IEEE whitepaper addresses COVID-19 challenges for utilities


The Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) has released a free new white paper titled “Sharing Knowledge on Electrical Energy Industry’s First Response to COVID-19“, to share insights to assist utilities and operators meet the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The IEEE says the paper draws on input from global energy industry stakeholders, and the IEEE PES Industry Technical Support (ITS) Leadership Committee. This committee engages with governments, regulators and other industry organizations globally on technical issues related to power, energy and policy topics.

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The paper addresses challenges facing the utility industry as a result of global lockdown measures, such as changing consumption patterns and peak energy demand times, high voltage issues related to load reductions, load forecasting and balancing, emergency planning and emergency planning.

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The following technical and business impacts are also examined in the paper:

  • Resource availability to assure essential services
  • Criticality of electric infrastructure, reliability and resilience impact
  • Supply chain disruptions
  • Impact on energy consumption and peak demand
  • Modification of consumption patterns
  • Market reliability and generation mix
  • Mid-to-long-term impacts

In response to those impacts, the following mitigation measures and practices were surveyed:

  • Control centres
  • Field operations: work prioritisation and staffing
  • Customer operations and office staff
  • Resilience and supply chain measures
  • Mitigating technical issues
  • Other practices

“The COVID-19 pandemic shows how, now more than ever, the reliable, resilient and cost-effective delivery of electrical energy is critical for our society,” said Frank Lambert, president IEEE PES, and principal research engineer at Georgia Tech’s Center for Distributed Energy. “The team’s quick action to share knowledge on the industry’s first response is helping to ensure the reliable and safe distribution of electricity to communities worldwide.”

“The technical impacts and mitigation measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic provide sound guidance for utilities facing changes in consumption patterns and peak energy demand times. This work by IEEE PES members to address concerns such as high voltage issues related to load reductions, load forecasting and balancing, emergency planning and more benefits the power and energy industry as a whole,” said Aleksi Paaso, IEEE PES member, and director, Distribution Planning, Smart Grid and Innovation at ComEd, who is the lead author of the white paper. 

The white paper is available for download to both IEEE members and non-members at the IEEE PES Resource Center.  

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