptable values if
future reliability assessments
• they enable previous predictions to be compared with actual operating
• they monitor the response to system design changes
The important thing to note is that the above measures are statistical indices -
they are not deterministic values.

Adequacy and Security

The concept of power system reliability, i.e., the overall ability of the system to
satisfy the customer load requirements economically and reliably, is extremely
broad. For the sake of simplicity, power system reliability can be divided into the
two basic aspects of
• system adequacy, and
• system security.
Adequacy relates to the existence of sufficient facilities within the system to
satisfy customer load demands. These include the facilities to generate power,
and the associated transmission and distribution facilities required to transport the
generated energy to the load points. Adequacy, therefore, relates to static system

Adequacy and Security

Security pertains to the response of the system to the perturbations/disturbances

it is subjected to. These may include conditions associated with local and
widespread disturbances and loss of major generation/transmission.
Most of the techniques presently available are in the domain of adequacy

Adequacy and Security
Power system functional zones Hierarchical levels

Adequacy and Security

Adequacy and Security

Adequacy and Security

Adequacy and Security

Generating System (HLI) Reliability

Generating capacity reliability is defined in terms of the adequacy of the installed

generating capacity to meet the system load demand. Outages of generating
units and/or load in excess of the estimates could result in “loss of load”, i.e., the
available capacity (installed capacity - capacity on outage) being inadequate to
supply the load. In general, this condition requires emergency assistance from
neighboring systems and emergency operating measures such as system voltage
reduction and voluntary load curtailment. Depending on the shortage of the
available capacity, load shedding may be initiated as the final measure after the
emergency actions. The conventional definition of “loss of load” includes all
events resulting in negative capacity margin or the available capacity being less
than the load.

Generating System (HLI) Reliability

The basic methodology for evaluating generating system reliability is to develop

probability models for capacity on outage and for load demand, and calculate the
probability of loss of load by a convolution of the two models. This calculation
can be repeated for all the periods (e.g., weeks) in a year considering the
changes in the load demand, planned outages of units, and any unit additions or
retirements, etc.

Generating System (HLI) Reliability

Probabilistic Criteria and Indices

An understanding of the probabilistic criteria and indices used in generating
capacity reliability (HLI) studies is important. These include
1. loss of load probability (LOLP)
2. loss of load expectation (LOLE)
3. loss of energy expectation (LOEE)/expected energy not supplied (EENS)
4. frequency & duration (F&D) indices
5. energy index of reliability (EIR)
6. energy index of unreliability (EIU), and
7. system minutes (SM).

Generating System (HLI) Reliability
This is the oldest and the most basic probabilistic index. It is defined as the
probability that the load will exceed the available generation. Its weakness is that
it defines the likelihood of encountering trouble (loss of load) but not the severity;
for the same value of LOLP, the degree of trouble may be less than 1 MW or
greater than 1000 MW or more. Therefore it cannot recognize the degree of
capacity or energy shortage.
This index has been superseded by one of the following expected values in most
planning applications because LOLP has less physical significance and is difficult
to interpret.

Generating System (HLI) Reliability

This is now the most widely used probabilistic index in deciding future generation
capacity. It is generally defined as the average number of days (or hours) on
which the daily peak load is expected to exceed the available capacity. It
therefore indicates the expected number of days (or hours) for which a load loss
or deficiency may occur. This concept implies a physical significance not
forthcoming from the LOLP, although the two values are directly related.
It has the same weaknesses that exist in the LOLP.

Generating System (HLI) Reliability


This index is defined as the expected energy not supplied (EENS) due to those
occasions when the load exceeds the available generation. It is presently less
used than LOLE but is a more appealing index since it encompasses severity of
the deficiencies as well as their likelihood. It therefore reflects risk more truly and
is likely to gain popularity as power systems become more energy-limited due to
reduced prime energy and increased environmental controls.

Generating System (HLI) Reliability


These are directly related to LOEE which is normalized by dividing by the total
energy demanded. This basically ensures that large and small systems can be
compared on an equal basis and chronological changes in a system can be

Generating System (HLI) Reliability

Frequency & Duration (F&D) Indices

The F&D criterion is an extension of LOLE and identifies expected frequencies of
encountering deficiencies and their expected durations.
It therefore contains additional physical characteristics but, although widely
documented, is not used in practice. This is due mainly to the need for additional
data and greatly increased complexity of the analysis without having any
significant effect on the planning decisions.

Composite System (HLII) Reliability
• Composite generating and transmission system evaluation is concerned with
the total problem of assessing the ability of the generation and transmission
system to supply adequate and suitable electrical energy to the major system
load points (Hierarchical level II - HL II)
• The problem of calculating reliability indices is equivalent to assessing the
expected value of a test function F(x), i.e., :

• All basic reliability indices can be represented by this expression, by using

suitable definitions of the test function.
Composite System (HLII) Reliability
Applications in power system planning
• Expansion - selection of new generation, transmission, subtransmission
• Operation - selection of operating scenarios;
• Maintenance - scheduling of generation and transmission equipment

Basic models
• G&T Equipment : Markovian or not; Two or multi-states.

Up 

Composite System (HLII) Reliability
Basic models
• Load : Chronological or not; • System : AC or DC network
Markovian or not; Correlated or not. representation.

Composite System (HLII) Reliability
Reliability Measures (Conventional)

 System indices (sometimes appearing under different names)

• LOLP = Loss of load probability
• LOLE = Loss of load expectation (h/year)
• EPNS = Expected power not supplied (MW)
• EENS = Expected energy not supplied (MWh/year)
• LOLF = Loss of load frequency (occ./year)
• LOLD = Loss of load duration (h)
• LOLC = Loss of load cost (US$/year)
• etc.
 Load point indices
• LOLP, LOLE, etc.

Composite System (HLII) Reliability
Reliability Measures (Well-Being)
 System indices
•Prob {H} = Probability of healthy state
•Prob {M} = Probability of marginal state Success
•Prob {R} = Probability of at risk state (LOLP) Healthy
•Freq {H} = Frequency of healthy state (occ./year)
•Freq {M} = Frequency of marginal state (occ./year)
•Freq {R} = Frequency of at risk state (LOLF) (occ./year) Marginal
•Dur {H} = Duration of healthy state (h)
•Dur {M} = Duration of marginal state (h)
•Dur {R} = Duration of at risk state (LOLD) (h) At Risk
 Load point indices
•Prob {H}, Freq {H}, etc.

Composite System (HLII) Reliability
Assessment Tools

State Selection State Analysis (adequacy)

• Enumeration • Power flow
• Monte Carol simulation o Linear DC model
o Non-sequential o Non-linear AC model
o Sequential or chronological • Optimal power flow
o Pseudo-chronological/sequential o Linear DC model
o Non-linear AC model

Distribution System Reliability Assessment

Load Point Indices

• failure rate, 
• average outage time, r
• average annual unavailability, U = .r
• average load disconnected, L
• expected energy not supplied, E = U.L

Distribution System Reliability Assessment
State Space (Markov) Model
State Probability (P) Visiting frequency (f) Residence time (r)
0 P0 = q2q1 f0 = P0/r0 r0 = 1/(1 + 2)
1 P1 = q2p1 f1 = P1/r1 r1 = 1/(1 + 2)
2 P2 = p2q1 f2 = P2/r2 r2 = 1/(2 + 1)
3 P3 = p2p1 f3 = P3/r3 r3 = 1/(1 + 2)
1 1
i 0 1
pi 
i   i 2 2
State space diagram for
qi = 1 - pi two-component, four-state
2 2 model
1 1
2 3
Distribution System Reliability Assessment

Series Structure, n Components

Interruptionfrequencyfs =  i [interruptions/year]
i 1
 i ri
Interruptiondurationrs = i=1 [hours/interruption]
 i
r =  i ri [hours/year]
Annual downtimeUs =fss
i 1
 i ri
Unavailabilityqs = i=1
8760 33
Distribution System Reliability Assessment

Parallel Structure, n (independent) Components

 n  i ri   n  1 
Interruptionfrequencyfs =8760       [Interruptions/year]
 i=1  8760  i=1  ri 
Interruptiondurationrs = n
i=1 i
i ri 
Annual downtimeUs =8760    [hours/year]
i=1 

Unavailabilityqs =
Distribution System Reliability Assessment
System Oriented Reliability Indices, Number of Interruptions
• Weighting by number of customers
– System Average
Interruption Frequency Index :
 fi Ni
SAIFI =i=1
 Ni

fi = number of interruptions at load point i

Ni = number of customers connected to load point i
n = number of load points interrupted
ntot = total number of load points
Distribution System Reliability Assessment
System Oriented Reliability Indices, Annual Interruption Time

• Weighting by number of customers

– System Average
Interruption Duration Index :
n n
 Ui Ni  fi ri Ni
SAIDI =i=1
= i=1
tot tot
 Ni  Ni
i=1 i=1

Ui = firi = annual outage time for load point i

ri = Average outage duration for load point i

Distribution System Reliability Assessment
System Oriented Reliability Indices, Average Interruption Duration
• Weighting by number of customers
– Customer Average Interruption Duration Index :
 Ui Ni
CAIDI =i=1
 fi Ni
n n n n
 fi Ni  Ui Ni  Ui Ni  fi ri Ni
n tot
 i=1
n tot
= i=1
n tot
= i=1
n tot
 Ni  fi Ni  Ni  Ni
i=1 i=1 i=1 i=1

Distribution System Reliability Assessment

System Oriented Reliability Indices, Unavailability, Energy Not Supplied

• Average Service Unavailability Index ASUI =
• Energy Not Supplied ENS= Pav(i) Ui (kWh/year)
Pav(i) =Averageloadconnectedtoloadpoint i
• Average Energy Not Supplied AENS=n (kWh/customer . year)
 Ni

Distribution System Reliability Assessment

UK System Indices

• Security or Customer Interruptions (CIs)

- similar in concept to SAIFI
• Availability or Customer Minutes Lost (CMLs)
- similar in concept to SAIDI

Cost-Benefit Considerations

• COST of providing quality and continuity of service

< should be related to the >

• WORTH or BENEFIT of having that quality and continuity

Cost-Benefit Considerations

Due to the complex and integrated nature of a power system, failures in any part
of the system can cause interruptions which range from inconveniencing a small
number of local residents to a major and widespread catastrophic disruption of
The economic impact of these outages is not necessarily restricted to loss of
revenue by the utility or loss of energy utilization by the customer but, in order to
estimate the true costs, should also include indirect costs imposed on customers,
society, and the environment due to the outage.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

For instance, in the case of the 1977 New York blackout, 84% of the total costs
of the blackout were attributed to indirect costs. In order to reduce the frequency
and duration of these events, it is necessary to invest either in the design phase,
the operating phase, or both. A whole series of questions come to mind:
• how much should be spent?
• is it worth spending any money?
• should the reliability be increased, maintained at existing levels, or allowed to
• who should decide - the utility, a regulator, the customer?
• on what basis should the decision be made?

Cost-Benefit Considerations

The underlying trend in all these questions is the need to determine the worth of
reliability in a power system, who should contribute to this worth, and who should
decide the levels of reliability and investment required to achieve them.
The basic questions that therefore need to be answered are “Is it worth it?” and
“Where or on what should the next dollar be invested in the system to achieve the
maximum reliability benefit?”.

Cost-Benefit Considerations
The first step in answering the above questions is illustrated in the figure below,
which shows how the reliability of a product/system is related to the investment
cost, i.e., increased investment is required in order to improve reliability. This
clearly shows the general trend that the incremental cost C to achieve a given
increase in reliability R increases as the reliability level increases. Alternatively,
a given increase in investment produces a decreasing increment in reliability as
the reliability is increased. In either case, high reliability is expensive to achieve.

Incremental cost of reliability

Cost-Benefit Considerations

The incremental cost of reliability, C/R, is one way of deciding whether an

investment in the system is worth it. However, it does not adequately reflect the
benefits seen by the utility, the customer, or society in general. The two aspects
of reliability and economics can be appraised more consistently by comparing
reliability cost (investment cost needed to achieve a certain level of reliability)
with reliability worth (benefit derived by the customer and society).

Cost-Benefit Considerations
The basic concept of reliability cost/reliability worth evaluation is relatively simple
and can be presented by the curves of the figure shown below. These curves
show that the investment cost generally increases with higher reliability. On the
other hand, the customer costs associated with failures decrease as the reliability

Utility and customer costs

Cost-Benefit Considerations

The total costs are the sum of these two individual costs. This total cost exhibits
a minimum, and so an “optimum” or target level of reliability is achieved. Two
difficulties usually arise in the total cost assessment.
Firstly, the calculated indices are usually derived only from approximate models.
Secondly, there are significant problems in assessing customer perceptions of
system failure costs.

Cost-Benefit Considerations
The disparity between the calculated indices and the monetary costs associated
with supply interruptions is shown in the figure. The left hand side of the figure
shows the calculated indices at the various hierarchical levels. The right hand
side indicates the interruption cost data obtained by user studies.
It can be seen that the relative disparity between the calculated indices at the
three hierarchical levels and the data available for worth assessment decreases
as the consumer load points are approached.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

There have been many studies concerning interruption and outage costs. These
studies show that, although trends are similar in virtually all cases, the costs vary
over a wide range and depend on the country of origin and the type of customer.
It is apparent therefore that considerable research still needs to be conducted on
the subject of interruption costs.
The evaluation of reliability cost through the identification and analysis of criteria
and methods used to predict and quantify reliability has progressed significantly
during the past two decades. By comparison, the assessment of reliability worth
is not as well developed. This is due to the fact that the societal worth of electric
service reliability is an extremely complex task.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

Broadly speaking, the cost of a power interruption from the customer's

perspective is dependent both on the customer and interruption characteristics.
Customer characteristics include type of customer, nature of his/her
activities/demand requirements. Outage costs will therefore vary substantially
between customers within a class, and between classes of customers.
Interruption characteristics include the parameters of frequency, duration and
magnitude of outage, time of occurrence, time of year, whether partial outage or
complete, etc.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

The theoretical basis for the measurement of outage cost is the loss of consumer
welfare as a consequence of an outage. Several approaches have emerged in
the literature over the past few decades. One approach is to estimate outage
costs on the basis of estimated willingness-to-pay for planned electricity
consumption. In another approach, electric supply rates (tariffs) are used to
derive the Value-based reliability (VBR) estimates. Many attempts are made on
the use of a ratio of gross economic measure (e.g. GNP) and a suitable energy
consumption measure to yield a $/kWh value that is assumed to be the cost of
unsupplied energy during interruptions. While most of these approaches are
reasonably straightforward to apply, their disadvantages are that they are based
on severely limiting assumptions.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

The most fundamental and methodological approach that has been used to
assess direct, short-term customer outage costs is the customer survey method.
This approach appears to find favors with electric utilities for estimating the
outage costs to be used for planning purposes. It is based on the premise that
the customer is in the best position to assess his/her monetary losses associated
with power failures. The surveys ask the monetary losses that would be
sustained by them under certain specified scenarios of interruptions, and also
their willingness to pay in order to avoid having those interruptions. A very
important consideration in determining the interruption cost through surveys is
the choice of the valuation method. Three types of approaches have been
undertaken in this regard.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

1. The first and the most obvious approach is a direct solicitation of the outage
costs for given outage conditions. The approach provides reasonable and
consistent results in situations where losses can be directly identified.
2. The second approach seeks the customers' opinions on what they would be
willing to pay to avoid having the interruption(s), or conversely what amount
they would be willing to accept for having to experience the outage
(willingness-to-pay and willingness-to-accept theories). This is based on the
theory that incremental willingness to pay (accept) gives the corresponding
marginal increments (decrements) in service reliability.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

3. The third and final approach is that of indirect worth evaluation, where
customers' responses to indirect questions are used to derive a monetary
figure. This approach includes the respondents' selection of
interruptible/curtailable options, their predictions of what preparatory actions
they might take in the event of recurring interruptions, their ranking of a set
of reliability/rate alternatives and selecting an option most suitable for their
needs, etc. This approach has been used in major Canadian surveys, and
has also been used by many utilities and governmental agencies to estimate
the costs of interruptions.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

Utilization of the gathered interruption cost estimates in a practical planning

context could involve converting the gathered data into a functional
representation or cost model. The traditional cost model is known as a
composite customer damage function (CCDF), which defines the overall average
costs of interruptions as a function of the interruption duration in a given service
area that was used in the surveys. Since the customers are asked to provide
their best estimates of monetary losses for selected outage scenarios, the
interruption cost data collected using the survey method are duration specific.
These data can be used to create customer damage functions (CDFs) for
specific customer classes (sectors). The average sector costs associated with
each studied interruption scenario are used to create sector customer damage
functions (SCDFs) which are then (usually) weighted using their respective
energy consumptions to create a CCDF for the entire studied area.

Cost-Benefit Considerations

Cost-Benefit Considerations

Cost-Benefit Considerations

Concluding Remarks
• Probabilistic, as opposed to deterministic, indices are more popular in
reliability evaluation of electric power systems.
• Fundamental reliability indices are those of probability, frequency and duration
of failures, regardless of whether the system study is at HLI, HLII or HLIII
system levels.
• There should be some conformity between the reliability of various parts of the
power system. It is pointless to reinforce quite arbitrarily a strong part of the
system where weak areas still exist. Consequently, a balance is required
between generation, transmission and distribution - this does not mean that
the reliability of each should be equal. The reliability of different zones will, in
general, be different since HLII failures can cause widespread outages
whereas distribution failures are very localized.
Concluding Remarks

• There should be some benefit gained by an improvement in reliability, i.e., the

incremental or marginal investment cost should be related to the customer’s
incremental or marginal valuation of the improved reliability. Reliability cost Vs
reliability worth (benefit) evaluation can enable utilities to make objective
decisions about investments and maintenance for enhancing supply reliability.
• Probabilistic methods are as important and critical today as they were a few
decades ago, particularly in the light of increased pressure for economic
justifications and the need to manage our assets effectively, efficiently and

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