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Introduction stress at the equipment insulation
strength and its selection standard BILs Application of
simplified method Comparison with IEEE and IEC guides


With the incoming surge and the arrester rating
selected, the process of selecting the BILs of the station
equipment can be done
BIL of transformer 1-3 values
BIL of circuit breaker 1 value
BIL of busbar, disconnectors, etc 2 values
NEMA standard SG6 explains the procedure to fix BILs

to the station apparatus

NEMA Standard SG6

1. Evaluate the need and type of opened circuit
breaker protection
The need for opened circuit breaker protection is evaluated first.
Lightning terminates on the shield wire or phase conductor of the line, resulting in a flashover.
The surge travels into the station, but because the breaker is closed, arresters within the
station provide protection to the breaker.
Next, the relay senses the fault, the breakers open (in about 50 ms), and in about 300 ms the
breaker recloses.
However, a lightning flash is composed of one or more strokes, and a subsequent stroke may
occur between the 30 and 300 ms and produce a surge voltage that exceeds the breaker
insulation strength-when the breaker is opened and unprotected.
Three alternate solutions to this problem have been proposed:
(1) apply arresters on the line side of all breakers
best but expensive

(2) apply rod gaps on the line side

difficult to set gap spacing *
Less expensive and less effective

NEMA Standard SG6

2. Select the incoming surge
The incoming surge may originate from
Shielding failure
Subsquent strokes of the flash that may endanger the breaker when open or during the opening.
In simple stations to evaluate any equipment on the transformer bus, the incoming surge should be
based on n times the MTBF where n is the number of lines.
This surge is called the MTBS, the mean time between surges.
For example, for an MTBF of 100 years and a three-line station, the equipment on the transformer
bus is evaluated with an MTBS of 300 years, i.e., a 300-year surge. The equipment insulation
strength on other buses is evaluated with the MTBS = MTBF, e.g., a 100-year surge.
For air-insulated stations, MTBFs of 50 to 100 years have been used, although values of 400 to
500 years are used in the IEC guide.
For gas-insulated stations, because of the consequence of failure, larger values are suggested,
i.e., 300 to 1000 years is suggested, but 400 years has been used
The selected reliability criterion is primarily a function of the consequence of the failure and the
life of the equipment.
For example, the reliability criterion for a station may be more stringent than that for a line
because a flashover in a station is of greater consequence.
Even within a station, the reliability criterion may change according to the type of apparatus.

For example, because of the consequences of failure of a transformer, the transformer

may be provided with a higher order of protection.

NEMA Standard SG6

3. Select the candidate BILs
Apparatus BILs are selected carefully. For circuit breakers when
used 362kV, 2 BSL values (1- closed condition & 2- open
condition) are listed against 1 BIL value.
4. Evaluate contingency conditions
The normal condition of a station during thunderstorm
conditions is usually with all lines or some lines in service.
If contingency conditions are important, then the probabilities of
the contingencies should be evaluated to arrive at an
appropriate incoming surge.

NEMA Standard SG6

5. Select arrester rating and preliminary location of arresters

To determine the arrester rating, the rules are

MCOV must be equal to or greater than the maximum line-to-ground system voltage.
Switching surge energy discharged by the arrester must be less than the energy capability.
The temporary overvoltage across the arrester must be less than the arrester TOV
The continuous ambient temperature must be less than 40C and the temporary maximum
must be less than 105C.
Altitude limit: 1800 m (6000 feet).
The pressure relief current must be equal to or greater than the fault current.

Location of arrestors
line entrance
Near to transformer
Near bus

NEMA Standard SG6

6. Set up model on Digital Transient program

A single phase model of the station is required.

Station buses distributed lines described by their
surge impedances and lengths
Transformers surge capacitances between 1 & 10nF.
Other equipments surge capacitances
Incoming surge

NEMA Standard SG6

7. Surge voltages/ evaluation

select BILs and Clearances

The magnitude and waveshapes of incoming surge voltages are measured throughout
the station, usually at equipment locations and at opened points on the buses.
If they are not standard, some evaluation method is required to change these surge
voltages to equivalent crest voltages for a 1.2/50s

For non self restoring insulations, a safety factor of 15 to 20% is recommended with a
conventional BIL.
For self restoring insulations, fixing margins is difficult.


Estimated using the highest equivalent crest voltage of the 1.2/50s waveshape divided
by (-gradient of CFO)
Foe altitudes above sea level, the insulation strength decreases as a linear function of the
relative air density.

NEMA Standard SG6

8. Reevaluation
If the required BILS and clearances are excessive, it may
be decreased by two methods
Additional arrestors can be used
Decreasing tower footing resistance
For unshielded lines, overhead ground wires or gaps can be
used for the second method.

Stress at the equipment

S steepness of the incoming

E Crest of the incoming surge
VPF power frequency voltage
TA arrester lead length
TT time taken /distance
between the transformer and
TB time taken/distance
between the arrester and

Voltage at the transformer with zero

arrester discharge voltage is
Independent of current
discharged by the arrestor
Tail of the incoming surge was
Half of the infinite value

Voltage at the Transformer and

Arrester-Bus Junction with Capacitance
Modeling the transformer with its surge capacitance to
ground dramatically increases the voltage at the

Reflected voltage from the

Surge voltages at the

Surge voltages at the


Voltage Behind the Arrester

Single-Line Station

Estimating the Arrester

Discharge Voltage and Current


Andrew R. Hileman, Insulation coordination for power systems, Taylor and