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High Voltage Feeder Monitoring to pre-empt Faults

Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) experience faults on their electricity distribution networks, which result in Customer Interruptions (CIs) and Customer Minutes Lost (CMLs). Most CIs and CMLs are incurred on the high voltage (HV) network. DNOs implement a number of measures to reduce the amount of CIs and CMLs incurred, for example through switching via automation and or remote control, use of protection relays to identify faults and minimise impact.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/02/2019
End date: 28/02/2022
Budget: £2,256,371

The aim of the project is to test the functionality of the DFA device alongside other network monitoring equipment such as fault passage indicators, to determine if it is an effective means of identifying and locating network anomalies on HV and 33kV feeders before they materialise into faults.

This project involves the trial of the Distribution Fault Anticipation device, DFA-Plus, to pre-empt faults on the electricity distribution network. The DFA-plus is an on-line monitoring device typically installed at a substation and used to monitor outgoing feeders from the substation. The DFA applies sophisticated high-precision waveform analysis to the data (real-time current and voltage) that it captures. It compares the detected activity to an internal library of known activity characteristics including high impedance faults. The device then determines whether the data is normal or abnormal and if abnormal, matches the activity with the most likely fault type via proprietary analysis. It then reports findings via a web-based interface, emails or SMS.

At present there is no existing holistic solution to monitor HV feeders to identify disturbances to pre-empt faults. The proposed solution would be cheaper overall than the traditional fault management processes which involve reactive fault repairs.

This project has a high potential to deliver new learning with regards to:

  • The method’s viability to consistently identify disturbances on the electricity network, in real-time;
  • Provide accurate location of the disturbances;
  • Effective process to utilise disturbance recorder outputs to identify and repair network disturbances before they materialise into faults.

The learning from the project will be shared via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal and other formal interactions with other DNO groups, via reports and presentations.


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