Inspired by reliability issues in electric transmission networks, we use a probabilistic approach to study the occurrence of large failures in a stylized cascading line failure model. Such models capture the phenomenon where an initial line failure potentially triggers massive knock-on effects. Under certain critical conditions, the probability that the number of line failures exceeds a large threshold obeys a power-law distribution, a distinctive property observed in empiric blackout data. In this paper, we examine the robustness of the power-law behavior by exploring under which conditions this behavior prevails.

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Keywords Blackouts, Cascading failures, Power-law, Rare-event
Stakeholder Nokia Bell Labs, New Jersey, USA
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Journal Stochastic Models
Sloothaak, F, Borst, S.C, & Zwart, A.P. (2017). Robustness of power-law behavior in cascading line failure models. Stochastic Models, 1–28. doi:10.1080/15326349.2017.1383165