: Electric power utilities worldwide are increasingly adopting the computer aided monitoring, control and management of electric power distribution system to provide better services to electric consumers. The demand of reduced outage rates (both quality and duration) has led most electric companies to reconfigure their distribution networks from radial to normally opened looped, so once faulted section is isolated , power can be restored to the rest of the network from an alternative sources. This task is economically achieved by introducing distribution automation switches which are remotely controlled from a central control room. In this manner, quality and continuity of service to the customer are vastly improved as is user convenience. Therefore, the focus of electric research and development activities worldwide is to automate the electric power distribution system utilizing recent advancement in the area of Information Technology and data communication system.
NEED FOR DISTRIBUTION AUTOMATION
Due to lack of information at the base station (33KV substation) on the loading and health status of the 11KV/415V transformer with associated feeders is one of the primary causes of inefficient power distribution. Due to absence of monitoring, overloading occurs which result in low voltage at the customer end and increases the risk of frequent breakdown of transformers and feeders. In fact, the transformer breakdown rate in India is as high as around 20% in contrast to less than 2% in some advanced countries. In the absence of switches at different points in the distribution network, it is not possible to isolate certain loads for load shedding as and when required. The only option available in the present distribution network is the circuit breaker (one each for every main 11KV feeder) at the 33KV substation. However, these circuit breakers are actually provided as a means of protection to completely isolate the down stream networks in the event of a fault. Using this as a tool for load management is not desirable, as it disconnects the power supply to a very large segment of consumers. Clearly, there is a need to put in place a system that can achieve a finer resolution in load management. In the event of a fault in any feeder section downstream, the circuit breaker at the 33KV substation trips (opens). As a result there is a blackout over a large section of the distribution network. If the faulty feeder segment could be precisely identified, it would be possible to substantially reduce the blackout area, by re-routing the power to the healthy feeder segments through the operation of switches placed at strategic location in various feeder segments.
BENEFITS OF DISTRIBUTION AUTOMATION
- Reduce peak load and power losses to overcome prevailing power shortages and defer construction of distributionfacilities.
- Improve the reliability of supply by reducing the number and duration of the outages and improve the quality of services.
- Improve the financial performance of the utility by improved cash flow, safeguarding revenues and prevent
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