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Loss Avoidance Study: Electrical Transmission and Distribution Mitigation

This report, Electrical Transmission and Distribution Mitigation: Loss Avoidance Study, assesses the effectiveness of completed electric system mitigation projects in Nebraska and Kansas affected by the ice and wind storms of December 2006 through January 2007.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awards mitigation grants to reduce the negative effects of natural hazards on property, people, and the environment. FEMA funds projects based on numerous factors, including a cost-effectiveness analysis of a range of probabilistic hazard events. Increasingly, policy makers want to know how projects perform during actual post-construction hazard events. The loss avoidance study (LAS) methodology was developed by FEMA to provide a quantitative approach to assess post-construction performance of mitigation measures.

This report represents the first LAS to be conducted for electric system mitigation measures intended to prevent damage from ice and wind storms. FEMA has funded a number of electric system mitigation projects throughout the Midwest. The extreme ice and wind storms of December 2006 through January 2007 provided an opportunity to examine completed mitigation projects and to develop and apply LAS methods. Past LAS reports have been organized around the three main phases of initial project selection, project effectiveness analysis, and loss estimation analysis. This same approach was used for this report, with new methods developed
for the project effectiveness analysis based on modeling electric system damages from ice and wind events.

A total of three projects, located in Nebraska and Kansas, were chosen during the initial project selection phase. For these three projects, this report contains project descriptive information and the impacts to those projects from the 2006-2007 storm events. Damage analyses were also
conducted for each project, resulting in an estimate in the damages that would have occurred had the project not been constructed.

The costs, in dollars, associated with system damages were estimated using loss estimation analyses. These analyses calculated the dollar amounts from physical damage and loss of function for pre- and post-mitigation conditions. The total losses avoided were estimated at $1.33 million .1 The total project investment (based on the original project costs) for the three projects was $1.15 million. As a result, the overall return on investment for the December 2006–January 2007 ice and wind event was 115 percent.

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