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Optimal blackouts: Empirical results on reducing the social cost of electricity outages through efficient regional rationing

  • de Nooij, Michiel
  • Lieshout, Rogier
  • Koopmans, Carl

The demand and supply of electricity must always balance. If supply falls short of demand, then price increases or voluntary demand reductions might help to maintain the balance in the system. Should these prove insufficient, then rationing is necessary. Rationing means interrupting the electricity delivery to certain areas or specific electricity users in order to preserve system stability. Since the cost of an interruption differs among electricity users, the social cost of different rationing mechanisms varies. This paper explores the cost difference between efficient regional rationing (minimizing social costs by rationing regions with low costs first) and random rationing (not taking into account social costs). For this the value of lost load calculations of De Nooij et al. [De Nooij, M., Bijvoet, C.C., Koopmans, C.C., (2007). The value of supply security: The costs of power interruptions: Economic input for damage reduction and investment in networks. Energy Economics, 29 (2), 277-295.] are refined. For the Netherlands, it is shown that efficient rationing can reduce social costs by 42 to 93%.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 31 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 342-347

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:31:y:2009:i:3:p:342-347
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eneco

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  1. Crew, Michael A & Fernando, Chitru S & Kleindorfer, Paul R, 1995. "The Theory of Peak-Load Pricing: A Survey," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 215-48, November.
  2. de Nooij, Michiel & Koopmans, Carl & Bijvoet, Carlijn, 2007. "The value of supply security: The costs of power interruptions: Economic input for damage reduction and investment in networks," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 277-295, March.
  3. Tishler, Asher, 1993. "Optimal production with uncertain interruptions in the supply of electricity : Estimation of electricity outage costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1259-1274, August.
  4. Sanghvi, Arun P., 1982. "Economic costs of electricity supply interruptions : US and foreign experience," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 180-198, July.
  5. Mohan Munasinghe & Mark Gellerson, 1979. "Economic Criteria for Optimizing Power System Reliability Levels," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 353-365, Spring.
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