Evaluating system reliability and targeted hardening strategies of power distribution systems subjected to hurricanes

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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Over the years, power distribution systems have been vulnerable to extensive damage from hurricanes which can cause power outage resulting in millions of dollars of economic losses and restoration costs. Most of the outage is as a result of failure of distribution support structures. Over the years, various methods of strengthening distribution systems have been proposed and studied. Some of these methods, such as undergrounding of the system, have been shown to be unjustified from an economic point of view. A potential cost-effective strategy is targeted hardening of the system. This, however, requires a method of determining critical parts of a system that when strengthened, will have greater impact on reliability. This paper presents a framework for studying the effectiveness of targeted hardening strategies on power distribution systems subjected to hurricanes. The framework includes a methodology for evaluating system reliability that relates failure of poles and power delivery, determination of critical parts of a system, hurricane hazard analysis, and consideration of decay of distribution poles. The framework also incorporates cost analysis that considers economic losses due to power outage. A notional power distribution system is used to demonstrate the framework by evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of three hardening measures.

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Reliability Engineering and System Safety