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A probability based method and a computer program for reliability assessment in the operational planning of large hydro-thermal generation systems are described. The expected unsupplied energy in a given time interval divided by the annual peak load is used as the reliability index. In calculating this index, the forecast hourly loads, sales and purchases, the changes in the operating schedule and unit operating modes, and the capacity and energy constraints on hydraulic generation are considered. Applications in generation schedule reliability assessment, economy sales assessment, mid-term reserve planning, and maintenance scheduling are presented.