Electric service reliability cost/worth assessment in a developing country
Pandey, Mohan Kumar
Considerable work has been done in developed countries to optimize the reliability of electric power systems on the basis of reliability cost versus reliability worth. This has yet to be considered in most developing countries, where development plans are still based on traditional deterministic measures. The difficulty with these criteria is that they cannot be used to evaluate the economic impacts of changing reliability levels on the utility and the customers, and therefore cannot lead to an optimum expansion plan for the system. The critical issue today faced by most developing countries is that the demand for electric power is high and growth in supply is constrained by technical, environmental, and most importantly by financial impediments. Many power projects are being canceled or postponed due to a lack of resources. The investment burden associated with the electric power sector has already led some developing countries into serious debt problems. This thesis focuses on power sector issues facing by developing countries and illustrates how a basic reliability cost/worth approach can be used in a developing country to determine appropriate planning criteria and justify future power projects by application to the Nepal Integrated Electric Power System (NPS). A reliability cost/worth based system evaluation framework is proposed in this thesis. Customer surveys conducted throughout Nepal using in-person interviews with approximately 2000 sample customers are presented. The survey results indicate that the interruption cost is dependent on both customer and interruption characteristics, and it varies from one location or region to another. Assessments at both the generation and composite system levels have been performed using the customer cost data and the developed NPS reliability database. The results clearly indicate the implications of service reliability to the electricity consumers of Nepal, and show that the reliability cost/worth evaluation is both possible and practical in a developing country. The average customer interruption costs of Rs 35/kWh at Hierarchical Level I and Rs 26/kWh at Hierarchical Level II evaluated in this research work led to an optimum reserve margin of 7.5%, which is considerably lower than the traditional reserve margin of 15% used in the NPS. A similar conclusion may result in other developing countries facing difficulties in power system expansion planning using the traditional approach. A new framework for system planning is therefore recommended for developing countries which would permit an objective review of the traditional system planning approach, and the evaluation of future power projects using a new approach based on fundamental principles of power system reliability and economics.