Risk-based economic assessment of mitigation strategies for power distribution poles subjected to hurricanes

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This paper presents a risk-based framework to assess the hurricane damage risks to distribution poles, and investigates the risks, costs and benefit of different mitigation strategies. It is estimated that power outages due to storms cause approximately $270 million in repair/replacement costs annually in the USA. Hurricane Irene alone left approximately 6 million residents without power along the east coast of the USA in 2011, causing an estimated $5-$7 billion in damages. These high repair/replacement costs warrant an investigation of mitigation strategies that may aid in reducing replacement and damage costs. This paper describes the reliability analysis of typical timber distribution poles and probabilistic wind models to determine failure probabilities for specific locations. Furthermore, in order to more accurately portray the behaviour of distribution poles, the proposed framework includes the degradation and service-proven reliability of timber distribution poles. Four mitigation strategies are developed, and the cost effectiveness of each strategy is evaluated. In order to assess the cost effectiveness, a life cycle cost analysis is conducted for each mitigation strategy. This paper finds that appropriate mitigation strategies can reduce replacement costs of distribution poles associated with hurricane wind by 2060. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.

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Structure and Infrastructure Engineering