CROPS Determines the Best Measures
Elliot Roseman is a director at the U.S. Energy Association, where he oversees the development of the Electricity Market Operator working group for southeast Europe. Prior to joining USEA, he worked for decades as a strategy, regulatory and market consultant in the power industry.
As we decide how to best make our power systems more resilient to catastrophes, one key question we should be asking is not just how much it will cost, but also who should pay for it?
The assumption that state utility customers alone should pay to enable us to recover more quickly from disasters may have made sense in the past. After all, electricity customers are the beneficiaries of a resilient system, so shouldn't they pay for any necessary improvements, as determined by regulators?
Yes and no, since times have changed. Electricity is fundamental to our economy and livelihoods, and becoming more so, as we move towards electric vehicles, renewables, the storage of power, and overall electrification.
Without secure electricity supplies, our factories may not run, our shopping malls may shut down, our gas pipelines may not operate, our transportation systems can become inoperable and our water systems may cease to function. Perhaps worst of all, our mobile devices can go kerflooey.
Most of the jobs we hold are not viable without secure power, and there would likely be a breakdown in civil society if power is unavailable for an extended period. There would be severe military consequences as well.