Leader–follower equilibria to examine investment decisions in grid resilience-enhancing measures

Chiara Lo Prete, Ashish Radhakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Large-area, long-duration power outages are increasingly common in the United States, and cost the economy billions of dollars each year. Building a strategy to enhance grid resilience requires an understanding of the optimal mix of preventive and corrective actions, the inefficiencies that arise when self-interested parties make resilience investment decisions, and the conditions under which regulators may facilitate the realization of efficient market outcomes. We develop a bi-level model to examine the mix of preventive and corrective measures that enhances grid resilience to a severe storm. The model represents a Stackelberg game between a regulated utility (leader) that may harden distribution feeders before a long-duration outage and/or deploy restoration crews after the disruption, and utility customers with varying preferences for reliable power (followers) who may invest in backup generators. We show that the regulator's denial of cost recovery for the utility's preventive expenditures, coupled with the misalignment between private objectives and social welfare maximization, yields significant inefficiencies in the resilience investment mix. Allowing cost recovery for a higher share of the utility's capital expenditures in preventive measures, extending the time horizon associated with damage cost recovery, and adopting a storm restoration compensation mechanism shift the realized market outcome toward the efficient solution. If about one-fifth of preventive resilience investments is approved by regulators, requiring utilities to pay a compensation of $365 per customer for a 3-day outage (about seven times the level of compensation currently offered by US utilities) provides significant incentives toward more efficient preventive resilience investments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-307
Number of pages28
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)


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