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7 Distribution systems-basic

techniques and radial networks

7.1 Introduction

Over the past few decades distribution systems have received considerably less of
the attention devoted to reliability modelling and evaluation than have generating
systems. The main reasons for this are that generating stations are individually very
capital intensive and that generation inadequacy can have widespread catastrophic
consequences for both society and its environment. Consequently great emphasis
has been placed on ensuring the adequacy and meeting the needs of this part of a
power system.
A distribution system, however, is relatively cheap and outages have a very
localized effect. Therefore less effort has been devoted to quantitative assessment
of the adequacy of various alternative designs and reinforcements. On the other
hand, analysis of the customer failure statistics of most utilities shows that the
distribution system makes the greatest individual contribution to the unavailability
of supply to a customer. This is illustrated by the statistics [I] shown in Table 7.1,
which relate to a particular distribution utility in the UK. Statistics such as these
reinforce the need to be concerned with the reliability evaluation of distribution
systems, to evaluate quantitatively the merits of various reinforcement schemes
available to the planner and to ensure that the limited capital resources are used to
achieve the greatest possible incremental reliability and improvement in the system.
Several other aspects must also be considered in the need to evaluate the
reliability of distribution systems. Firstly, although a given reinforcement scheme
may be relatively inexpensive, large sums of money are expended collectively on
such systems. Secondly, it is necessary to ensure a reasonable balance in the
reliability of the various constituent parts of a power system, l.e. generation,
transmission, distribution. Thirdly, a number of alternatives are available to the
distribution engineer in order to achieve acceptable customer reliability, including
alternative reinforcement schemes, allocation of spares, improvements in mainte-
nance policy, alternative operating policies. It is not possible to compare quantita-
tively the merits of such alternatives nor to compare their effect per monetary unit
expended without utilizing quantitative reliability evaluation.
These problems are now fully recognized and an increasing number ofutilities
[2, 3] throughout the world are introducing and routinely using quantitative

R. Billinton et al., Reliability Evaluation of Power Systems

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996
Distribution systems-basic techniques and radial networks 221

Table 7.1 Typical customer unavailability statistics [I]

Average unavailability per

customer year

Contributor (minutes) (%)

Generation/transmission 0.5 0.5
132 kV 2.3 2.4
66 kV and 33 kV 8.0 8.3
11 kV and 6.6 kV 58.8 60.7
Low voltage 11.5 11.9
Arranged shutdowns 15.7 16.2
Total 96.8 minutes 100.0

reliability techniques. Simultaneously, additional evaluation techniques are con-

tinuously being developed and enhanced, as shown by the rapidly growing number
ofpapers being published [4, 5] in this area.
lt is not easy to identify the year in which interest developed in quantitative
reliability evaluation of distribution systems because the techniques used initially
were based with little or no modification on the classical methods of series and
parallel systems. The greatest impetus, however, was made in 1964-65, when a set
ofpapers [6,7] was published which proposed a technique based on approximate
equations for evaluating the rate and duration of outages. This technique has formed
the basis and starting point ofmost ofthe later and more modem developments.
Since these initial developments, many papers have been published which
have considerably enhanced the basic techniques and which perrnit very realistic
and detailed modelling of power system networks. The available papers are too
numerous to identify individually and the two bibliographies [4, 5] should be
studied to ascertain this information. together with the references given in Chapters
The techniques required to analyze a distribution system depend on the type
of system being considered and the depth of analysis needed. This chapter is
concemed with the basic evaluation techniques. These are completely satisfactory
for the analysis of simple radial systems. Chapters 8 and 9 extend these basic
techniques to the evaluation of parallel and meshed systems and to the inclusion of
more refined modelling aspects.

7.2 Evaluation techniques

A radial distribution system consists of a set of series components, including lines,

cables, disconnects (or isolators), busbars, etc. A customer connected to any load
point of such a system requires all components between himself and the supply