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Electrical Power and Energy Systems 31 (2009) 489496

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Electrical Power and Energy Systems


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/ijepes

Fault location for underground distribution feeders: An extended


impedance-based formulation with capacitive current compensation
Andr D. Filomena a,*, Mariana Resener b, Rodrigo H. Salim c, Arturo S. Bretas b
a

Companhia Estadual de Gerao e Transmisso de Energia Eltrica (CEEE-GT), Av. Joaquim Porto Villanova 201, Prdio F, Sala 214, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Electrical Engineering Department, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Av. Osvaldo Aranha 103, Porto Alegre, Brazil
c
Electrical Engineering Department, University of So Paulo (USP), So Carlos, Brazil
b

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 30 September 2008
Received in revised form 26 March 2009
Accepted 29 March 2009

Keywords:
Fault location
Power distribution protection
Underground distribution systems

a b s t r a c t
Underground distribution systems are normally exposed to permanent faults, due to specic construction
characteristics. In these systems, visual inspection cannot be performed. In order to enhance service restoration, accurate fault location techniques must be applied. This paper describes an extended impedance-based fault location algorithm for underground distribution systems. The formulation is
developed on phase frame and calculates the apparent impedance using only local voltage and current
data. The technique also provides an iterative algorithm to compensate the typical capacitive component
current of underground cables. Test results are obtained from numerical simulations using a real underground distribution feeder data from the Electrical Energy Distribution State Company of Rio Grande do
Sul (CEEE-D), southern Brazil. Comparative results show the techniques accuracy and robustness in
respect to fault type, distance and resistance.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Electrical power systems (EPS) can be composed by overhead
and underground lines. Overhead lines are commonly exposed to
transient faults. Lightning, insulation breakdown, wind, and trees
across lines are the most common fault causes on these feeders.
In these systems, fault identication and location can be easily assisted by visual inspection. Considering the occurrence of permanent faults, the existence of fault distance estimates may restrict
the search areas, allowing a faster system restoration. These estimates may be provided by embedded fault location techniques
from fault locator equipments and also by digital protection relays
and fault recorders. In order to supply these needs, several impedance-based fault location formulations have been proposed, considering overhead transmission [1,2] and distribution lines [35].
Underground distribution systems (UDS) are characterized by
high reliability and are usually applied in big urban areas. However, underground power cables are typically exposed to permanent faults. Cable isolation deterioration and water-treeing
phenomena are the most common fault causes on these systems
[6]. Hence, maintenance crew intervention is required to locate
and substitute, or repair, the faulty feeder. Therefore, system restoration becomes maintenance crew dependant. Due to the topolog-

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +55 51 33825220; fax: +55 51 33824349.


E-mail addresses: alomena@ece.ufrgs.br (A.D. Filomena), mariana@ece.ufrgs.br
(M. Resener), salim@sel.eesc.usp.br (R.H. Salim), abretas@ece.ufrgs.br (A.S. Bretas).
0142-0615/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ijepes.2009.03.026

ical characteristics of UDS, visual inspection cannot be performed


as overhead power systems. In order to enhance system restoration, online fault location equipment should be used. These devices
provide a fault distance estimate after the fault clearance. If the
fault location estimate is unavailable, system restoration becomes
very time consuming, delaying service restoration.
Traditional UDS fault location procedure is based on two or
more methods and is developed through two stages: pre-locate
and pinpoint. The pre-locate step is based on terminal methods,
which measure electrical quantities at one or both line-ends. Tracer methods are used to pinpoint the fault location, and usually request walking the cable route. Both are considered ofine and on
site techniques, being executed with the system out-of-service
and also characterized by low performance efciency [7,8]. Recently, fault location techniques for underground systems based
on transient voltages and currents traveling waves have also been
proposed [9]. However, this approach requires expensive data
acquisition systems, with high bandwidth frequency capacity
[10]. The application of articial intelligence approach on fault
location schemes, as Wavelets and neuro-fuzzy systems, has also
been recently considered [11]. The usage of neural networks, however, needs a specic learning process to each analyzed feeder.
Consequently, this approach does not allow its application on generic feeders. Distribution parameter approach considering underground power cables has been also proposed [12]. Although this
approach allows an accurately analysis of the underground power
cables, the usage of symmetrical components restricts its application to ideally balanced and transposed feeders.

490

A.D. Filomena et al. / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 31 (2009) 489496

Power distribution systems (PDS) are typically composed by


unbalanced radial feeders with intermediate loads taps and laterals
branches. These systems have important characteristics which may
interfere, if not considered, in the accuracy level of fault location
techniques [8,10]. Some of these characteristics are given in the
following:

2. Fault location formulation


The proposed fault location formulation is based on the apparent impedance calculation. The method uses the sending-end voltages and currents as input data, as well as system parameters, such
as loads, cables series impedances, and shunt admittance matrices.

VFc

(L-x)(zcc)

ISfb

VFb

(L-x)(zbb) ILb

ISfa

VFa

(L-x)(zaa) ILa

VSfc
VSfb

VSfa

(a) Heterogeneity of feeders given by different size and cable


length.
(b) Unbalances due to the untransposed feeders and by the
presence of single, double and three-phase loads.
(c) Presence of laterals branches along the main feeder.
(d) Presence of load taps along the main feeder and laterals.
Also, PDS are more commonly exposed to higher fault resistance
values, which can affect fault location and also protection systems
[8].
Underground systems are also characterized by a signicant
distributed shunt capacitive component, much higher than overhead lines, due to the cable characteristics [13]. In this case, the
capacitive effect can be considered as an infeed source. These specics system characteristics still represent challenges for standard
fault location techniques [8].
In order to overcome the performance limitations of standard
fault location methods for UDS, an extended impedance-based formulation is described in this paper. The technique is based on the
apparent impedance approach, using one-terminal data and is
developed on phase frame. The formulation can be applied on generic balanced and unbalanced grounded distribution feeders. An
iterative algorithm is developed to estimate the fault current and
also to compensate the typical cables distributed capacitive component. The proposed scheme was implemented in Matlab [14]
and tested with numerical simulation data of a real underground
distribution feeder from Companhia Estadual de Distribuio de
Energia Eltrica (CEEE-D), a Brazilian power distribution utility,
simulated with ATP/EMTP [15].
This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 describes the proposed fault location formulation considering three-phase (3PH)
and single line-to-ground (SLG) faults. The case study is presented
in Section 3. Test results and conclusions are discussed in Sections
4 and 5, respectively.

S
ISfc

[YS]abc

ZFa

[ICap]abc

ILc

[YR]abc

IFa

ZL abc

x
Fig. 2. Single line-to-ground fault.

In order to consider the mutual line components, the mathematical development is done using the phase frame representation.
The formulation is developed for three-phase and single line-toground faults considering the underground distribution feeder represented as an ideal p-line model, as illustrated by Figs. 1 and 2.
Still, the formulation considers a negligible shunt conductance value. Also, supposing a grounded neutral, the electric eld created
by the phase conductor is conned to the cables insulation. Thus,
only self capacitances are considered by the formulation, without
any mutual shunt component and the shunt admittance matrix,
therefore, is composed only by non-zero elements in its main diagonal [16].
2.1. Three-phase faults
Referring to the three-phase fault illustrated in Fig. 1, the sending-end voltages during the disturbance are given by (1), which describes the steady-state fault conditions:

V Sfa

zaa

6
7
6
4 V Sfb 5 x  4 zba
V Sfc
zca

zab

zac

3 2

IXa

V Fa

zbb

7 6 7 6
7
zbc 5  4 IX b 5 4 V Fb 5

zcb

zcc

IXc

V Fc

where VSfm is the phase m sending-end voltage; x, the fault distance


[m]; zmm, the phase m self impedance [X/m] and zmn is the mutual
impedance between phases m and n [X/m]. Also,

IX m ISfm  ICapm

where ISfm is the phase m sending-end current; ICapm, the phase m


capacitive current; VFm, the phase m fault point voltage and m, n
are the phases a, b, or c

V F m Z F m  IF m

ZFm is the phase m fault impedance; IF m is the phase m fault current.


Considering the fault impedances strictly resistive, constant and
unknown, the voltage equations given by (1) can be expanded into
its real and imaginary parts:

[YR]abc

Fig. 1. Three-phase fault.

V Sfar x  M1a RF a  IF ar

V Sfai x  M 2a RF a  IF ai

V Sfbr x  M 1b RF b  IF br

V Sfbi x  M2b RF b  IF bi

V Sfcr x  M 1c RF c  IF cr

V Sfci x  M 2c RF c  IF ci

where the subscripts r and i represent, respectively, the real and


imaginary parts and RFm are the fault resistances. Also, M1m and
M2m are dened by:

A.D. Filomena et al. / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 31 (2009) 489496

M 1m

zmkr  IX kr  zmki  IXki 

10

kfa;b;cg

M 2m

zmkr  IX ki zmki  IXkr 

11

kfa;b;cg

From (4)(9), there is a set of six independent expressions and


four unknown variables. Nevertheless, only four independent
expressions are necessary to calculate the fault distance and resistances. Isolating the unknown variables from (4)(6) and (9) yields
the fault distance and resistance expressions, which can be described in matrix form according to (12)

31 2

M 1a

IF ar

6 R 7 6 M2
6 Fa 7 6 a
6
76
4 RF b 5 4 M 1b
M 1c
RF c

IF ai

IF br

0 7
7
7
0 5

V Sfar

491

feeder length [13]. However, the fault location formulation developed previously is based on an ideal p-line model, supposing line
capacitance lumped at sending and receiving ends. In order to consider the capacitive effect by the fault location process, the capacitance ideal distributed nature is approximated. In the proposed
formulation, the line capacitance is not equally distributed between both ends, but dependant to the fault distance estimate.
Therefore, the sending-end shunt capacitance is supposed proportional to the fault distance, as described by (17)

x
ySm  yLm
L

17

Referring to the single line-to-ground (A-g) fault, as illustrated


in Fig. 2, the sending-end voltage during the disturbance is given
by (13):

where ySm is the sending-end phase m shunt admittance; yLm, total


line section phase m shunt admittance and L is the line section
length.
However, from the supposed p-line model, in this formulation
the maximum value of the equivalent lumped capacitance at each
line-end is restricted to 50% of the line section capacitance. Therefore, even for faults located close to the remote bus, the sendingend lumped shunt capacitance will not be close to the total section
line capacitance. In this fault condition, the capacitance will be
considered equally distributed through the sending and remote
ends.
Based on the estimated shunt admittance values to each phase,
the sending-end capacitive currents are calculated using the sending-end voltages, as given by (18)

V Sfa V Fa x  zaa  IXa zab  IXb zac  IXc

ICap  Y S   V Sf 

6 V Sf 7
6 ai 7
6
7
4 V Sfbr 5

12

V Sfcr

IF cr

The mathematical solution of (12) is dependant of two unknown variables: the fault current and the sending-end capacitive
current. In order to calculate such estimates, an iterative algorithm
is proposed, which will be described in Section 2.3.
2.2. Single line-to-ground faults

13

Supposing again the fault impedance strictly resistive and constant, (13) may be expanded into its real and imaginary parts:

where

"

ySa
6
Y S  4 0
0

V Sfar

V Sfai

"

M 1a

IF ar

M 2a

IF ai

# 

x

RF a

14

From (14), the fault distance may be calculated as a function of


the sending-end voltages and currents, as well as the line
parameters:

x
RF

M 1a IF ai


IF ai
1
 M2a IF ar M 2a

IF ar
M 1a

#
 "
V Sfar

V Sfai

15

From (15), the fault distance independent mathematical expression can be obtained (16):

V Sfar  IF ai  V Sfai  IF ar
M 1a  IF ai  M 2a  IF ar

16

Once again, fault distance expression (16) is dependant to fault


current and sending-end capacitive current, both unknown. These
estimates are provided through an iterative algorithm described in
Section 2.3.
2.3. Capacitive and fault currents estimates
Fault distance estimates for three-phase and single line-toground faults provided by expressions (12) and (16) are dependant
of two unknown variables: fault current and sending-end capacitive current. In order to estimate such values, an iterative algorithm is proposed. The algorithm considers systems topological
characteristics and the voltages and currents measured at the substation terminal. Initially, this section aims to provide the theoretical fundamentals to calculate these unknown currents estimates,
which are applied during the fault distance iterative algorithm latter described in this section.
2.3.1. Sending-end capacitive current
Line shunt capacitance is a typical and non-negligible parameter of underground cables, which is ideally distributed along the

0
ySb
0

18
3
0
0 7
5
ySc

19

2.3.2. Fault current


Since the fault currents (IFm) are also unknown in (12) and (16),
these estimates may be calculated through electric circuit analysis.
Referring to the faulty systems illustrated by Figs. 1 and 2, the fault
current can be calculated as function of: load current, sending-end
capacitive current and the sending-end current

IF  ISf   ICap   IL 

20

Due to system dynamics, the load current during the disturbance may be different from the pre-fault period [3]. Therefore,
the usage of the pre-fault load current as estimate during the fault
may provide inaccurate load currents estimates.
In order to overcome this limitation, the proposed formulation
develops an iterative algorithm, as described in the following.
2.3.3. Iterative algorithm
In order to consider the dependency of the fault distance
expressions (12) and (16) to the sending-end capacitive current
and the load current during the fault, an iterative algorithm is
developed. The iterative procedure, which is summarized on
Fig. 3, is fault type independent and is executed until the estimated
fault distance value converges. The algorithm is composed by the
following steps:
(I) Line section shunt admittances are initially considered
equally distributed between sending and receiving line-ends
(21)

ySm yRm

yLm
2

21

where yRm is the receiving-end phase m shunt admittance.

492

A.D. Filomena et al. / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 31 (2009) 489496

(II) Load currents during the disturbance are initially considered


equal to the pre-fault period values

IL abc IS abc

(III)
(IV)
(V)
(VI)
(VII)

3 2
3
2
V Sfa
V Fa
zaa
6
7 6
7
6
4 V F b 5 4 V Sfb 5  x  4 zba
V Sfc
V Fc
zca

22

where IS is the three-phase pre-fault sending-end current


vector.
Sending-end capacitive current vector is calculated using
(18).
Fault currents are calculated by (20).
Fault distance is estimated using (12) or (16), according to
the analyzed fault type.
A new sending-end shunt admittance is calculated by
(17).
The algorithm veries if the estimated sending-end shunt
admittance violates the capacitive restriction, due to the pline model, dened by (23)

ySm

(IX) Fault location voltages are estimated through (24):

y
P Lm
2

23

(a) If the calculated shunt admittance ySm is greater than


the set value, 50% threshold is applied to the total line
section admittance. Thus, shunt admittance is equally
distributed by the two section terminals (ySm = yRm), as
described by (21), due to the considered p-line model
topology.
(b) Otherwise, consider the estimated value from (17).
(VIII) A new sending-end capacitive current is calculated by
(18).

zab
zbb

3 2 3
zac
IXa
7 6 7
zbc 5  4 IX b 5

zcb

zcc

(X) A receiving-end capacitive reactance matrix is dened by (25)

X C  L  x  Y L 1

25

where YL is the shunt admittance matrix of the line section.


(XI) An equivalent line-end admittance matrix between load,
receiving-end capacitive reactance, and also series impedance between the fault location and the sending-end is
established by (26)

Y leq  fL  x  Z Z L ==j  X C g1

26

where Z is the impedance matrix per unit length and ZL is the


load impedance matrix.
(XII) The load current during the fault is calculated using the
equivalent admittance matrix dened by (26) and the fault
voltages calculated by (24), according to (27):

IL abc Y leq   V F abc

27

(XIII) Check if the fault distance has converged, using (28)

jxn  xn  1j < d

28

where n is the iteration number and d is the error tolerance,


which is previously dened according to the accuracy and

START

Intial shunt
admitance estimate

ySm

y Rm

y Lm

Initial load current


estimate

IL

IS

Capacite current estimate


in terminal S

Fault current
calculation

Convergence Analysis

Fault distance
estimate

Converged?

No

Fault location
voltage calculation

Terminal S shunt
admitance estimate

Receiving-end capacitive
reactance matrix
calculation

No

0 .5 L
?

Yes

Terminal R admitance
equivalent estimate

ySm
Load current
estimate

24

IXc

y Rm

y Lm
2

Fig. 3. Iterative fault location algorithm overview.

ySm

x
yL
L m

Yes

Fault
Distance

A.D. Filomena et al. / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 31 (2009) 489496

computational time desired. In this work a tolerance equal to


0.1% of each analyzed section line length has been used.
(XIV) If the fault distance has converged, stop the iterative algorithm. Otherwise, return to Step V with the updated sending-end capacitive and load currents until the estimated
fault distance value converges.

2.4. Intermediate loads


The previous described algorithm is developed for radial feeders
with a single load. In order to consider radial distribution systems
with intermediate loads, the fault location process is extended
through an iterative search process. The procedure starts using
voltages and currents measured at the substation terminal. With
the presented fault location formulation, fault distance is initially
estimated. If the fault distance estimate obtained is beyond the
analyzed section length (L), the fault is considered external. In this
case, the algorithm is applied again using the voltages and currents
updated to the downstream bus. Since the measured voltages and
currents are available only from one terminal (substation), the
voltages and currents at the downstream bus are estimated
through electric circuit analysis, described by (29)

V t1  V t   Z t   It 

29

where
[Vt] bus t three-phase voltages vector.
[Zt] impedance matrix of the line section between buses t and
t + 1.
[It] bus t three-phase currents vector.
Considering a constant impedance load model, the downstream
load current is given by (30)

ILt1  Y Lt1   V t1 

30

where [ILt+1] is the bus t + 1 three-phase load current and [YLt+1] is


its admittance matrix. Thus, the downstream line current can be
calculated by (31):

It1  It   ILt1 

31

Based on the voltages and currents estimates at the downstream bus, the fault location algorithm is once again executed to
the respective line section. The process is repeated until the fault
location estimate converges to a distance internal to the analyzed
section.

493

impedances, representing lines and loads. Such approach, however,


is not well suited for large distribution systems, especially on systems with a high degree of coupling between phases. Instead, a
power ow algorithm could be used. The advantage of such approach is that these algorithms are well known, have great precision and are easy to be applied in general distribution systems.
The proposed fault location scheme applies a ladder techniquebased three-phase power ow [16], which is an iterative process
developed for radial distribution systems applications. The
implemented power ow considers the distribution systems
non-linearities and asymmetrical phase coupling. Thus, the proposed fault location formulation can be applied to each equivalent
system. The following procedure is proposed to develop a fault
location diagnosis to general feeders with laterals.
(I) Run a three-phase power ow algorithm [16], considering
the pre-fault conditions.
(II) Calculate the equivalent impedances in each node, Zeqkp,
using (32)

Z eqkpm V km  I1
kpm

32

where V K m is the phase m pre-fault voltage at bus k [V]; Ikpm , the


pre-fault phase m current owing from bus k to bus p [A]; k, the lateral upstream bus to be modeled as equivalent constant impedance
and p is the lateral downstream bus to be modeled as equivalent
constant impedance.
(III) Determine the possible number of PPFP.
(IV) Select one PPFP and determine the nodes with laterals.
(V) For each node with lateral, determine an equivalent load,
considering only the previously calculated equivalent
impedances, Zeq, outside the path being analyzed.
(VI) For each node with lateral and also loads, calculate the parallel between loads and the equivalent load determined on
Step V. This is the nal equivalent load for the nodes in
the path being analyzed.
(VII) Go back to Step IV until all the n equivalent systems are
determined.
(VIII) Execute the fault location algorithm for each equivalent system. A total of n fault locations will be determined.
(IX) Determine the correct fault location and path, using a fault
section determination algorithm, as proposed by the authors
in [18]. In this paper, the fault section determination is considered previously known.

3. Case study
2.5. System laterals
Power distribution systems are typically composed by a main
feeder and laterals branches. Laterals are main feeder branches
not always composed by three-phase connections. The proposed
formulation was developed considering radial feeders without laterals. In order to extend the described formulation for PDS with
laterals, it is proposed the application of equivalent radial systems.
In this case, the proposed formulation calculates equivalent systems to each possible power ow path (PPFP), resulting on n equivalent radial systems, where n is the number of laterals.
The equivalent systems are dened through the transformation
of the lines and loads outside the path being analyzed, into equivalent constant impedances along the system. Since the fault location scheme analyzes the system in the rst fault cycle, this
assumption can be considered as a reasonable approximation [17].
The consideration of equivalent impedances has already been
proposed in previously published papers [4]. This consideration
was based in a systematic computation of parallel and series

In order to analyze the proposed fault location technique performance, the model of a real 13.8 kV underground distribution
feeder from Companhia Estadual de Distribuio de Energia Eltrica (CEEE-D), Brazil, was simulated with ATP/EMTP [15]. The voltages source was described as Type 14 AC source, simulated at
60 Hz with a sample rate of 192 samples per cycle. A modied Fourier lter [19] was implemented to remove the DC component and
estimate the voltages and currents fundamental components.
The analyzed underground feeder, denominated PL1 (East Private 1) and illustrated by Fig. 4, is composed by 9 load buses and
four independent three-phase branches. The main feeder is composed by 750 MCM and the laterals branches by 4/0 AWG, both
Aluminum tape shielded cables. PL1 system is also composed by
three-phase loads, which were modeled as Y-connected constant
impedances with neutral grounding and given by Table 1.
In order to represent the distributed nature of lines shunt
capacitance, each line section was modeled in ATP/EMTP cascading
several p-circuits, calculated from Carsons equations [16,20]. This

494

A.D. Filomena et al. / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 31 (2009) 489496

4
360 m
95 m
13.8 kV 1

2
1694 m

763 m

245 m

295 m

114 m

11

10

9
100 m

152 m

Substation
PAL 4
200 m
8

750 MCM
4/0 AWG

Fig. 4. PL1 distribution feeder.

Table 1
Three-phase loads in 1PL feeder.
Bus

Load [kVA]

Bus

Load [kVA]

Bus

Load [kVA]

2
3
4

500
2500
500

5
6
8

600
600
500

9
10
11

500
600
500

4.1. Fault resistance effect

procedure approximates the frequency dependency effect of the


hyperbolic correction factors [21].
Single line-to-ground (A-g) and three-phase faults were simulated considering the following scenarios:
 Seventy-seven different fault locations (covering all system laterals and sections).
 Five different fault resistances: 0, 10, 20, 50, and 100 X.
 Total: 770 faults.
Fault distance estimate error was calculated according to (33)

e%

jx  distj
 100
LT

fault location formulation for power distribution systems [4] is


performed. The results presented in this paper represent exclusively the proposed formulation performance, without any additional errors, as the ones introduced by measurement devices.

33

where x is the fault distance estimate, dist is the real fault distance,
and LT is the total line length, equal to 3363 meters for the PL1
feeder.
4. Results
The obtained test results are analyzed in this section considering the following aspects: fault resistance, fault distance and the
shunt admittance component effect. Also, a comparison between
the proposed technique and a recently published impedance-based

In order to analyze the effect of different fault resistance values


on the fault location formulation performance, simulations considering ve different fault resistances have been used. The test results obtained for single line-to-ground and three-phase faults
are presented on Table 2.
Analyzing the results, it can be observed an error increase for
higher fault resistances. However, the fault distance estimate is
not signicantly affected by the fault resistance value. Considering
the average errors over the 77 simulated fault locations, the difference between the results associated to 0.001 X and 100 X is smaller than 0.8% for SLG and 3PH faults.
Thus, the highest errors were obtained with the highest fault
resistance test set, equal to 100 X. However, the obtained errors
show the efciency and robustness of the methodology. In these
fault conditions, the fault location scheme yielded maximum errors smaller than 2% and 3% for single line-to-ground and threephase faults, respectively. Considering the simulated cases without
any fault resistance, the proposed formulation obtained negligible
errors on both analyzed fault types.
The fault resistance effect may be explained by the erroneous
estimation of the fault current during high resistance faults [22],
and is also associated to the so-called reactance error [8]. This effect is easily observed considering the test conditions with nonnegligible fault resistances values. During solid faults, the current
divider circuit of the faulted system is composed by the load

Table 2
Proposed fault location formulation performance.
RF [X]

0.001
10
20
50
100

Single line-to-ground faults

Three-phase faults

Average error [%]

Maximum error [%]

Minimum error [%]

Average error [%]

Maximum error [%]

Minimum error [%]

0.019
0.038
0.079
0.282
0.799

0.060
0.173
0.303
0.586
1.845

0.001
0.005
0.003
0.053
0.010

0.096
0.052
0.111
0.379
0.74

0.245
0.144
0.32
1.252
2.763

0.002
0.003
0.002
0.001
0

A.D. Filomena et al. / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 31 (2009) 489496

tance values, this condition cannot be considered. In this condition,


the faulted equivalents circuit is also composed by the fault resistance. Consequently, inaccuracies associated to the load current
estimates process become a source of error to the fault distance
estimate, introduced by the fault current value.

0.08

Error [%]

0.06

0.04

4.2. Fault distance effect

0.02

0.00
169

1525

2228

2528

2723

2872

2992

3072

3137

3241

Fault Distance [m]

0.50

Error [%]

0.40
0.30
0.20
0.10
0.00
169

1525

2228

2528

2723

2872

2992

3072

3137

3241

Fault Distance [m]

2.00

1.50

Error [%]

495

In order to characterize the fault distance effect in the proposed


fault location formulation, the obtained test results over the 77
simulated fault points are illustrated by Fig. 5ac considering single line-to-ground faults.
Based on the obtained results, it can be observed that the formulation efciency is independent of the fault location. From the
simulated test cases with 100-X fault resistance, illustrated by
Fig. 5c, the fault location scheme performance shows that there
is no signicant variation of the fault distance estimate as the simulated fault distance is modied.
However, Fig. 5c also clearly illustrates the existence of two
areas of the PL1 feeder where the proposed method provides higher errors. These areas are located close to 2500 and 3000 m from
the substation terminal and represent the internal faults in lateral
branches between buses 3-4 and 5-6, respectively. The above cited
higher errors are associated to faults located inside these branches
and may be explained by the inaccuracies associated to system
equivalents determination process. The equivalent constant
impedances, which are calculated with the pre-fault data, introduce inaccuracies regarding to the load current estimate iterative
process. Consequently, although the method performance is not directly affected by the fault distance, the system topology affects
the fault location schemes performance. According to tests, this effect may be explained by the presence of lateral equivalents along
the feeder length.

1.00

4.3. Capacitive effect


0.50

0.00
169

1525

2228

2528

2723

2872

2992

3072

3137

3241

Fault Distance [m]


Fig. 5. Single line-to-ground (A-g) fault location results in different fault points
from proposed formulation. (a) RF = 0 X, (b) RF = 20 X, (c) RF = 100 X.

impedance and the negligible fault resistance. Therefore, the


source current entirely feeds the fault and the fault current will
be close to the rst. Consequently, the associated error to the fault
distance is negligible. However, with non-negligible fault resis-

Table 3
Lee et al. fault location formulation performance.
Fault type

RF [X]

Lee et. al.


Average error [%]

Maximum error [%]

SLG

0.001
10
20
50
100

0.023
2.293
7.804
30.512
70.948

0.064
2.525
8.820
36.645
79.426

3PH

0.001
10
20
50
100

0.024
2.294
7.811
30.534
71.017

0.046
2.234
8.801
36.492
79.565

The proposed fault location scheme is based on the development of a capacitive current compensation procedure. The benets
of this compensation are analyzed through the comparison between the proposed techniques results with a recently published
impedance-based fault location formulation for power distribution
systems [4]. This technique does not consider the shunt capacitive
component in its formulation.
Table 3 presents the obtained results from [4] considering PL1
simulations. One of the rst aspects related to the comparison between [4] and the proposed formulation is the effect of the fault
resistance value. The 0-X test set demonstrated that the effect of
the capacitive current compensation is minimized during solid
faults. In this test scenario, both techniques presented similar performances for SLG and 3PH faults. This is explained by the small
amplitude of the capacitive current when compared to the fault
current.
However, for higher fault resistance values, the capacitive current effect increases. According to Table 3, during these test conditions, fault distance estimates obtained by [4] are strongly affected
by the capacitive current. Nevertheless, the proposed formulation
is not affected by the capacitive current effect.
The analysis of the 20-X three-phase faults case-test shows a
maximum error obtained by [4] close to 9% of the line length,
which represents approximately 300 m. In the same fault condition, the proposed extended formulation presented a better performance, obtaining a maximum error equal to 0.206%, which
represents less than 7 meters of inaccuracy.
Considering the 100-X scenario, the average and maximum errors obtained from [4] on both analyzed fault types are higher than
70% and 79%, respectively. In this case, the capacitive current intro-

496

A.D. Filomena et al. / Electrical Power and Energy Systems 31 (2009) 489496

duces an average error higher than 2354 m, not suitable to any


fault location process.
Considering the same fault conditions, the proposed extended
formulation obtained errors close to 1% and 2% for average and
maximum errors for SLG and 3PH faults. In these extreme fault
conditions, the average inaccuracy introduced by the proposed
technique represents approximately 33 m.
5. Conclusions
This paper proposes and discusses an extended impedancebased fault location formulation for underground distribution systems. The formulation uses as input data, local voltages and currents, measured at one terminal (substation) and is developed for
single line-to-ground and three-phase faults. A capacitive current
compensation procedure is proposed to consider underground
cables typical characteristic. Furthermore, the fault location
scheme is suitable for grounded generic balanced or unbalanced
distribution systems with laterals branches and intermediate
loads.
Test results demonstrate an accurate and robust fault location
technique. The method performance is independent of the fault
resistance and distance values. System topology, regarding the
existence of lateral branches, may affect the fault distance estimate
accuracy level. However, even in the worst simulated test conditions, the formulation obtained encouraging results.
The comparison with a recently published [4] impedance-based
fault location technique demonstrates the accuracy improvements
obtained by the proposed extension. Since recently proposed
impedance-based [35] fault location formulations for PDS do
not consider lines capacitance, its application on underground
feeders produces very inaccurate results. According to obtained
test results, this inaccuracy is dependant and proportional to the
fault resistance value.
The proposed formulation based on underground feeders
capacitive current compensation overcomes this limitation. The
formulation provides accurate fault distance estimates, and is suitable even in higher fault resistance values conditions. Finally, the
application of the proposed fault location formulation in real
underground distribution feeders can be easily implemented and
may reduce the maintenance crew intervention time, enhancing
systems restoration.
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