Life cycle resilience quantification and enhancement of power distribution systems: A risk-based approach

Document Type


Publication Date



Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Distribution systems in the US are commonly supported by wood utility poles. Since wood poles may experience substantial decay rates, current standards specify a strength-based maintenance program for pole replacement regardless of the poles’ vulnerability and importance in the system. While state-of-the-art methods have developed risk-based metrics to guide system hardening decisions, such metrics are analyzed for the current conditions of the system. In this context, the potential of a stochastic series of hazards over extended horizons and the subsequent effects on the resilience of systems have been largely neglected. To address these limitations, a risk-based methodology is proposed for quantifying the life cycle resilience of power distribution systems. To project pole vulnerability, a recursive approach is developed that captures the stochasticity of precedent failures and subsequent corrective actions over extended horizons. Furthermore, a risk-based replacement index called Expected Outage Reduction (EOR) is introduced that estimates the expected power outage reduction if an existing pole is replaced by a new pole. The application of the proposed method for life cycle resilience analysis and management of a realistic distribution system subjected to stochastic hurricanes indicates that EOR can improve the cumulative life cycle resilience by up to 22.3% over 70 years.

Publisher's Statement

© 2021 Elsevier Ltd. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.strusafe.2021.102075

Publication Title

Structural Safety