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The Los Angeles Lifelines Stakeholder Survey: Defining Utility Performance Objectives for Disaster Modeling in the Los Angeles Region

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Title: The Los Angeles Lifelines Stakeholder Survey: Defining Utility Performance Objectives for Disaster Modeling in the Los Angeles Region
Author: Tatebe, Kristine
Issue Date: 2008-02-21
Abstract: Post-disaster outages of lifeline utilities such as electricity and water have substantial impacts on regional economic activity, and mitigation efforts should be continued to reduce the duration and extent of these outages. The Los Angeles Lifelines project seeks to model these outages and their recovery in the context of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Informing this modeling process are performance objectives that utility providers may seek to attain in disaster response. This professional project sought to determine the appropriate format and substance of these objectives. A targeted survey of 18 key stakeholders in Los Angeles was conducted via email, addressing types of stakeholders to include in the definition of performance objectives, appropriate means of framing the objectives, communication of these objectives, considerations in disaster-related decision-making, views of utility providers versus users, and possible challenges in the definition and use of performance objectives. The survey concluded that a wide variety of stakeholders should be involved in the definition of performance objectives; that objectives should be flexible and contextspecific, and in the format of “service recovery to critical facilities or 90% of the population within a specified timeframe.” There was found to be more consensus related to performance objectives for moderate than catastrophic disasters. Other findings included that a few scenarios of varying likelihood were the most helpful means of presenting uncertainty, and that the most effective means of communication were websites and print material. A reduction in outage to critical infrastructure, as well as a reduction in overall outage time were identified as priorities for decision-making. Utility providers consistently set less stringent performance objectives than users, although both agreed regarding decision-making priorities, stakeholder involvement, and information sharing. Although there are uncertainties in the data due to methodological limitations, data from this survey can better enable the L.A. Lifelines model to assist in the definition of performance objectives, resulting in a Los Angeles that is better prepared to respond in the event of a disaster.
Affiliation: Applied Science, Faculty ofCommunity and Regional Planning (SCARP), School of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/419
Peer Review Status: Unreviewed
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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