Comparison and Validation of Statistical Methods for Predicting Power Outage Durations in the Event of Hurricanes


Roshanak Nateghi, Johns Hopkins University;


This article compares statistical methods for modeling power outage durations during hurricanes and examines the predictive accuracy of these methods. Being able to make accurate predictions of power outage durations is valuable because the information can be used by utility companies to plan their restoration efforts more efficiently. This information can also help inform customers and public agencies of the expected outage times, enabling better collective response planning, and coordination of restoration efforts for other critical infrastructures that depend on electricity. In the long run, outage duration estimates for future storm scenarios may help utilities and public agencies better allocate risk management resources to balance the disruption from hurricanes with the cost of hardening power systems. We compare the out-of-sample predictive accuracy of five distinct statistical models for estimating power outage duration times caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The methods compared include both regression models (accelerated failure time (AFT) and Cox proportional hazard models (Cox PH)) and data mining techniques (regression trees, Bayesian additive regression trees (BART), and multivariate additive regression splines). We then validate our models against two other hurricanes. Our results indicate that BART yields the best prediction accuracy and that it is possible to predict outage durations with reasonable accuracy.