The United States (U.S.) electric infrastructure urgently needs renovation, as highlighted by recent major outages in California, New York, Texas, and Florida. The media has discussed the aging power infrastructure, and the Public Utilities Commission called for a comprehensive review of the causes of recent power outages. Without optimization algorithms to account for the many operating parameters and outage scenarios, planning engineers may inadvertently choose non-optimal locations for new components such as automated distribution switches, thereby impacting circuit reliability. This study aims to address this problem by answering the research question: “How may location analytics should be used to enhance the reliability of the smart grid?” To address this problem, Insights for ArcGIS was used to build worksheets using a geographic information systems (GIS)-based approach to resolve the challenges faced by utilities to reduce power outage frequency. Three case studies demonstrate various risk scenarios wherein a utility can prepare for the unexpected. An artefact in Insights for ArcGIS was created using a design science research methodology. This research proposes a solution to facilitate storm/disaster planning and vegetation management, identify optimal grid locations needing inspection or work, and detect regions where new distribution switches may provide benefits, considering the many operating parameters and outage scenarios. The artefact demonstrates that GIS can play an integral role in resolving this problem.
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