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Indira Gandhi

National Open University
School of Engineering and Technology POWER



Introduction to the Power Distribution System 7


Substation Equipment and Distribution Lines 49


Distribution Transformer 77
Course Design Committee
Shri R.V. Shahi Prof. S.C. Garg
Former Secretary, Ministry of Power School of Sciences
Govt. of India IGNOU
Shri Arvind Jadhav Prof. Gayatri Kansal
Former Joint Secretary, Distribution School of Engineering and Technology
Ministry of Power, Govt. of India IGNOU
Shri V.S. Saxena
Prof. Vijayshri
Director, Power Finance Corporation
School of Sciences
Shri Gaurav Bhatiani IGNOU
Project Manager, USAID, India
Shri Vinod Behari Dr. Ajit Kumar
GM(HRD), Power Finance Corporation School of Engineering and Technology
Dr. D. Ray
Addl. GM (HRD) Sh. R.K. Chaudhry
Power Finance Corporation NPTI, Delhi
Shri Sudhir Vadehra Ms. Indu Maheshwari
Chief, DRUM Project Secretariat NPTI, Delhi
Project Coordinator: Prof. S.C. Garg
Programme Coordinator: Mrs. Rakhi Sharma

Block Preparation Team

Shri Pankaj Prakash, Editor Ms. Anjuli Chandra
Director (Finance) Director, CEA
Uttaranchal Electricity Regulatory Commission
Mr. N. R. Halder Prof. Vijayshri
NPTI, Delhi School of Sciences, IGNOU
Mrs. Rakhi Sharma
School of Engineering and Technology, IGNOU
Course Coordinator: Mrs. Rakhi Sharma
Acknowledgements: Prof. S.C. Garg for valuable comments and suggestions on the units.
The contribution of Shri Pankaj Batra, Director, CEA to the section on Grid Management, Load
Scheduling and Load Balancing is thankfully acknowledged. Some material contained in the
units has been sourced from the courses developed under the DRUM project, and is thankfully
Shri Y.N.Sharma, SO(P) Shri Aditya Gupta
School of Engineering and Technology, IGNOU

This programme has been developed by the School of Engineering and Technology, IGNOU in
collaboration with the Ministry of Power, USAID-India and the Power Finance Corporation under
the Distribution Reform Upgrades and Management (DRUM) Project.
March, 2007
© Indira Gandhi National Open University, 2007
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any form, by mimeograph or any other means, without permission in
writing from the Indira Gandhi National Open University.
Further information on the Indira Gandhi National Open University courses may be obtained from the University’s office at
Maidan Garhi, New Delhi-110 068.
Printed and published on behalf of Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi by Director, School of Engineering &
Printed at
Operation and Maintenance 5

Unit 4 Introduction to the Power Distribution System

4.1 Introduction 8
4.2 Description of the Power Distribution System 8
Voltage Levels 10
Conductors 10
High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS) 11
4.3 Components of the Distribution System 13
Substation 13
Transformer 14
Feeders 16
Meters for Measurement of Energy and Other
Electrical Quantities 19
4.4 Distribution System Planning 20
Planning Horizon 21
Principal Areas of Activity 22
4.5 Operation and Maintenance Objectives
and Activities 26
Operation and Maintenance Objectives 26
Activities Involved in Operation and Maintenance 28
Renovation and Modernisation (R&M) and Life
Extension Schemes 28
4.6 Grid Management, Load Scheduling and
Load Balancing 30
Grid Management 31
Load Scheduling and Dispatch 35
Load Balancing 39
4.7 Summary 41
4.8 Terminal Questions 42
Appendix 1 Reactive Power Control in Distribution
Systems 43
Appendix 2 Functions of O&M 45

Unit 5 Substation Equipment and Distribution Lines

5.1 Introduction 50
5.2 66-33/11 kV Substation Equipment 50
5.3 11/0.4 kV Substation Equipment 57
5.4 Distribution Line Equipment 60
Overhead Lines 60
Underground Power Cables 65
5.5 O&M Practices for Substation Equipment
and Distribution Lines 68
General Maintenance Practices 68
Maintenance of Lines 70
Operation and Maintenance of Capacitors 71
Hot Line Maintenance 72
5.6 Length of LT Lines, HT:LT Ratio and
Impact on Losses and Voltage 73
Impact of Increasing HT Lines 74
5.7 Summary 74
5.8 Terminal Questions 75

Unit 6 Distribution Transformer

6.1 Introduction 78
6.2 Distribution Transformers: Selection and
Placement 78
Classification of Transformers 78
Criteria for Transformer Selection 80
Placement of Transformers 81
6.3 Reasons for Transformer Failures 81
Ageing 82
Manufacturing Defects 83
Improper Structure of Distribution Transformer 85
Impact of Natural Calamities 85
Improper Operation and Maintenance (O&M) 86
6.4 Transformer Testing 87
Testing of Windings−Insulation and Mechanical
Strength 87
Testing of Insulating Transformer Oil 88
Other Tests 90
6.5 Enhancing Transformer Life and Efficiency 90
Transformer Operation 91
Maintenance Methods 93
6.6 Summary 96
6.7 Terminal Questions 96
Appendix 1 Case Studies on Averting Distribution
Transformer Failure 98
Appendix 2 A Checklist for Preventive Maintenance
of Distribution Transformers 103
In Block 1, you have learnt about the challenges that the power distribution sector in
India is faced with such as huge transmission and distribution losses, unreliable
power supply, poor quality, lack of concern for consumers and a highly skewed tariff
structure. You have also studied about the salient features of the Energy
Conservation Act, 2001, Electricity Act, 2003, the National Electricity Policy and the
National Tariff Policy. We have discussed the distribution reforms being ushered in
the otherwise monopolistic service sector. The overarching aim of these reforms is
to help the power sector overcome its weaknesses. You will agree that distribution is
the cutting-edge of the power industry and it needs to get back on the right track.

This Block is dedicated to the most critical part of the power system viz. the Power
Distribution System or simply the Distribution System. The Units in the block
describe the components of the Distribution System and the philosophy and
practices of their operation and maintenance.

Unit 4 (entitled Introduction to the Power Distribution System) is devoted to the

general description of the Distribution System and spells out the operation and
maintenance philosophy, objectives and activities. It also touches upon an overview
of the planning process and the concept of grid management, load scheduling and
load balancing in the context of the Distribution System.

Units 5 and 6 go deeper into the components of the Distribution System describing
their operation and maintenance practices. Unit 5 as is evident from its title,
Substation Equipment and Distribution Lines, deals with the O&M of the
substation equipment and distribution lines and Unit 6 (entitled Distribution
Transformer) covers the working principle, operation and maintenance of
Distribution Transformers in detail.

We hope that the information about the power distribution system and the O&M
practices presented here would help you in improving the performance of the power
distribution system and deliver reliable quality power to the consumer within optimum
fixed and operating costs. We wish you all the very best!
Unit 4

Introduction to
Learning Objectives the Power
After studying this unit, you should be able to: System
 describe the important features of the power
distribution system;

 outline the advantages of high voltage

distribution system (HVDS);

 describe various components of the power

distribution system;

 explain various activities involved in distribution

system planning;

 discuss the operation and maintenance

principles and practices for the power
distribution system; and

 explain the fundamental features of grid

management, load scheduling and load
Operation and
Maintenance 4.1 INTRODUCTION

In Unit 1 of Block 1, you have been very briefly introduced to the power supply
system. You have also learnt in Unit 1 that the demand for electrical power in
India is enormous and growing steadily. Units 2 and 3 have provided you an
overview of the power sector with a special focus on the power distribution
sector, which is responsible for covering the last mile in reaching power to the

In this Unit, we give a description of the power distribution system and its
components. We acquaint you with the concept of distribution system
planning, which forms the basis for the smooth operation of the power
distribution system. We also present the general principles and practices
underlying the operation and maintenance of the system. In the next Unit, we
deal specifically with the operation of substation equipment, distribution lines
and their maintenance requirements.



You are familiar with the power supply system. You know that electricity is
generated at 11 kV by electrical generators which utilise the energy from
thermal, hydro, nuclear, and renewable energy resources. To transmit
electricity over long distances, the supply voltage is stepped up to 132/220/
400/800 kV, as required. Electricity is carried through a transmission
network of high voltage lines. Usually, these lines run into hundreds of
kilometres and deliver the power into a common power pool called the grid.
The grid is connected to load centres (cities) through a sub-transmission
network of usually 33 kV (or sometimes 66 kV) lines. These lines terminate
into a 33 kV (or 66 kV) substation, where the voltage is stepped-down to 11 kV
for power distribution to load points through a distribution network of lines at
11 kV and lower.
The power network of concern to the end-user is the distribution network of
11 kV lines or feeders downstream of the 33 kV substations. Each 11 kV
feeder which emanates from the 33 kV substation branches further into
several subsidiary 11 kV feeders to carry power close to the load points
(localities, industrial areas, villages, etc.). At these load points, a transformer
further reduces the voltage from 11 kV to 415 V to provide the last-mile
connection through 415 V feeders (also called Low Tension (LT) feeders) to
individual customers, either at 240 V (as single-phase supply) or at 415 V (as
three-phase supply). The utility voltage of 415 V, 3-phase is used for running
the motors for industry and agricultural pump sets and 240 V, single phase is
used for lighting in houses, schools, hospitals and for running industries,
commercial establishments, etc.
A feeder could be either an overhead line or an underground cable. In urban
areas, owing to the density of customers, the length of an 11 kV feeder is
8 generally up to 3 km. On the other hand, in rural areas, the feeder length is
much larger (up to 20 km). A 415 V feeder should normally be restricted to Introduction to
the Power
about 0.5 −1.0 km. Unduly long feeders lead to low voltage at the consumer Distribution
end. The power supply system, including the distribution network, is depicted System
in Fig. 4.1.

Fig. 4.1: Typical Electric Power Supply System with Distribution Network

The main components of the power distribution system and their brief
descriptions are given in Table 4.1.

Table 4.1: Components of the Power Distribution System

Component Description

Grid Substation (GSS) Power from transmission network is delivered

to sub-transmission network after stepping
down the voltage to 66 kV or 33 kV through
220/132/66/33kV Grid substations.

Sub-transmission Network Power is carried at 66 or 33 kV by overhead

lines or underground cables.

Power Sub-Transmission Power is stepped down by 66-33/11 kV to 11 kV

(PSS) for distribution.

Primary Distribution Power is delivered from PSS through primary

Feeders feeders at 11 or 6.6 kV to various distribution

Distribution Substation Power is further stepped down by 11/0.4 kV

(DSS) transformers to utilisation voltage of 415 V.

Secondary Distribution It carries power from DSS at 415 V (240 V

Network single phase) to various consumers through
service lines and cables.
Operation and 4.2.1 Voltage Levels
You have just learnt that the voltage range varies widely in various parts of the
power supply system. We give these voltages in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2: Voltages at Different Segments in the Power Distribution System

Power System Segment Voltages

Generation voltages 415 V, 6.6 kV, 10.5 kV, 11 kV 13.8 kV,

15.75 kV, 21 kV and 33 kV

Transmission voltages 33 kV, 66 kV, 132 kV, 220 kV, 400 kV

High voltage primary distribution or 3.3 kV, 6.6 kV, 11 kV, 22 kV, 33 kV,
sub-transmission 66 kV

Low voltage distribution phase 415 V (3 phase) and 240 V (1 phase)

Higher voltages are used for 3-phase, 3-wire supply to large consumers. Low
voltage distribution of generally 415 V, 3-phase 4-wire system and 240 V
single phase, two wire, phase to neutral system is used for small and medium
consumers. The size and, hence, voltage of supply to a consumer is decided
by the load of the consumer.

4.2.2 Conductors
The 11 kV feeders carry comparatively bulk power from secondary substation
(33/11 kV) to distribution substation transformers (DTRs). Distributors (or
secondary network) carry power from DTRs through service lines (or LT
feeders) which deliver power from the supplier’s nearest support to
consumer’s premises up to the energy meter, through a weather-proof
service wire.

All lines have inherent resistances, inductances and capacitances, resulting in

a voltage drop in the line. Thus, to minimise voltage drop in a line, the values
of these parameters should be carefully selected. For LT supply, the declared
voltages at the consumer premises are 415/240 V. All appliances and
motors give good performance for long duration if this voltage is

The following factors should be considered for the proper selection of

conductor size:

• current carrying capacity; and

• tensile strength of the conductor.

The size of conductor for a distributor is determined in the following manner:

• The current that the distributor has to carry is calculated on the basis of
the load incident on the conductor (including anticipated load growth).

• The conductor size capable of carrying this current at the ambient

10 temperature of the area is selected from standard tables.
• The voltage drop is calculated taking products of loads and their Introduction to
the Power
distances. Distribution
The following types of conductors are available:

• All Aluminium (Standard) Conductor (AAC);

• Aluminium Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR Conductors);

• All Aluminium Alloy Conductors (AAAC).

ACSR and AAAC conductors are used for secondary distribution systems.
ACSR conductors are preferred to AAC conductors for long spans owing to
their greater tensile strength. The current carrying capacity of ACSR
conductors is as follows:

Squirrel (7/2.11) 115 A

Weasel (7/2.59) 150 A

Rabbit (7/3.35) 208 A

The numbers in bracket indicate the number of strands/diameter in mm.

4.2.3 High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS)

You have learnt in Unit 1 that significantly high losses take place in the
secondary distribution system. This is due to higher current densities and
ease of pilferage at low voltages. One of the latest innovations in efforts to
reduce technical and commercial losses is the use of High Voltage
Distribution System (HVDS) or LT-less system.

Fig. 4.2: Typical High Voltage Distribution System

In this system, the secondary distribution system with long LT feeders running
up to consumer premises from the distribution substation is totally absent.
The primary distribution system at HT level (11 or 33 kV) is used to
reach the nearest point for a group of small number of consumers. The
consumers are then connected to the HT Distribution System at these
points through small pole mounted transformers used for supplying
power to them through LT service lines. 11
Operation and We now describe the advantages of HT distribution compared to conventional
LT distribution system.

v Low Losses and Improved Voltage Profile

The comparison of current, losses and voltage drop for the distribution of
the same power through HT and LT systems is presented in Table 4.3.
We have considered 100 as the base value for LT system. From the table,
you can see that for the distribution of the same power, technical losses
and voltage drop are much less in HT distribution system when compared
to LT distribution systems.
Table 4.3: Comparison of Current, Voltage Drop and Power Losses for Power
Distribution through HT and LT Distribution Systems

Single phase 3 phase 4 wire

6.35 kV 415 V
HT distribution LT Distribution
system system

Current (Amps) 11.0 100.0

Losses (kW) 8.5 100.0

Voltage drop 12.7 100.0

LT distribution systems are easily accessible and prone to pilferage and

the use of HVDS reduces the chances of theft of electricity to a very low
level. Now-a-days, utilities are installing meters at the HT transformer itself
to ascertain commercial losses on that particular transformer. In sum, the
HT distribution system has the following advantages:
• use of small size ACSR or aluminium alloy conductor or high
conductivity steel wire;
• better voltage profile;
• reduced line losses; and
• reduced commercial losses.

v Improved Reliability and Security of Supply

The use of HT distribution leads to improved reliability and security of

supply for the following reasons:
• The faults on HT lines are far less compared to those of LT lines.
• In order to avoid theft in LT lines from transformer to consumer
premises, usually Aerial Bunched Cables (AB Cables) are used to
supply power at LT to consumer from the distribution transformer.
12 With AB Cables, the faults on LT lines are eliminated. This, in turn,
reduces the failure of distribution transformers and enhances reliability Introduction to
the Power
of supply. Distribution
• Since the number of small distribution transformers is high in HVDS,
the failure of one transformer does not affect supply to other
consumers connected to other transformers. In the event of failure of
distribution transformers, only a small number of consumers (2 to 3
power consumers or 10 to 15 domestic consumers) would be
affected. On the other hand, a large distribution transformer supplies
power through LV distribution lines to even remotely located
consumers in LVDS. Hence, the failure of an existing large size
distribution transformer would affect a group of 40 to 50 power
consumers and/or 100 to 200 domestic consumers.

You may like to consolidate these ideas before studying further.

SAQ 1: Power distribution system

a) Compare the distribution system of your utility with another utility in

respect of voltage levels and conductors used for each component of
the distribution system.

b) What is HVDS? Outline its advantages over the LT system.



In this section, we describe various components of the power distribution

system, viz. substations, transformers, feeders, lines and metering

4.3.1 Substation
A substation is the meeting point between the transmission grid and the
distribution feeder system. This is where a fundamental change takes place
within most T&D systems. The transmission and sub-transmission systems
above the substation level usually form a network (about which you will study
in the next section). But arranging a network configuration from the substation
to the customer would simply be prohibitively expensive. Hence, most
distribution systems are radial (also described in the next section), i.e., there
is only one path through the other levels of the system.

Typically, a substation consists of high and low voltage racks and buses for 13
Operation and power flow, circuit breakers at the transmission and distribution level,
metering equipment and the control house, where the relaying,
measurement and control equipment is located. But the most important
piece of equipment that gives the substation its capacity rating is the
substation transformer. It converts the incoming power from transmission
voltage levels to the lower primary voltage for distribution. Very often, a
substation has more than one transformer.

Fig. 4.3: Power Distribution Substations

Apart from the transformer, a substation has other equipment such as

lightning arrestors, isolators, etc. You will learn about the substation
equipment in detail in Unit 5 and the distribution transformers in Unit 6. Here
we give a brief introduction of the most critical component of a substation,
the transformer.

4.3.2 Transformer
A transformer is an electrical device that transfers power from one circuit to
another without change in frequency. The purpose of a transformer is to
convert one AC voltage to another AC voltage. A transformer comprises
two or more coupled conducting coils (windings), which are wound on
common laminated core of a magnetic material such as iron or iron-nickel
alloy (Fig. 4.4). These are called primary and secondary windings.

The alternating current in the primary winding creates an alternating magnetic

field in the core just as it would in an electromagnet. The secondary winding
is wrapped around the same core. The changing magnetic flux (magnetic
field per unit area per unit time) in the primary winding induces alternating
current of the same frequency in the secondary winding. The voltage in the
secondary winding is controlled by the ratio of the number of turns in the two

If the primary and secondary windings have the same number of turns, the
14 primary and secondary voltages will be the same. For step-down
transformers, the secondary winding has lesser number of turns than the Introduction to
the Power
primary. For example, to step-down voltages from 240 V at the mains to 6 V, Distribution
there needs to be 40 times more turns in the primary than in the secondary. In System
case of step-up transformers, the number of turns in the secondary winding
is more than those in the primary winding.

The transformer is one of the simplest of electrical devices, yet transformer NOTE
designs and materials continue to be improved every day.
The relation between
the voltages, currents
and number of turns in
the primary and
secondary coils is
given by
V2 I N
= 1 = 2
V1 I 2 N1

Here V1, I1 and N1

represent the
voltage, current and
the number of turns,
respectively, in the
primary coil and V2,
I2 and N2 represent
the voltage, current
and the number of
Fig. 4.4: Principle Underlying a Transformer turns, respectively,
in the secondary
For an ideal transformer, it is assumed that the entire magnetic flux linked with coil.
the primary winding is also linked to the secondary winding. However, in
practice it is impossible to realize this condition. While a large portion of the
flux called common or mutual magnetic flux links with both the coils, a small
portion called the leakage flux links only with the primary winding. This
leakage flux is responsible for the inductive reactance of a transformer.

Specifications of Transformer

A transformer should be provided with more than one primary winding or with
taps on the winding if it is to be used for several nominal voltages. The Rated
Power of the transformer is the sum of the VA (Volts x Amps) for all the
secondary windings. The important specifications for a transformer are:
primary frequency of incoming voltage (50 Hz), maximum primary
voltage rating, maximum secondary voltage rating, maximum secondary
current rating, maximum power rating, efficiency, voltage regulation and
output type (3 wire or 4 wire).

Transformers in a distribution system can be configured as either

single-phase primary configuration (with three single-phase transformers) or a
three-phase configuration (one three-phase transformer). Three-phase
transformers are connected in delta (∆) or wye (Y) configurations. While delta
configuration is used for three wire transmission and sub-transmission Fig. 4.5: 11 kV/415 V - 240V
system, wye (or star) configuration is suitable for 4 wire distribution systems. Pole Mounted
A wye-delta (Y - ∆) transformer has its primary winding connected in a wye Transformer
and its secondary winding connected in a delta. A delta-wye transformer has 15
Operation and its primary winding connected in delta and its secondary winding connected
in a wye.

Types of Transformer

Transformers can be categorised based on the type of core used, type of

cooling used, the method of mounting the transformer or the intended use for
which it is designed. We shall deal with the first three categories of
transformers in Unit 6. Here we give a brief introduction to the categorisation
of transformers on the basis of their use as power transformers and
Efficiency is the distribution transformers. Power substations use power transformers
ratio of output while the distribution substations employ distribution transformers. While the
power (kW or MW)
underlying principle of operation is the same for both the transformers, they
and input power
differ in their design since they are required to operate under different
(kW or MW),
whereas energy conditions at power and distribution substations. Table 4.4 gives a
efficiency is the comparison of these two types of transformers.
ratio of energy
Table 4.4: Comparison of Power Transformers and Distribution Transformers
delivered (kWh or
MWh) and energy
injected (kWh or Power Transformers Distribution Transformers
MWh) in a system
Convert power-level voltages from Step down the primary distribution
expressed in
one level to another in a Grid voltage of 11 kV or 22 kV to
percentage terms.
Substation (GSS) or Power secondary distribution of 400 V
Efficiency of Substation (PSS) with voltages between phases and 230 V between
transformer is above 33 kV. phase and neutral through delta-star
maximum at a winding.
loading (as a
fraction of full load Since it is fed through the grid Distribution transformers, being
current) when its network, a power transformer is connected to the consumers
iron losses equal usually not a critical component for through radial feeders, which have
ohmic or copper supply to consumers as alternative only one path, have to be
losses (due to paths for flow of power are continuously energised for
current flowing in available through the grid. maintaining uninterrupted supply to
the windings). The Accordingly, it is generally possible consumers.
voltage regulation to cut it out of circuit without
of transformer is affecting supply to consumers.
the ratio of voltage
drop in a Power transformers are most of Distribution transformers are most of
transformer from the time loaded to levels just the time lightly loaded and in order
no-load to full load below the rated power and, to have maximum all day efficiency,
and the no-load accordingly, they are designed to they are designed to work at low
voltage expressed operate at maximum possible flux flux levels with maximum efficiency
in percentage density level with maximum occurring at lower loading.
terms. efficiency at near full load.

4.3.3 Feeders
Feeders route the power from the substation throughout the service area.
They are typically either overhead distribution lines mounted on wooden
poles, or underground buried or ducted cable sets. Feeders operate at the
primary distribution voltage in primary distribution system and secondary
16 distribution voltage in the secondary distribution system.
Introduction to
the Power

Fig. 4.6: Distribution Feeders

Definition of a feeder
By definition, the feeder consists of all primary or secondary
voltage level segments of distribution lines between two
substations or between a substation and an open point (switch).

The most common primary distribution voltages in use are 11 kV, 22 kV and
33 kV. The main feeder, which consists of three phases, may branch into
several main routes.

Fig. 4.7: Typical layout of feeders in a primary distribution system (numbers

indicate transformer capacities)

The main branches end at open points where the feeder meets the ends of
other feeders – points at which a normally open switch serves as an
emergency tie between two feeders. 17
Operation and Feeders are connected in a configuration, which depends on the type of
network required in the distribution system. Three types of network are
normally available in the electrical distribution system:
• radial;
• loop; and
• cross-loop network.

Since the radial feeder emanates from one point and ends at the other in the
radial network, load transfer in the case of breakdown is not possible.
Although a radial feeder can be loaded to its maximum capacity, in the case of
breakdown, quite a large area may remain in dark until the fault is detected
and repaired.

In loop arrangement, two feeders are connected to each other so that in the
case of breakdown, the faulty section can be isolated and the rest of the
portion can be switched on. In this type of system, the feeder is normally
loaded to 70% of its capacity so that in the event of breakdown it can share
the load of other feeders also.

A cross-loop network provides multiple paths and the flexibility further

increases. In case of breakdown in any line, the faulty system can be isolated
and supply can be resumed very quickly. In this type of network, feeders
should normally be loaded to 70% of their current carrying capacity. This
system is highly reliable, but very expensive.

Fig. 4.8: Alternative Layouts for Primary and Secondary Network, 33 and 11 kV

In big cities, the concept of 33 kV ring main is very popular and two ring
mains are laid: one outer and one inner. The outer ring main is laid using the
panther conductor and the inner ring main is laid using the dog conductor.
The use of these two types of ring mains provides excellent flexibility to the
system and at the time of breakdown, supply can be immediately switched on
from another 132 kV substation. While making any distribution planning
18 (discussed in Sec. 4.4) for metros, the aspect of outer and inner 33 kV ring
mains is extremely essential and should be included for providing Introduction to
the Power
uninterrupted supply. Distribution
Table 4.5 gives a comparison of the three types of network configurations.

Table 4.5: Comparison of radial, loop and cross-loop network

Radial Distribution Loop Distribution Cross-loop Network

System System Distribution System

• Single path to each • Double path to each • Multiple paths to each

group of customers group of customers group of customers
• Lowest construction • Medium cost system • High cost system
cost system
• Moderately simple to • Complex to plan,
• Simple to plan, design plan, design and design and operate
and operate operate
• Highest reliability
• No reserve – loss of • Loss of feeder results
feeder implies loss of only in temporary loss • Used in large cities
supply of supply and for critical loads


4.3.4 Meters for Measurement of Energy and Other Electrical


Meters are required to be installed at various points of the Distribution System

including the substation equipment and the consumer end. They are required
for correct recording of electrical quantities for operational and safety
purposes as well as energy accounting. The meters installed at the interface
points of generation-transmission and transmission-distribution are called
interface meters. Meters installed at consumer premises by the utility are
called consumer meters.

The Central Electricity Authority regulations on Installation and Operation of

Meters provide for the type, standards, ownership, location, accuracy class,
installation, operation, testing and maintenance, access, sealing, safety,
meter reading and recording, meter failure or discrepancies, anti tampering
features, quality assurance, calibration and periodical testing of meters,
additional meters and adoption of new technologies in respect of the following
meters for correct accounting, billing and audit of electricity:

§ Interface meter,

§ Consumer meter, and

§ Energy accounting and audit meter.

It is important to note that these regulations make the use of static meters
mandatory for new consumers. 19
Operation and
Maintenance SAQ 2: Components of power distribution system

a) Make a list of the substation equipment.



b) What is a feeder? Compare the radial, loop and cross-loop network

configurations in an electrical distribution system.




The need for electrical power is growing at a rapid pace on account of rapid
growth of population, industrialisation and urbanisation resulting in high load
density pockets with multi storied complexes. This is coupled with manifold
increase of deep tube wells on account of low ground water level and huge
number of electric pumps connected to the system during the agricultural
season in rural areas. In order to meet the future power needs of the nation,
it is essential to upgrade the existing distribution system and increase its
efficiency and at the same time reduce the technical losses. This requires
proper planning: Utilities have to plan much ahead to meet the present
as well as the projected future demand for quality power supply.

In the context of the current chronic power shortage, the shooting prices of
fuel and the need for conservation of available fossil fuel resources, you can
well understand the urgency of eliminating high losses in the transmission and
distribution system. The high percentage of losses in our country is a matter
of national concern. The main cause of these high losses is laying of
unplanned distribution system in the country. Proper distribution system
planning, financial support and implementation of the plans should be
able to bring down the losses and provide uninterrupted quality supply to the

Distribution Planning requires an analysis of various factors such as load

growth, funds, ecological consideration, availability of land, etc. Distribution
planning in a utility involves

• ascertaining the time horizon for which it is envisaged,

• spelling out the specific activities required in the planning process, and

• implementation of plans.

20 We take up each of these in the following sections.

4.4.1 Planning Horizon Introduction to
the Power
Distribution planning studies can be carried out in different manners, each System
with different objectives and requirements. Planning can be done for different
time horizons and accordingly it is called medium/long-term planning or
short-term planning.

v Medium/Long-term Planning

Medium/long-term planning is normally carried out as a part of a master

plan for the distribution system as a whole. It normally considers a 5 to 15
years time frame and is based on the state/national as well as local load
forecasts, industrialisation plan and agricultural load forecasts. The main
objectives of this type of plan are to:
• verify the present capacity of lines and substations;
• verify additional capacity and investments required to meet the load
growth for putting up new 33/11 kV substations, new 33 kV lines,
11 kV feeders, etc.;
• arrange tie-ups for additional power-purchase agreements;
• upgrade existing transmission capacity;
• upgrade existing networks;
• develop strategies for reduction of technical losses;
• estimate the funds required; and
• arrange tie-ups with the financial agencies for funds.

v Short-term Planning

For proper distribution planning, we first need to study the existing system,
ascertain loss level and decide on immediate action to be taken to meet
the requirement of consumers and provide them uninterrupted quality
power supply. In the present scenario, it has been found that 11 kV and
33 kV feeders are loaded more than 100% of their rated current carrying
capacity. This results in very high technical losses and needs to be
immediately relieved through short-term planning.

Thus, the objectives of short-term planning are to:

• develop specific case studies and projects in a systematic manner;
• adjust capacity of 33 kV,11 kV feeders, power transformers,
distribution transformers and LT lines;
• take immediate action to bifurcate heavily loaded 33 kV, 11 kV feeders;
• augment conductor with the properly sized conductors;
• reduce length of LT lines (maximum 0.5 km per transformer);
• implement projects for proper maintenance;
• calculate required investments; and
• arrange tie-ups with financial institutions for funds. 21
Operation and
Maintenance SAQ 3: Planning horizon

Identify the short-term, medium/long-term planning objectives for your







4.4.2 Principal Areas of Activity

The principal areas of activities associated with distribution planning are as

• Existing Load Data Study: The study of the existing system forms a
critical input to distribution planning and includes activities such as
− updating all distribution system statistics;
− evaluating changes in technic and economic planning criteria; and
− evaluating and updating load forecasts, voltages and consumers
category-wise with a time horizon of 10 to 15 years.

• Future Load Growth Study: Load forecasts are extremely important in

Distribution Planning. These are mainly used for:
− power purchases;
− reinforcement of distribution system expansion planning;
− demand side management;
− tariff application; and
− monitoring of loss reduction programme.

The forecasts may be done on a short-term, medium-term or long-term

basis. These have to be carried out systematically and rigorously to be of
any help in distribution planning. Otherwise, they can lead to wrong
estimates and the planning can go awry.

The steps involved in the load forecasting process are:

− data collection;
− data validation;
− selection of methodologies;
− development of assumptions;
− development of energy and demand forecasts; and
22 − comparison with the historical load growth data.
Introduction to
• Power Factor/Reactive Load Study: A study of loading pattern and the Power
voltage drops needs to be carried out to ascertain the reactive power Distribution
compensation, which is required to be provided at different points of the
distribution system so as to maintain voltages within specified limits. You
can study about power factor and reactive compensation in Appendix 1
given at the end of this unit.

• Study of Thermal Capability of Conductors (Capacity of Feeders/

Circuits): The thermal capacity of line circuit is dependent on the size of
the conductor and type of environmental factors, i.e., ambient
temperature, wind speed and solar radiation. A study of peak loadings for
the conductors needs to be carried out to figure out overloaded feeders
with the help of standard tables giving rated currents for each type of
conductor. Accordingly, a proper action plan for bifurcation or replacement
of feeder needs to be chalked out.

• Economic Impact Study: A study of the economic impact of the

implementation of the distribution system plan needs to be carried out.
Cost-benefit analysis needs to be done to ascertain whether the
investments in implementation of distribution plan lead to long term
savings and improvement in supply quality.

We now present a case study to illustrate how utilities can take advantage of
distribution planning.



MP Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Limited, Bhopal (the Central

Discom) is one of the leading utilities, to have established a Distribution
System Planning Cell. In the first phase, the Central Discom took up short
term system planning and established the equipment and network data base.
Field data such as the length of feeders, size of conductors, configuration of
poles, present loading, annual input and single line diagrams was collected for
all 33 kV and 11 kV feeders. Load forecasts were made for the next five years
on the basis of the historical load growth data. The following information was
also collected:

• details of existing capacitors installed at 33/11 kV substations; and

• details of existing 33/11 kV substations along with data on the capacity of

transformers, number of feeders, loading, etc.

The number of 33 kV rural feeders in the Discom is 282. These have been
strung with Racoon conductors having current carrying capacity of 200 A.
The Discom selected all the 33 kV feeders having loading more than150 A for
study and analysis.

As the National Tariff Policy has made it mandatory for power utilities to
segregate technical and commercial losses within one year, a detailed study 23
Operation and was conducted through CYMDIST software, which is a proven tool for finding
technical losses at each voltage level of the distribution system.

This software provides for two types of studies:

• voltage drop analysis; and
• short circuit analysis.
On the basis of the study and the data acquired, the DISCOM took measures
such as:
• capacitor placement;
• augmentation of the conductor of feeder; and
• bifurcation of the feeder.

These were followed by further systemic analysis. It was concluded that

losses could be reduced substantially by adopting all the three measures or
combinations of two or only one of these, depending upon loading conditions
and voltage regulation.

The study was initially conducted on 20 select feeders but later it was
extended to the heavily loaded 224 rural feeders. It was found that 49 feeders
had losses amounting to more than 10% and 52 feeders had losses between
5 -10%. An analysis of the data revealed that for some feeders, voltage
regulation could not be brought within permissible limits even after the
placement of Capacitor Bank, proposing a new 33 kV feeder and augmenting
the conductor size. Further studies were carried out and locations were
identified for putting up 132/33 kV substations. Through short term studies,
the Discom identified 5 such locations.

A similar study conducted for 11 kV feeders led to the following conclusions:

i) additional power transformer would need to be put up in the existing


ii) a new 33/11 kV substation would need to be constructed, thereby

reducing the length of 11 kV lines;

iii) the existing 11 kV feeders would need to be bifurcated; and

iv) the conductors of existing feeders would need to be augmented.

The details of planning activities undertaken by the Central Discom are

presented below.

• Existing Load Data Study: The number of 33 kV feeders in the Central

Discom is 347, of which 65 are urban feeders and 282 rural. The
CYMDIST software was used to study all the parameters of existing
feeders in urban areas. Various steps, such as augmentation of existing
Racoon conductor by Dog conductor, bifurcation of feeder and
installation of Capacitor Bank in 33/11 kV substations, were taken. After
the implementation of these measures, voltage regulation was found
to be within permissible limits. The loading of the 33 kV rural feeders is
24 given ahead.
Table 4.6: Loading of 33 kV Rural Feeders Introduction to
the Power
Load Number of 33 kV Feeders System

More than 300A 31

Between 250−
−300 A 25

Between 200−
−250 A 56

Between 150−
−200 A 28

Less than 150 A 142

The number of 11 kV feeders in the Central Discom is 1749, of which 358 are
urban feeders and 1391 rural. In the first phase, a study of all 11 kV urban
feeders was conducted through the CYMDIST software and action was taken
for bifurcation of feeders, augmentation of conductor capacity and putting up
new 33/11 kV substations. All 11 kV feeders of urban areas now have Racoon
conductor and the load of each feeder is within 100 A. The voltage regulations
are also within permissible limits.

In the second phase, a study of 11 KV rural feeders is being carried out. All the
existing feeders are laid on ACSR weasel conductor. The length of the feeders
ranges from 4 km − 100 km and voltage regulation varies from 3% to 24%.
The break-up of the rural feeders on the basis of load is given in Table 4.7.

Table 4.7: Break-up of the Rural Feeders

Load Number of 11 kV Feeders

More than 200A 180

Between 150−
−200 A 170

Between 100−
−150 A 790

Between 75−
−100 A 172

Less than 75 A 79

The number of 11 kV feeders having load more than 200 A is 180 and a study
is being conducted on them in the first phase through the CYMDIST software.

• Future Load Growth Study: Historical load growth data was the major
basis in anticipating the future load growth.

• Power Factor and Reactive Load Study: A thorough study was made on
the existing power factor and existing load on the system and as per the
data obtained from CYMDIST software study, necessary compensation
was provided by installation of 11 kV capacitor bank on 33/11 kV
substations. 25
Operation and • Thermal Capability of Conductor: Operating data was used to check
whether the conductors were being operated within thermal capability

• Economic Impact: On analysis of the data derived from the CYMDIST

study, it was concluded that the payback period is between 24 to 30
months. The results obtained from CYMDIST software have been used for
preparing the loss reduction model of the company.

You may like to review this information in your own context. Attempt the
following SAQ!

SAQ 4: Distribution planning

Suggest ways in which your utility can benefit from distribution system





The distribution system constitutes the interface of a utility with consumers

who judge the performance of the utility by the performance of its distribution
system. Therefore, proper operation and maintenance of the power
distribution system is essential. Any failure on this account may deprive the
user of electric supply and lead to chaotic conditions. There are two types of
maintenance: Preventive Maintenance and Breakdown Maintenance.

• Preventive Maintenance is maintenance done prior to the onset of

Monsoon and after the end of Monsoon.

• Breakdown Maintenance is done on breakdown in the installation.

In this section, we discuss the general O&M objectives and activities for the
power distribution system.

4.5.1 Operation and Maintenance Objectives

You will agree that the prime goal of a power utility, like any other business, is
to achieve consumer satisfaction with optimum effort and costs while
maintaining reasonable profit levels. The operation and maintenance (O&M)
practices of a utility contribute significantly in attaining this goal. These
activities should help in improving the reliability and maintenance of plant and
equipment, maximising capacity utilisation, increasing operating efficiency,
26 and reducing operating and maintenance costs.
The objectives of O&M for distribution systems may thus be spelt out as Introduction to
the Power
follows. Distribution

v Ensuring quality and reliability of supply to consumers.

v Reducing equipment operating and maintenance costs through

effective utilisation of capacity and resources.

v Increasing the availability and reliability of plant and equipment with NOTE
effective maintenance planning.
Source: Special report
v Improving spares planning and reducing spares inventories. on CEA website
“Guidelines for Project
v Standardising work procedures. Management and
Performance Evaluation
v Ensuring the safety of maintenance personnel.
of Sub-transmission and
v Providing a mechanism for making estimates and controlling Distribution Project”.
maintenance expenses.

v Generating MIS reports for better decision-making and control.

v Bringing down technical and commercial losses to an optimum

minimum level.

v Avoiding any bottleneck in capacity by matching expansion with the

growing demand.

The O&M strategy adopted by a utility can be evaluated in terms of certain

parameters, which are given below.


v Reduction in

− T&D losses,
− overloading of feeders and transformers,
− consumer interruption
− cost per consumer
− number of trippings due to overloading.
v Degree of improvement in voltage profile vis-à-vis voltage regulation.

v Increase in revenue.

v Enhancement of peak demand and energy supplied.

v Number of consumers supplied.

v Improvement in level of service and collections.

The specific functions of the O&M System are described in detail in

Appendix 2 to this unit. 27
Operation and 4.5.2 Activities Involved in Operation and Maintenance
The following activities are involved in the operation and maintenance of the
Distribution System:
• continuity of service;
• technical operation and maintenance;
• training and retaining of operational staff;
• renewal of maintenance contract;
• upkeep of spare parts inventory;
• record keeping of faults in the network/equipment problems, solutions,
modifications and enhancements;
• close monitoring of budgeted expenditure;
• preparation, continuous updating and proper maintenance of operational
and network data;
• record of protective and isolating devices installed and their relay settings;
• record of schedule of maintenance and preventive and routine
maintenance of network elements;
• development of spare parts;
• development of maintenance practices, tools and procedures for trouble
free operation; and

• record of transformer/switchgear oil testing and its parameters.

Utilities should have manuals for O&M to ensure efficient and trouble free
operation of the system/equipment. These manuals should contain the
following information:
• factory and site test certificates for each item of the system with reference
to relevant design calculation and quality assurance standards;
• maintenance instructions for all plants and other preventive and corrective
maintenance procedures;
• maintenance and inspection schedules for all items/equipment giving type
of works required on a weekly, monthly, annual basis; and
• proforma of the required maintenance record sheets for all the

We now outline the modern approach to operation and maintenance of power


4.5.3 Renovation and Modernisation (R&M) and Life Extension

Basically, the deterioration of electrical components in the distribution system
is related to electric, thermal, mechanical, chemical, environmental and
combined stresses. Hence, failure of equipment could be due to insulation
28 failure, thermal failure, mechanical failure or any combinations thereof.
The concept of simple replacement of power equipment in the system, Introduction to
the Power
considering it as weak or a potential source of trouble, is no longer Distribution
valid in the present scenario of financial constraints. System

Renovation, modernization and life extension of existing substations,

sub-transmission and distribution network and field equipment outside the
substations is one of the cost effective options for maintaining continuity and
reliability of the power supply to the consumers. Renovation and There are no
modernisation (R&M) is primarily needed to arrest the poor performance of established guidelines
the substation equipment (mainly transformers and switchgears), which are for the time interval
during which R&M and
under severe stress due to poor grid conditions, poor and inadequate life extension studies
maintenance and polluting environment. must be carried out.
The R&M and life
In this changed paradigm, efforts today are being directed to explore new extension studies
approaches/techniques of monitoring, diagnosis, life assessment and must be done when
the performance of the
condition evaluation, and possibility of extending the life of existing equipment is noticed
assets, i.e., generator, circuit breaker, surge arrestor, oil filled equipment like as deteriorating but
transformers, load tap changer, etc., which constitute a significant portion of not later than two
years from the
assets for generation, transmission and distribution system.
previous such study.
Assessing the condition of the equipment is the key to improving
reliability. The knowledge of equipment condition helps to target the
maintenance efforts to reduce equipment failures. Reduction of failures of
equipment improves reliability and effectively extends the life of equipment.
Hence, utilities are continuously in search of ways and means other than
conventional methods/techniques to assess the condition of equipment in
service. Thus, remedial measures can be taken in advance to avoid
disastrous consequences thereby saving valuable resources.

For assessing normal operation, strategic planning and scheduling,

three major tasks need to be identified:

• incipient failure detection and prevention − supervisory function,


• identification of malfunction or fault state − offered by diagnostic

techniques; and

• planning for repair, replacement and upgrading − life assessment and

condition evaluation techniques.

Researchers and manufactures have come out with various condition

assessment, diagnostic monitoring, preventive maintenance, predictive
maintenance (PDM) techniques for the equipment to reduce the risk of
failure and extend their effective life and thereby help utilities overcome the
challenges they face. Various condition assessment tools are used to
establish the health of equipment using latest on line and off line diagnostic
testing techniques/technologies.

Predictive maintenance is gaining popularity as it helps eliminate

unscheduled downtime of expensive equipment and reduces the overall cost
of maintenance. This approach, sometimes called ‘condition-based 29
Operation and maintenance’, relies on planned inspections, testing, analysing and trending
of the relevant equipment parameters. In most cases, these parameters can
determine the equipment’s health and must be followed up by proactive
actions that change the way the equipment is operated to reach the goals set
out. In other words, the performance of the equipment is analysed to
determine its condition and predict when it will need attention.

The techniques so developed are grouped under Residual Life Assessment

(RLA) techniques. The potential of such techniques is tremendous and their
benefits are so many that utilities cannot ignore their importance in the
present scenario.

The main objective of RLA is to determine the condition of a set of

equipment (e.g., transformers) in order to identify the most vulnerable
component/equipment. Based on the evaluation, utilities can develop a
strategic replacement plan for a particular population of equipment. The aim
should be to maximize the availability and utilization by avoiding unexpected
failures and at the same time minimizing risk. Strategies for life assessment
are quite complex and involve many aspects (both user-oriented and
manufacturer-oriented). Their details are beyond the scope of this course.

In the next section, we introduce the concepts of grid management, load

scheduling and load balancing. However, you may first like to revise the ideas
presented in this section.

SAQ 5: O&M objectives and activities

Outline the O&M objectives of your distribution utility. What activities are
undertaken by it to fulfil these objectives?










In this section, we consider the aspects related to grid management, load

30 scheduling and load balancing in a power distribution system.
Introduction to
4.6.1 Grid Management the Power
Let us consider the following questions: System
q What is a grid?
q What is grid management?

q What does grid management involve?

q What is a grid? (POWER PLANTS)
You know that a power system has a generating unit to generate electrical
energy, which is consumed at the load. This energy cannot be stored and has
to be consumed at the same instant. But since the load is not concentrated at
one place and it is not possible to have a generator very close to the load
centre at all times, we go for transmission lines, which facilitate transmission
of power from generator to load. Thus all generation units and load centres are
connected and a grid is formed (Fig. 4.9).
The grid is basically a connection of generating stations, substations NETWORKS (GRID)
and loads through transmission lines, at a voltage level above the
distribution voltage. The distribution voltage, however, is not strictly defined.
It is different for different areas. In some distribution systems, power is taken
from the grid at 33 kV, in some it is taken at 66 kV and in some, it may even be
taken at 220 kV. Therefore, the grid covers the above mentioned high voltage
system down to the level of connection point of the distribution system.


Definition of a grid
Grid is defined in the Electricity Act, 2003, as : “the high voltage
backbone system of inter-connected transmission lines,
substations and generating plants.”
There are many advantages of having a grid.


v RELIABILITY: The system is more reliable since we can serve the

load in more than one ways. As a result, even if one generation
unit fails the rest can share its load. Fig 4.9: Grid as an
v STABILITY: The system becomes more stable as the chances of a Between
fault disturbing the whole system become less. Generation
and Load
v ECONOMY: In a grid, the cost required is lesser than a dedicated
system since lesser installed capacity is required as well as lesser
spinning reserve is involved.
Operation and Regional and State Grid in India
In the 1960s, India was demarcated into 5 electrical regions (NR, SR, ER,
WR, NER) for planning, development and operation of the power system with
regional self sufficiency. As on date, we have three synchronous power
systems: Northern, Central (WR-ER-NER) and Southern. Bulk power transfer
is possible among the regional grids through the inter-regional links. The
Northern and Southern Systems are connected to Central System through
separate HVDC links and, hence, each of the three systems can operate at
different frequencies. The State Grid of each State is connected to Regional
Grid for inter-State power exchanges.

q What is Grid Management?

Grid management, as the term implies, is managing the grid. This

consists of on-line real-time operation of the grid as well as off-line
operational planning.

The real time operation of the grid is looked after by the Load Dispatch
Centre, which is basically a round-the-clock control room manned by grid
operators or load dispatchers, who operate the grid by giving instructions to
the personnel of the concerned generators and substations.

Load Dispatching, as the name implies, involves dispatching of load

(or power) from the generator to the load. This is done through the
transmission system. Load Dispatch Centre constantly observes the grid
parameters and tries to ensure good grid operation.

Operational planning is the planning done in advance, in order to ensure that

♦ generation matches the load at all points of time;

♦ the voltage profile at all points of the grid remains within acceptable limits;

♦ none of the transmission lines or inter-connecting transformers get

over-loaded; and

♦ the grid operates in a stable manner, i.e., there are no power swings.

Operational Planning also involves coordination of protection of the grid so

that only the faulted element gets isolated and the remaining grid continues to
operate in a satisfactory manner.

The Grid Management in our country is done by the Regional Load Dispatch
Centre (RLDC) at the Regional Level and by the State Load Dispatch Centre
(SLDC) at the State Level. Each State, Central Generating Stations and
Independent Power Producers (IPPs) are treated as constituents of the



32 Fig. 4.10: Two Key Players in Grid Management

Introduction to
v Reliability,

v Grid security,

v Economy, and

v Quality in electric supply.

v RELIABILITY comes with integrated grid operation for smooth

evacuation of power from generating stations and its delivery at
the states’ periphery.

v SECURITY comes by maintaining the system parameters like

frequency, bus voltages, line loadings and transformer loadings
within permissible limits. It involves stable and smooth operation
of the grid, i.e. minimum interruptions of power, either through
tripping of single grid elements (like generator, transmission line,
interconnecting transformer, HVDC back-to-back pole) or grid
disturbances involving tripping of a large number of grid elements
simultaneously or even a total blackout.

v ECONOMY comes by merit order generation, optimization of hydro

resources, minimization of losses and judicious inter-regional
exchanges. It envisages getting the cheapest power to the
customers through minimization of transmission losses and
ensuring that the cheapest generation is used first, then the next
costly generation and so on.

v QUALITY in electric supply is now gaining importance. The

parameters of quality are frequency, voltage and harmonics.

Let us explain further the quality parameters of electric supply.

Frequency is a global phenomenon, i.e., it is the same at all points of a

grid which is operating in synchronous operation. Frequency is an
indication of the balance between generation and load in a grid. If the
generation exactly matches the load, the frequency would be the nominal
frequency, i.e., 50 Hz. If generation is more than the load in a grid as a whole,
the system frequency would be greater than 50 Hz. If generation is less than
the load, the system frequency would be less than 50 Hz.

Voltage is a local phenomenon, i.e., it can be different at different

points of the grid. Therefore, the grid operator has to ensure that the proper
voltage profile is maintained at all points of the grid. For ensuring proper
voltage profile, capacitors or reactors are installed at different points in the
grid. If it is observed that the voltage is low at a particular point in the grid,
then capacitors are installed at that point. Similarly, if voltage is observed to
be high, as per the studies, then reactors are installed at that point. The basic 33
Operation and purpose of these elements is to ensure that the reactive power requirement of
the load or transmission lines is met.

Besides this, there are also other voltage phenomena like unbalanced voltage
in the three phases, voltage dip, etc. Voltage unbalance in the grid could be
caused due to the tripping of one of the phases of a transmission line or due
to unbalanced load in the three phases emanating from the distribution
systems or bulk loads. Voltage dip, on the other hand, is a transient
phenomenon caused by a transient fault or tripping of an element at a remote
location of the grid. Stormy weather could also cause flashover between
arcing horns, resulting in voltage dip.

Harmonics is recently becoming an issue in the modern world, due to a

number of electronic devices connected in the grid as well as in the
distribution system, which converts AC to DC through rectifiers or which chop
an AC wave for voltage or current control. In the grid, harmonics are caused
by HVDC stations, which convert AC to DC and back from DC to AC.

In the distribution system, harmonics are caused by power supplies and

inverters through which power is supplied to computers and all household
appliances using digital technology, which have permeated our lives. For this,
standards have been laid down in the Regulations for Technical Standards for
Connectivity to the Grid. As per the provisions of these Standards, the limits
for individual and total harmonics distortion have been given.

q What Does Grid Management Involve?

Grid management involves

• forecasting (demand pattern);

• planning (outages, unit commitment, resource scheduling);

• coordination (between stakeholders);

• supervision (grid parameters);

• real time operation and control for optimal utilization of available resources
in the grid, which involves

− scheduling,

− monitoring, and

− restoration of grid;

• off-line operational planning involving grid security issues, restoration of

grid and commercial issues or billing.

We shall talk about these aspects in detail in the next section.

The load dispatch centre is primarily responsible for management of the grid.
Its various functions: ex-ante (a Latin term meaning before-hand), real-time
34 and post-facto (meaning after the fact) are given in Table 4.8.
Table 4.8: Grid Management Functions Introduction to
the Power

• Forecasting demand • Resource • Reporting

for the forthcoming re-scheduling as and events occurring in
period when required a grid operation

• Scheduling of • Implementation of • Analyzing the

resources at proper contract of events that
disposal service as entitled occurred

• Planning the grid • Supervising and • Collecting the

element outages controlling grid energy meter data
like generator parameters
• Processing the
maintenance, etc.
• Ensuring real-time data collected
• Providing for open balancing of
• Energy accounting
access transmission resources
corridors. • Operating the pool
• Ensuring grid
security and
• Coordinating the account and the
outages and load reactive energy
shedding account.

• Ensuring proper
power quality

• Minimizing losses
and optimizing
resource utilization

• Tackling
effectively and

4.6.2 Load Scheduling and Dispatch

Load scheduling means fixing the schedules of generation of power for
generating stations and the schedules for drawal of power by the States taking
into account drawal schedules from shared power sector projects and
schedules of power purchased from buyers to sellers. Scheduling is done
for the day ahead by the Regional Load Dispatch Centre to ensure
balance between load and generation in the grid with the aim of achieving an
operating grid frequency of 50 Hz. Since power cannot be stored to a large
extent, power generated has to be used at that instant of time. Therefore, it
has to be ensured that the generation matches the load at each point of time.
Schedules are prepared on a 15 minute basis, to see to it that the average
generation of electrical energy over 15 minutes matches the load over those
15 minutes. Scheduling is done one day before for the day ahead, as per a
time schedule specified in the Indian Electricity Grid Code (named simply as 35
Operation and “Grid Code” as per the Electricity Act, 2003), so that the State Power Utilities
plan for load management for the next day.
For example, suppose a State finds that after taking into account its own
expected generation for the next day and the net drawal schedule for the next
day, it would fall short of meeting its anticipated requirement for the next day
by 200 MW during peak time. Then it would have to plan a load shedding of
200 MW during peak time. Schedules can also be changed on the same day
due to major load variations experienced by a State due to abnormal weather
conditions. For example, rains in summer could cause reduction of
agricultural load and AC load; heavy rains could cause disruptions in the
transmission system and hence loss of load. The rescheduling would be valid
after a time gap of about one and a half hours so as to enable implementation
of the new schedules. Rescheduling can also be done by the Regional Load
Dispatcher in cases of transmission bottleneck and grid disturbance.
Scheduling is important because it is meant to ensure the desired
operating frequency of the grid. There are financial penalties for violating
these schedules if these violations burden the grid and financial incentives
if the violations help the grid, through a component of the tariff, known as
unscheduled interchanges.
Monitoring the parameters of the grid is the prime real time function of
the Load Dispatch Centre. These parameters include operating frequency,
voltage levels at all points of the grid, status of line and transformer loading
throughout the grid, especially at crucial points. In order to help the grid
operator monitor these parameters over the large number of points in the grid,
the Load Dispatch Centre is equipped with SCADA (Supervisory Control and
Data Acquisition) System. You will study about it in Block 3 of the course
Based on the alarms generated by the SCADA System, action is taken by the
grid operator by giving instructions to all concerned. All instructions of the
grid operator have to be followed. All instructions are also recorded on a
sound recorder, to be replayed at the time of analysis of a grid incident or any
other contingency. The grid needs to be constantly monitored to observe
whether it is operating within its limit. This work is being done in the RLDCs
and SLDCs. The LDCs coordinate between the Central Generating Stations
and States (through SLDCs).
Restoration of grid involves restoring the grid after a grid disturbance.
Grid disturbance normally takes place in a matter of milliseconds and there is
no time for the grid operator to react. Therefore, the operational procedures
for restoration of a grid are planned well in advance and come under the
scope of off-line operational planning. The grid operator just has to follow
the procedure for restoring the grid.
We now describe the load scheduling process as it takes place.
The Load Scheduling Process
The process starts with the Central Generating Stations (CGS) in the region
declaring their expected output capability (in MW) for 96 slots of 15 minutes
36 duration during the next day to the Regional Load Dispatch Centre (RLDC).
Introduction to
The RLDC breaks up and tabulates these output capability declarations as per the Power
the beneficiaries’ plant-wise shares and conveys their entitlements to State Distribution
Load Dispatch Centres (SLDCs). The latter then carry out an exercise to see
how best they can meet the load of their consumers over the day, from their
own generating stations, along with their entitlement in the Central stations.
They also take into account the irrigation release requirements, distribution
utilities’ load schedules for next day and load curtailment, etc. that they
propose in their respective areas.

The SLDCs then convey to the RLDC their schedule of power drawal from the
Central stations (limited to their entitlement for the day). The RLDC
aggregates these requisitions and determines the dispatch schedules for the
Central generating stations and the drawal schedules for the beneficiaries
(State as a whole) duly incorporating any bilateral agreements and adjusting
for transmission losses. These schedules are then issued by the RLDC to all
concerned and become the operational as well as commercial datum for
inter-State and CGS transactions.

However, in case of contingencies, Central stations can prospectively revise

the output capability declaration, beneficiaries can prospectively revise
requisitions, and the schedules are correspondingly revised by RLDC. It is for
the SLDCs to further break-up these State entitlements into Discom
entitlements and State Generation Schedules.

While the schedules so finalized become the operational datum, and the
regional constituents are expected to regulate their generation and consumer
load in a way that the actual generation and drawals generally follow these
schedules, deviations are allowed as long as they do not endanger the system

Load Shedding

During the normal operation of a grid, it is possible that the load exceeds the
generation. If this happens the frequency of the system goes down. The
standard frequency is 50 Hz. But the frequency can go down to about 49.0 Hz.
After this value, it is not advisable to allow it to reduce it any further since it can
cause the system to lose synchronism and lead to ultimate collapse of the
system. As a result, we go for purposeful shedding of load, known as load
shedding. The load shedding is a process of reducing load on the grid so as
to save the grid as a whole.

Load shedding can be done in two ways:

1. Automatic: For this purpose automatic under-frequency relays are

installed. These relays carry out automatic shedding of load if the
frequency falls below a certain level.

2. Manual: Special guidelines have been provided by RLDCs/SLDCs for

the load shedding at different frequency levels. These guidelines
depend upon the grid parameters at the particular instance as well as 37
Operation and some fixed guidelines for frequency falling below a particular limit or
area-wise/consumer category-wise shedding.

Off-Line Operational Planning

You have studied in Sec. 4.6.1 that off-line operational planning involves

• grid security issues;

• restoration of grid; and

• commercial issues or billing.

We discuss these briefly.

Grid security issues involve

• load generation balance planning in respect of active power for the next
year, which is reviewed on a quarterly and then monthly basis, in order to
ensure that the frequency stays at the nominal level;

• installation of capacitors or reactors to obtain a proper voltage profile in

the grid;

• line and transformer loading;

• protection coordination;

• monitoring of the grid; and

• proper analysis of tripping of lines as well as of grid disturbance and taking

corrective measures thereof.

Under-frequency and rate-of-change of frequency relays are installed as

security measures to cut off load in case of gradual or sudden drop in
generation, respectively, to ensure nominal frequency in the grid. Islanding
schemes of important generators and loads are also planned as a last resort
to isolate or island them in case of a blackout so that the important power
stations and loads keep functional. Therefore, these islands are made in
such a way that the generation and load in these islands approximately

Under operational planning, procedures are also formed for restoration of

grid in case of tripping of some or more elements of the grid or for total
blackout. This is done by the Regional Load Dispatch Centre responsible for
real time operation of the regional grids, in consultation with all the players
involved in grid operation. One of the points involved in grid restoration is the
“black start”, which means starting of a generating unit after a blackout.
Since hydro generators require the least power for starting, they are normally
started first or, in other words, used for black start.

Commercial billing by the various generators is done in accordance with the

Availability Based Tariff approved by the Central Electricity Regulatory
Commission. Under the Availability Based Tariff (ABT), the beneficiaries are
required to pay charges in three components, viz., annual fixed charges,
38 energy charges and Unsheduled interchanges (UI) charges.
Annual fixed charges are required to be paid by the beneficiaries irrespective Introduction to
the Power
of actual drawals or schedules. The implemented schedules, as described Distribution
earlier, are used for determination of the amounts payable as energy charges. System
Deviations from schedules are determined in 15-minute time blocks through
special metering, and these deviations are priced depending on frequency.
These deviations are called unscheduled interchanges (UI).

The pricing for UI is linked to system frequency such that the constituent
causing the grid frequency to improve/worsen in worst conditions gets
rewarded/penalised at higher price and vice versa. Further, the UI pool account
is zero sum account, i.e., the amounts received from constituents are
distributed amongst the other constituents. As long as the actual generation/
drawal is equal to the given schedule, UI is zero and the payment on account
of the third component of Availability Tariff is zero. In case of under-drawal, a
beneficiary is paid back to that extent according to the frequency dependent
rate specified for deviations from schedule.

4.6.3 Load Balancing

Load Balancing is the process of achieving and maintaining equal load on
each phase of a distribution transformer. The loadings on primary and
secondary side of a DTR are shown in Fig. 4.11.

Fig. 4.11: Balancing of Load in a DTR

If load on each phase of the distribution transformer is not equal, it is

called unbalanced loading of transformer. Practically speaking, balanced
load cannot be maintained on the transformer due to the inherently varying
nature of load. Each transformer supplies power to resistive loads (bulbs,
heaters, etc.) and inductive loads (motors, etc.). These loads can be either
single phase, distributed separately on the three phases, or three-phase in 39
Operation and nature. If the distribution transformer is supplying power to only three phase
loads, then achieving and maintaining balanced load on transformer could be
an easier task. But in practice, this happens very rarely, because each
installation possesses either three phase or single phase or both the loads,
which keep changing at different points of time.

Apart from natural unbalancing, unbalanced load may also result from load
shedding of one phase in each of the LT feeders emanating from a
distribution substation. Even though the system may have been balanced
initially, it is difficult to have similarly loaded outgoing feeders and achieve
equal load shedding in the three phases. In some cases, due to constraints on
availability of proper switching facility on each feeder, it is difficult to shed
equal load from each phase.

Thus, it is really a difficult task for a distribution utility to maintain balanced

load on the distribution transformer. However, it is important for many


• Extended life of the transformer, which remains in service for longer

period of time.

• Improved quality of supply.

• Lesser maintenance cost on distribution/power transformer leading to

increase in Utility’s Operational Profit.

• Consumer Satisfaction.

Difficulties in Maintaining Balanced Load on a Transformer

The distribution transformer supplies power to the domestic and/or
Diversity factor is commercial consumers. In practice, it is seen that all consumers will not
defined as the ratio of
the sum of the individual switch on their entire connected load at the same instant of time. The
maximum demands of switching of load will vary with time and also with the requirement of the
various parts of a power consumer. This is expressed in terms of the diversity factor. If it is equal to
distribution system to 1, it means that all the consumers are in need of their entire connected load at
the maximum demand
the same instant of time. In practice, the diversity factor ranges between 2
of the whole system. It
measures the and 3. If diversity factor is more, then there is a greater possibility that the load
staggering of different on each phase of the distribution transformer will vary and not be equal.
hours of the day and
indicates flatness of Now, consider an Electric Utility which is supplying power to small industrial
load curve. That is, it consumers. In this case, the transformer will be supplying to more three
denotes MVA vs hours
phase loads than single phase loads. So, the diversity factor for small
of the day curve.
industrial consumers will be less compared to the domestic/commercial
consumers. For large industrial consumers, the diversity factor will be even
less. But some degree of unbalanced loading will still remain on the
transformer. The task of distribution utility is to reduce this degree of
40 unbalanced loading.
We offer some tips in this regard. Introduction to
the Power
Some Tips to Operate Transformers Near Balanced Loading System
• Connect single phase load on each phase of distribution transformer, so
that at the end, current in each phase of transformer will be almost equal. It
has been seen that, linemen or wiremen connect the single phase load to
the lower phase of a pole. It may be due to illiteracy and/or hesitation to
connect the single phase load on the top phase of pole. The distribution
utility must ensure supervision of the job at the time of connecting new
single phase load to avoid such practices.

• In some distribution utilities, transformers do not have current measuring

instruments and, hence, continuous surveillance cannot be done to check
whether distribution transformer is equally loaded (Balanced). In this case,
the current must be measured for all phases by using Clamp-on-Meters, at
least once during peak hours and a record should be kept. By analysing
the past trend, the average current can be calculated. But due
consideration must be given to changing weather conditions and/or extra
loads due to festivals, etc.

• Providing Solid Earthing to the neutral of transformer.

• Using proper size of Blow-out-Fuses.

On this note, we bring the discussion in this unit to an end. In this unit, you
have learnt about the Power Distribution System, and the general goals and
practices for its maintenance. We now summarise the contents of the unit.


• The Distribution System contains:

− Sub-transmission system in voltage ranges from 33 kV to 220 kV.

The energy goes from power substations to distribution substations
through primary system and then from distribution substations to
secondary distribution system for local voltage distribution.

− Primary circuits of feeders, usually operating in the range of 11 kV to

33 kV, supply the load in well defined geographical areas.

− The distribution transformers, usually installed on poles or near the

consumer sites, transform the primary voltage to the secondary
voltage, which is usually 240/415 V.

− Secondary circuits at service voltage which carry energy from the

distribution transformers along the streets, etc.
• The components of Distribution System include substations,
transformers, feeders and metering system, etc.
• The O&M objectives and general practices for distribution system focus on
improving the reliability and maintenance of plant and equipment,
maximising capacity utilisation, increasing operating efficiency, and 41
Operation and reducing operating and maintenance costs.
• Grid management, load scheduling and load balancing are important
for the smooth functioning of the power distribution system.


1. Which component of the distribution system can be a critical

bottleneck in supplying uninterrupted power to consumers and why?

2. What configurations of feeder networks can be used in a distribution

system? Discuss their suitability in different circumstances.

3. Compare the distribution system planning criteria used in your utility

with those given in the unit and describe them.

4. What do you understand by load scheduling and Unscheduled


5. Does your utility have written O&M practices? If yes, study those and
suggest improvements in the same. If not, what practices are followed
in the field?

6. What is load balancing? How can it be achieved?

7. What is the significance of Grid Management? Who has the

responsibility of Grid Management in your State and your utility?

8. What are the activities involved in Distribution System Planning?

Introduction to
the Power
Reactive power (kVAR) control represents an efficient method of reducing
the cost of utility operation. The savings brought about by kVAR/voltage
control are not confined to the monetary value of the energy saved; the
released system capacity can serve to delay a costly expansion and reduce
the ageing of components. kVAR control provides appropriate placement
of compensation devices to ensure a satisfactory voltage profile while
minimizing the power losses and the cost of compensation.

Other ancillary benefits gained by correcting the power factor are:

• lower energy losses,

• better voltage regulation, and

• released system capacity.

All electric equipment requires “vars”, a term used by electric power

engineers to describe the reactive or magnetizing power required by
the inductive characteristics of electrical equipment. These inductive
characteristics are more pronounced in motors and transformers, and
therefore, can be quite significant in industrial facilities.

The flow of vars, or reactive power, through a watt-hour meter will not affect
the meter reading, but the flow of vars through the power system will
result in energy losses on both the utility and the industrial facility.

Some utilities charge for these vars in the form of a penalty, or kVA demand
charge, to justify the cost for lost energy and the additional conductor and
transformer capacity required to carry the vars. In addition to energy losses,
var flow can also cause excessive voltage drop, which may have to be
corrected by either the application of shunt capacitors, or other more
expensive equipment, such as load-tap changing transformers,
synchronous motors, and synchronous condensers.

The power factor triangle shown in Fig. 1 is the simplest way to understand
the effects of reactive power. The longest leg of the triangle (on the upper or
lower triangle), labelled total power, represents the vector sum of the reactive
power and real power components. Mathematically,


The angle Φ in the power triangle is called the power factor angle and is
mathematically equal to:


cos Φ =

Operation and

Fig. 1: Power Factor Triangle

The ratio of the real power to the total power in the equation above (or the cos
of Φ) is called the power factor.

The advantages of PF improvement by capacitor addition are as follows:

a) Reactive component of the network and total current in the system

from the source end are reduced.

b) I2R power losses are reduced in the system because of reduction

in current.

c) Voltage level at the load end is increased.

d) kVA loading on the source generators as also on the transformers

and line up to the capacitors reduces giving relief. A high power
factor can help in utilizing the full capacity of your electrical

Cost Benefits of PF Improvement

While cost of PF improvement is in terms of investment needs for capacitor

addition, the benefits to be quantified for feasibility analysis are:

a) Reduced kVA (maximum demand) charges in utility bill,

b) Reduced distribution losses (kWh) within the plant network,

c) Better voltage at motor terminals and improved performance of


A high power factor eliminates penalty charges imposed when operating with a
low power factor. Investment on system facilities such as transformers,
cables, switchgears, etc. for delivering load is reduced.

It is the power distribution engineer’s responsibility to manage the

operating system at an optimum power factor.
Introduction to
the Power
Material and Equipment Information
− Classification of maintenance material (class / sub-class).
− Material identification with a material code.
− Equipment identification and details.
− Updating equipment details.
− Maintaining commercial details.
− Maintaining equipment hierarchy for all equipment and assemblies.
− Maintenance planning and scheduling.
− Maintaining bills of material / sub-assembly / component.
Operational Location Information
− Identification of the operational location.
− Maintaining corresponding location of equipment.

− Maintaining details of locations.

Work Specification
− Standardising work specifications.
− Maintaining notes on work specifications.
Preventive Maintenance and Overhaul
− Generate preventive maintenance plans.
− Listing of locations, equipment and tasks to be included in the plan.
− Allocation of tasks to specific groups.
− Recording the material required.
− Generating work orders.
− Overhauling equipment as per requirement.
Breakdown Maintenance
− Noting the time of fault and the priority status.
− Processing the request.
− Enabling maintenance work.
Condition-based Maintenance
− Predicting potential machine failures.
− Recording data about malfunctioning equipment.
Signature Analysis
− Identifying parameters to be monitored for each class of equipment. 45
Operation and − Identifying test point for measuring the above.
− Entering a target or optimum value, and limits for the parameter.
− Determining the frequency of measurements to be made at each test
− Generating schedules for taking readings.
− Capturing readings at each test point.
− Analysing readings and generating alarm / warning signals.
− Displaying message to generate work order if required.

Maintenance Requests
− Issuing maintenance requests.
− Closing maintenance requests.

Maintenance Work Orders

− Generating work orders.
− Informing the concerned departments.
− Assigning tasks to maintenance personnel or vendors.
− Issuing material for doing the same.
− Storing the details of material issued / purchased.
− Monitoring status of tasks.

Safety Procedures and Permit To Work

− Sending permit-to-work (PTW) requests to operations.
− Receiving the necessary permits from operations.

Spares Planning
− Identifying spares required for equipment.
− Viewing the updated stock positions.
− Generating lists of spares featuring quantity required and criticality.

Maintenance History
− Recording detailed maintenance history.
− Recording breakdown details / cause of failure / action taken /
− Generating reports for equipment failures.

Document Management
− Maintaining document master.
− Generating document register.

Maintaining Contract Details.

46 Maintenance Personnel and Workgroup
− Maintaining work group details. Introduction to
the Power
− Viewing work schedules. System
Capturing Operations Data
− Maintaining operations logs.
− Maintaining generation and transmission schedules.
− Maintaining parameter values.
− Maintaining fuel details.
Estimates and Expenditure
− Generating estimates.
− Capturing estimates.
MIS Reports
− Generation reports.
− Plant-availability reports.
− Outage reports.
− Fuel reports.
− Generation schedules.
− Equipment registers.
− Equipment-performance reports.
− Equipment-history cards.
− Fault-analysis reports.
− Maintenance plans.
− Maintenance requests.
− Permit to work.
− Work-order permits.
− Condition-analysis reports.
− Expenditure reports.
− Maintenance schedule miss reports.
− Material-consumption reports.
− Document register.
− Accident reports.

Operation and

Equipment and

Unit 5

Learning Objectives Equipment and
Distribution Lines
After studying this unit, you should be able to:

 describe the main equipment required for the

construction of a 66-33/11kV substation;

 classify the distribution line equipment;

 describe the main equipment for overhead


 discuss the important features of underground

power cables in the distribution system network;

 enunciate the general operation and

maintenance practices for substation
equipment, distribution lines and capacitors;

 explain hotline maintenance techniques and

tools; and

 explain the effect of HT/LT ratio on line losses

and voltage.

Operation and
Maintenance 5.1 INTRODUCTION

In Unit 4, you have studied about the power distribution system and its
components. You have also learnt about distribution system planning and
the general O & M objectives and practices. You will agree that the smooth
operation of the power distribution system depends on how well it is
maintained. This includes the operation and maintenance of all its

We begin this unit with a discussion of the substation equipment and

distribution lines so that you know the standards prescribed for the equipment.
Adhering to these standards would ensure the smooth operation of the
equipment. We next discuss the operation and maintenance of equipment
used in the 66-33/11 kV substations, 11/0.4 kV substations, overhead lines,
underground cables and capacitors. Finally, we take up hot line maintenance
tools and techniques and the impact of LT/HT ratio on losses. In the next unit,
we deal with the O & M of distribution transformers separately.


Equipment in a substation can broadly be categorized as follows:

• structures;
• power transformers;
• bus-bars;
• circuit breakers (33 kV and 11 kV);
• isolators or isolating switches (33 kV and 11 kV);
• earthing switches;
• insulators;
• power and control cables;
• control panel;
• lightning protection − surge arrestors;
• instrument transformers (current and power transformers, i.e., CTs and
• earthing arrangements;
• reactive compensation;
• DC supply arrangement;
• auxiliary supply transformer; and
• fire-fighting system.

The design of the substation equipment must comply with the requirement of
50 relevant Indian Standards.
We now briefly describe each one of these. Equipment and
• Structures
Structures are required to provide entry from the overhead line to the
substation and to extend out required number of feeders. The numbers of
structures should be kept to a minimum as large number of structures
would not only be uneconomical but give an ugly look to the substation and
may prove to be obstructions in extending bus-bar, lines, etc. The main
structures required for 33/11 kV substations are:
− incoming and outgoing gantries;
− support structures for breaker, isolators, fuses, insulators, CTs
and PTs; and
− bus-bars.

Switchyard structures can be made of fabricated steel, RCC or PSCC,

Rail or RS Joist.

• Power Transformers
You have learnt about the underlying principle and design of a power
transformer in Unit 4. The general operation and maintenance practices of
power transformers are similar to those of distribution transformers, which
are discussed in detail in Unit 6.
• Bus-bars
A bus-bar in electrical power distribution refers to thick strips of copper or
aluminum that conduct electricity within the substation (Fig. 5.1). The size
of the bus-bar is important in determining the maximum amount of current
that can be safely carried. The bus-bar should be able to carry the
expected maximum load current without exceeding the temperature limit.
The capacity of bus should also be checked for maximum temperature
under short circuit conditions.
Different types of bus-bars, namely, single bus-bar, single bus-bar with
bus sectionalizer, main and transfer bus, double bus-bar, double bus-bar
with double breaker scheme and mesh scheme are used in a substation
in accordance with the safety and reliability considerations.
Fig. 5.1: Bus-bars
• Circuit Breakers
A circuit breaker is a switching device built ruggedly to enable it to
interrupt/ make not only the load current but also the much larger
fault current, which may occur on a circuit.
A circuit breaker contains both fixed contacts and moving contacts. The
purpose of circuit breakers is to eliminate a short-circuit that occurs on a
line. Circuit breakers are found at the arrivals and departures of all lines
incident on a substation. When the circuit breaker is closed these
contacts are held together. The mode of action of all circuit breakers
consists in the breaking of the fault current by the separation of the moving
contacts away from the fixed ones. An arc is immediately established on 51
Operation and
separation of the contacts. Interruption of the current occurs after the arc
at these contacts is extinguished and current becomes zero.

Elements of a Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers contain the following elements, irrespective of the

medium for arc quenching and insulation:

− main contact at system voltage;

− insulation, such as porcelain, oil or gas, between the main

contacts and ground potential;

− operating and supervisory accessories, of which tripping

facilities are most important.

A wide variety of closing and tripping arrangements (using relays with

variable time delay) and a number of operating mechanisms (based on
solenoids, charged springs or pneumatic arrangements) are available

The types of breakers used in a distribution system are:

− air break type;
− oil break type;
− vacuum type; and
− SF6 gas breaker.

(a) (b)
Fig. 5.2: Circuit Breakers: a) Oil Break Type Breaker; and b) SF6 Gas Breaker

The rated voltage of circuit breakers for 33 kV level is 36 kV, and for 11 kV,
it is 12 kV. The short circuit current rating is 25 kA. The 11 kV switchgear
52 is generally metal enclosed indoor type.
• Isolators Equipment and
Isolators are mechanical switching devices capable of opening or closing
a circuit
− when a negligible current is broken or made, or
− only a small charging current is to be interrupted, or
− when no significant voltage difference exists across the
terminals of each pole.

Fig. 5.3: Isolators

Isolators are capable of carrying current under normal conditions and

short circuit currents for a specified time. In open position, the isolator
should provide an isolating distance between the terminals. The standard
value of rated duration of short time current capacity withstand for isolator
and earthing switch is normally 1 second. A value of 3 seconds is also
sometimes specified. For 33 kV, horizontal type isolating switches are
used. The rated normal current is 630 A at 36 kV. For 11 kV, both
horizontal and vertical mounting isolating switches of 400 Amps at 12 kV
are used.
• Earthing Switches
Earthing switches are provided at various locations to facilitate
maintenance. Main blades and earth blades are interlocked with both
electrical and mechanical means. The earthing switch has to be capable
of withstanding short circuit current for short duration as applicable to the
• Insulators
An electrical insulator resists the flow of electricity. Application of
voltage difference across a good insulator results in negligible electrical
current. Adequate insulation is of prime importance for obvious reasons of
reliability of supply, safety of personnel and equipment, etc.
The insulators in use at substations are post insulators of pedestal
type. The station design should be such that the number of insulators is
kept at a minimum at the same time ensuring security of supply. In the
areas where the problem of insulator pollution is expected (such as near
the sea or thermal station, railway station, industrial area, etc.) special
insulators with higher leakage resistance should be used. 53
Operation and
• Power and Control Cables
Power and control cables of adequate current carrying capacity and
voltage rating are provided at the substation. Power cables are used for
33kV,11 kV or LT system to carry load current. The control cables are
required for operating and protection system connections. The cables are
segregated by running in separate trenches or on separate racks.

• Control Panels

Control panels installed within the control building of a switchyard

provide mounting for mimic bus, relays, meters, indicating
instruments, indicating lights, control switches, test switches and
other control devices. The panel contains compartments for incoming
lines, outgoing lines, bus-bars with provision for sectionalizing, relays,
measuring instruments, etc.

The panel is provided with:

− suitable over-current and earth fault relays to protect the
equipment against short circuit and earth faults; and
− measuring instruments such as ammeter, voltmeter and energy
meter for 33kV and 11 kV systems.
• Lightning Protection−
−Surge Arrestors
Large over voltages that develop suddenly on electric transmission and
distribution system are referred to as “surges” or “transients”. These are
caused by lightning strikes or by circuit switching operations. Surge
arrestor is a protective device for limiting surge voltages on equipment by
discharging or bypassing surge current.

The surge arrestor which responds to over-voltages without any time

delay is installed for protection of 33 kV switchgear, transformers,
associated equipment and 11 kV and 33 kV lines.

The rated voltage of arrestors for 33 kV should be 30 kV for use on 33 kV

systems and with nominal discharge current rating of 10 kA. The rated
voltage of lightning arrestors should be 9 kV (r.m.s.) for effectively earthed
11 kV system (coefficient of earth not exceeding 80 % as per IS: 4004)
Fig. 5.4: Surge Arrestors with all the transformer neutrals directly earthed. The nominal discharge
current rating should be 5 kA.

• Instrument Transformers (Current and Voltage Transformers)

The substations have current and voltage transformers designed to

isolate electrically the high voltage primary circuit from the low
voltage secondary circuit and, thus, provide a safe means of supply
for indicating instruments, meters and relays.

Ø Current Transformer (CT)

Current transformers are used in power installations for

supplying the current circuits of indicating instruments
(ammeter, wattmeter, etc.), meters (energy meter, etc.) and Equipment and
protective relays. These transformers are designed to provide a Distribution
standard secondary current output of 1 or 5 A, when rated current Lines
flows through the primary. A fundamental characteristic of CT is its
transformation ratio, expressed as the ratio of the rated primary to
rated secondary current. Current transformers have two inherent
errors: the current ratio and phase displacement. These two A current
errors serve as a basis on which current transformers are classified transformer is an
for accuracy. instrument
transformer in which
the current ratio is
within the specified
limit. The primary
winding is connected
in series with the load
and carries the load
current to be
measured. The
secondary winding is
connected to the
measuring instrument
or relay, which
together with the
winding impedance of
the transformer and
lead resistance
constitute the burden
(a) (b)
(b) of the transformer.

Fig. 5.5: a) Current Transformers; and b) Voltage Transformer

Ø Voltage Transformer or Potential Transformer (PT)

These instrument transformers are used for supplying the voltage NOTE
circuit of indicating instruments, integrating meters, other measuring
apparatus and protective relays or trip coils. These may be of single Voltage transformer
phase or three phase design and of the dry or oil immersed types. A is an instrument
voltage transformer or PT is rated in terms of the maximum burden transformer in which
(VA output) it will deliver without exceeding specified limits of error. On the secondary
voltage is
the other hand, a power transformer is rated by the secondary output it
will deliver without exceeding specified temperature rise. All voltage proportional to the
transformers are designed for a standard secondary voltage of 110 V primary voltage and
or 110 / 3 V. phase angle near to
zero for an
• Earthing Arrangements appropriate direction
Earthing has to be provided for of connection.

− safety of personnel,
− prevention of and minimizing damage to equipment as a result
of flow of heavy fault currents, and
− improved reliability of power supply.
The basic grounding system is in the form of an earth mat with risers. 55
Operation and
Risers of MS flat are generally provided. Earth mat is provided within the
substation area. The earth rods are connected to the station earth mat.
The earthing must be designed so as to keep the earth resistance as low
as possible. Earthing practices have been discussed in Unit 6 of the
course BEE-002.
• Reactive Compensation
Reactive compensation (as indicated by system studies of the network)
has to be provided. It is always a good idea to ensure a power factor
correction for transformers, since even when they are operating on low
load (e.g., during the night) they absorb reactive power, which must be
compensated to avoid unnecessary loadings and losses. You can recall
this aspect from Appendix 1 to Unit 4. Shunt capacitors (Fig. 5.6) are
connected on the secondary side (11 kV side) of the 33/11 kV power
transformers. The capacitors are generally of automatic switched type.
The automatic system of the capacitor bank has the task of switching in
the necessary capacitance according to the load requirements at each
given moment.
• Station Battery/DC Supply Arrangement
Fig. 5.6: Shunt Capacitors Station batteries supply energy to operate protection equipment such as
breakers and other control, alarm and indicating equipment (Fig. 5.7). The
station batteries are a source for operating DC control system equipment
during system disturbances and outages. During normal conditions the
rectifier provides the required DC supply. However, to take care of rectifier
failure, a storage battery of adequate capacity is provided to meet the DC
Normally, in a 33/11 kV substation, the DC system is of 30 cells consisting
of 15 lead acid storage batteries or Nickel-Cadmium batteries. The battery
is connected in parallel with a constant voltage charger and critical load
circuits. The charger maintains the required voltage at battery terminal and
supplies the normally connected loads. This sustains the battery in fully
charged condition. The correct size battery charger has to be selected for
the intended application.
• Auxiliary Supply Transformer
Fig. 5.7: Battery Bank
An Auxiliary Supply Transformer of adequate capacity is required to be
provided for internal use for lighting loads, battery charging, oil filtration
plant, etc. The supply should be reliable. In a substation it is normally
provided from a station transformer connected on 33 or 11 kV bus bar.
• Fire Fighting System
In view of the presence of oil filled equipment in a substation, it is
important that proper attention is given to isolation, limitation and
extinguishing of fire so as to avoid damage to costly equipment and
reduce chances of serious dislocation of power supply as well as ensure
safety of personnel. The layout of the substation itself should be such that
the fire should not spread to other equipment as far as possible. Fire
extinguishers of the following type must be provided: Equipment and
− Carbon dioxide extinguisher, and Distribution
− Dry chemical powder extinguisher.

Carbon dioxide (CO2 type) extinguisher and Dry chemical powder type
extinguisher should conform to IS: 2878 and IS:2171, respectively. For oil
fire, foam type extinguishers are used (see Unit 7, BEE-002 also). The fire
fighting equipment should be maintained and kept in top condition for
instant use as per IS: 1948-1961 “Fire Fighting Equipment and its
Maintenance including Construction and Installation of Fire Proof Doors-
Fire Safety of Buildings (General)”.

So far we have described the equipment in a 66-33kV/11kV substation.

You may like to review the information before studying further.

SAQ 1: Equipment at 66-33/11kV substation

List the equipment being used in your utility for the construction of
33/11 kV substation along with their typical ratings.







The main equipment at an 11/0.4 kV distribution substation comprises:

• distribution transformers;
• transformer mounting structure;
• protection system;
• earthing system;
• lightning arrestors;
• LT distribution box; and
• reactive compensation.
We shall be discussing the distribution transformers in detail in the next unit.
Here, we briefly describe the remaining components.

• Transformer Mounting Structure

Transformers can be mounted outdoors (Figs. 5.8 and 5.9) in one of the
Operation and
Maintenance following ways: Plinth mounting, H-pole mounting and direct
mounting. We describe these mountings, in brief.

(a) (b)
Fig. 5.8: Transformer Mountings: a) Plinth Mounting; and b) H-Pole Mounting

Ø Plinth mounting: The transformer is mounted on a plinth made of

concrete. The plinth has to be higher than the surroundings. The
method can be used for all sizes of transformers. Where the
distribution substations are plinth mounted, they are efficiently
protected by fencing so as to prevent access to the apparatus by
unauthorized persons.

Ø H-pole mounting: The transformer can be mounted on cross-

arms, fixed between two poles, which are rigidly fastened to the
poles. The transformer has two base channels, which rest on the
transformer mounting structure.

Ø Direct mounting: The transformer is clamped directly to the pole by

suitable clamps and bolts. This method is used for transformers up
to 25 kVA only.

• Protection System

The HT side of all transformers is normally protected by drop out

expulsion type fuse. Three 11 kV drop out fuse units comprising a
set are installed on mounting cross-arm. The fuse element is
soldered on both ends between woven wires, which are sufficiently
strong to withstand tension when fixed to the terminals on both ends.
The element is housed in an insulated tube of paper or insulating
material. Horn gap fuses are also used on distribution transformers on
HT side. The fuse wire is fixed between arcing horns. The advantage is
Fig.5.9: Direct Mounting that ordinary fuse wire of rated capacity can be used for replacement
while for drop out fuses, fuse elements are required to be stocked for
58 replacement.
• Earthing Equipment and
Pipe earthing or rod earthing is provided for the distribution substation. Lines
Three electrodes forming an equilateral triangle are provided so that
adequate earth buffer is available.

• Lightning Arrestors

11 kV lightning arrestors 9 (kV) of outdoor type are used for diverting the
lightning surges to earth resistance of earth. The lightning arrestor should
be installed on the HT side and its lead should be kept at a minimum.

• LT Distribution Box

For transformers of 100 kVA and above, sheet metal LT distribution box
consisting of LT breaker and fuse cut-outs is provided from where
distribution feeders are to be taken out. The size of the box has to be
suitable for accommodating MCCB, fuse cut-outs, cable connectors,
bus-bars, etc.

• Reactive Compensation

The load incident on the distribution system is mostly inductive, requiring

large reactive power. The best method is to compensate the reactive
power at the load end itself but it is difficult to implement in practice.
Hence, providing compensation on the distribution system is essential. So
wherever the power factor is low, reactive compensation may be provided
on the distribution transformers.

The shunt capacitor supplies constant reactive power at its location,

independent of the load. Fixed or automatic switched type capacitors of
adequate rating are to be provided on the LT bus of the distribution
transformers. In the switched capacitor system, the capacitors are
switched on and off along with the load to avoid over-voltage during low
load operation.

SAQ 2: Equipment at distribution substation

List the equipment and their typical ratings, being used in the distribution
substations of your utility. Are all the protection equipment listed above
being used?





Operation and

The distribution lines can be either overhead or underground. These are

usually overhead, though for higher load densities in cities or metropolitan
areas, these are underground. The choice between overhead and
underground depends upon a number of widely differing factors such as the
importance of service continuity, improvement in appearance of the area,
feasibility in congested areas, comparative annual maintenance cost, capital
cost and useful life of the system.

5.4.1 Overhead Lines

An overhead power line is intended for transmission of electric power by a

bare or covered overhead conductor supported by insulators, generally
mounted on cross-arms near the top of poles. The overhead line may be
66, 33, 11 kV or LT line. The basic equipment used for the line remains the
same. The main equipment required for an overhead line is as follows:

• supports,

• cross-arms,

• insulators,
• earthing knob,

• earthing coil,

• strain hardware set,

• conductors,

• line accessories,
Fig. 5.10: a) Overhead
• guard wires, and
Lines Mounted
• LT line spacers.
on Cross-arm
We describe each one of these, in brief.
b) Close-up
• Supports

A support is a column of wood, concrete, steel or some other material

supporting overhead conductors by means of arms or brackets. The
supports used for overhead line construction vary in design and the
purpose they have to perform. The different types of supports for overhead
lines are: wood poles, concrete poles, steel poles and lattice type

Ø Wood poles: Chemically treated wood poles are used for distribution
lines. The advantage of using wood poles is that they are low in cost.
However, they are susceptible to decay. The specifications for wood
poles are covered by IS:876 and IS:5978. According to this standard,
60 the timber suitable for poles has been classified into three groups
depending upon its strength. For example, IS 6056 for jointed wood Equipment and
poles for overhead lines specifies that sal, deodar, chir, kail, wood be Distribution
used. Jointed wood poles with wire bound lap joint are considerably Lines
less expensive and found to be very suitable for LT and HT lines in
rural areas.

Ø Concrete poles: Concrete poles are more expensive than wood poles
but cheaper than steel tubular poles. Concrete poles are of three types:

− Pre-cast cement concrete poles (PCC) made of cement


− Reinforced cement concrete poles (RCC);

− Pre-stressed cement concrete poles (PSCC).

The low maintenance, competitive price and aesthetic appearance of

PCC poles makes them superior to steel or wood for use in electric
lines. Ease and speed of installation means faster project completion
and lower installation cost. RCC poles have an extremely long life and
need little maintenance but they are bulky in size and comparatively
heavy. They have shattering tendency when hit by a vehicle. PSCC
poles take care of these shortcomings to some extent. However, the
handling, transportation and erection of these poles is more difficult
because of their heavy weight.

Ø Steel poles: The steel poles are of the following types:

− Steel tubular poles whose specifications are covered by

IS:2713-1967. Due to their light weight, high strength to weight
ratio and long life, they possess distinct advantages over other
types of poles. The use of a pole cap at the top, concrete muff
in the ground and regular coating of paint prolongs their life.

− Old and second hand rails and Rolled Steel (RS) joists are
frequently used as supports for overhead lines. The portion
embedded in the ground should be protected by concrete muff
and the remaining portion by regular paint unless galvanised
steel is used.

Ø Lattice type supports: These are fabricated from narrow base steel
structures. They are light in weight and economical and can be
assembled at site if bolted construction is used. Normally both welded
and bolted types are used.

• Cross-arms

The shape and length of the cross-arms depend upon the desired
configuration of conductors. The following types of cross-arms and
brackets are used:

− V cross-arms for tangent locations with clamps; 61

Operation and
Maintenance − double channel cross-arms for tension or cut point locations where
double poles are used; and

− top clamps.

Cross-arms of hand wood (sisso, sal), or creosoted soft wood (chir) or

fibre glass are mostly used. Steel cross-arms are stronger and last much
longer. MS angle iron and channel iron sections are generally used for this
purpose. Smaller sections are used for communication circuits.

• Insulators

You have learnt that an electrical insulator resists the flow of electricity.
Application of a voltage difference across a good insulator results in
negligible electrical current. Insulators made of glazed porcelain, tough
glass and polymers are used for supporting the conductors. Porcelain
insulators prevent the electrical current from energizing the power pole.

The principal types of insulator are described below:

− Pin insulators are manufactured for voltages up to 33 kV and are

cheaper than the other types. IS:1445 and 731 cover detailed
specifications for these. The pins for the insulators are fixed in the
holes provided in the cross-arms and pole top brackets. The
insulators are mounted over the pins and tightened. The cost of pin
insulators increases very rapidly as the working voltage is increased.
For high voltages these insulators are uneconomical. Moreover,
Fig. 5.11: Pin Type Insulator replacements are expensive.

− Disc insulators are made of glazed porcelain or tough glass. They

are used as insulators on high voltage lines for suspension and dead
ending.The line conductor is suspended below the point of support by
means of the insulator or a string of insulators. A disc insulator
consists of a single disc-shaped piece of porcelain, grooved on the
under-surface to increase the surface leakage path between the metal
cap at the top and the metal pin underneath. The cap is recessed so
Fig. 5.12: Disc Type as to take the pin of another unit, and in this way a string of any
Insulator 11 kV required number of units can be built up. The cap is secured to the
insulator by means of cement. Disc insulators are “ball and socket” or
“tongue and clevis” type. A suspension clamp is used to support the
conductor, if suspension configuration of the line is chosen.

− Shackle insulators are used for distribution lines dead ending

and supporting conductors laid in vertical formation. IS:1445-1977
covers shackle insulators for voltages below 1000 V. The two
standard sizes listed in this specification are 90 mm dia x 75 mm
height and 115 mm dia x 100 mm height. A shackle insulator is
supported by either two straps and two MS bolts or one U clamp or
D strap and two MS bolts as per IS:7935.

− Stay insulator/Guy strain insulators of egg type porcelain

62 are used for insulating stay wire, guard wires, etc. wherever it is not
proposed to earth them. As per IS: 5300, two strength sizes (ultimate Equipment and
tensile strength) are used: 44 kN and 88 kN, respectively, for LT and Distribution
HT lines. Lines

− Stays/Guys and staying arrangement: Guys of stranded steel wire

are used on all terminal, angle and other such poles where the
conductors have a tendency to pull the pole away from its true vertical
position. The guys are fastened to the poles near the load centre point
with the help of pole clamps. The other end of the guy/stay is secured
to a stay rod embedded in the ground. The stay rod should be located
as far away as possible.
• Earthing Knob

The earthing knob is used for supporting the neutral-cum-earth wire used
for earthing of metal parts of supporting structures of low-tension lines,
i.e., 400/230 V lines. The knob is generally made of cast iron 52x42 mm
and its electrical resistance is not to exceed 200 mega ohms. Moreover,
the breaking strength at the neck of the knob is not to be less than
11,500 kg when force is applied.

• Earthing Coil
Two types of earthing arrangements are used. One is with GI pipe and the
other is with GI wire. In case of GI pipe earthing, 40 mm dia and 2500 mm
long pipe is used for earthing of supports and fittings. GI wire is used for
earthing of lines. Generally 8 SWG wire with 115 turns, 50 mm dia and
1500 mm length is used.

• Strain Hardware Set

The conductor is strung between sections through a strain hardware set. It
is fixed with the last disc of the string of disc insulator. It is made from
malleable iron or aluminium alloy. Alloy hardware is preferable as the
losses are less.
• Conductors

Conductor represents 30 − 50% of the installed cost of the line. All

aluminium conductors (AAC), all aluminium alloy conductors (AAAC) and
aluminium conductor steel reinforced (ACSR) are generally used.
Technical specifications of conductors are covered in IS: 398. These
conductors are of standard construction and the ultimate tensile strength
of the whole conductor is based on the total strand strength.

• Line Accessories
This is the associated equipment required for fastening the conductors to
supports and taking off the power or supply points such as joints material,
clamps and compounds. For lines up to 33 kV, the following fittings are

♦ Conductor dead-end fittings

− LT conductor dead-end grips, 63

Operation and
− guy grips dead-end,
− service grips,
− full tension splices,
− distribution ties,
− side ties,
− spool ties,
− tee connectors,
− lashing rods, and
− line guards.
Preformed fittings made of aluminium alloy are used as it saves cost,
labour and time. It also eliminates chances of error of judgment. No
tools are required. These fittings are fast and simple to apply and
assure uniformity of application every time.
♦ Joints should conform to IE Rule 75. For conductors up to
50mm2, crimped joints are made with simple hand crimping tools
and for higher sizes, compression type or hydraulic type crimping
tools are used. Joints are of the following types:
− uni-joints/ compression joints,
− twisting joints,
− two part compression joints, and
− dead-end joints.
♦ Insulator ties secure the conductor to the insulator. In general, the
tie wire should be the same kind of wire as the line wire, i.e., for
tying aluminium conductors on insulators, aluminium wire should
be used. The tie should be made of soft annealed wire so that it is
not brittle and does not injure the line conductor.
♦ Taps and jumpers are made by various accessories, which are
not subjected to mechanical tension. Tapping should be taken off
only at a point of line support.
• Guard Wires
Guard wires are to be used at all points where a line crosses a street,
road or railway line, other power lines, telecommunication lines,
canals, rivers, along the road and public places. As per IE Rule 88,
guard wires of galvanized steel of minimum 4 mm dia having breaking
strength not less than 635 kg should be used.
• LT Line Spacers
Very often clashing of LT conductors in the mid span takes place due
to sag, wind and longer spans. This results in faults and interruptions.
Spacers are provided to overcome this problem.
You may like to revise the information given in this section before
studying further.
Equipment and
SAQ 3: Overhead lines Distribution

List the equipment being used for construction of overhead distribution

lines in your utility. Describe the types of supports and insulators being
used for construction of lines.





5.4.2 Underground Power Cables

Due to the fast growth in load densities in major towns and cities, 33 kV, 11 kV
and LT underground cables are being used to meet the ever growing demand
of electric power. The underground cable system has attained
considerable importance in distribution networks. This is because in
towns and cities, almost all roads are already occupied by LT, HT overhead
lines, telephone lines, street lights, advertising boards, etc., on either side of
the roads. Further, high-rise buildings make it difficult to go for overhead
systems for sub-transmission or distribution. Moreover, the overhead system
with bare conductors is prone to frequent breakdowns causing interruption in
power supply. Uninterrupted power supply can be maintained by employing
underground cable ring system. The underground cabling system is
particularly important for metropolitan cities, city centres, airports and defence

Underground distribution costs are between 2 to 10 times that of the overhead

system. Yet, it is preferred due to elimination of outages caused by abnormal
weather conditions such as snow, rain, storms, lightning, fires, stress,
accidents, etc. Moreover, this system is environment-friendly and has a long
life. In addition, improved cable technology has reduced the maintenance cost
of the underground system compared to the overhead system. We
summarise the main reasons for underground cable systems in Box 5.1.

Box 5.1: Reasons for Having Underground Cables

Ø The right of way for erecting overhead systems is no longer available;

Ø It is possible to extend the supply from source to load centres on any

route profile;

Ø Fairly uninterrupted and reliable power supply can be maintained;


Ø Aesthetic beauty of the town/city as a whole can be ensured.

Operation and
Maintenance We now describe, in brief, the selection criteria, sizing, jointing and
terminating of underground cables.
• Selection of Cable
The following factors influence the selection of cable:
− load;
− system voltage;
− type of insulation;
− short circuit rating;
− mode of installation; and
− economy and safety.
For the same conductor size, the maximum continuous current
carrying capacity depends on the depth of laying, ground temperature,
silicon oil resistivity, ambient temperature, proximity of other cables,
type of ducts used. Paper Insulated Lead Covered, PVC and XLPE
cables are being used. Depending upon the voltage at which the
power is transmitted or distributed, the cables are designed as

1. EHV Cables 66 kV and above

2. Medium and HV Cables 3.3 kV to 33 KV
3. LT Cables up to 1100 V

• Sizing of Cables

The sizing of cables depends on the following factors:

− current carrying capacity,
− short circuit current,
− voltage drop, and
− losses.
• Jointing and Terminations
Cables are laid in lengths supplied over reels. Cable extensions are made
through joints and terminated at the ends to connect them to the system
for use. Since the cable consists of many items right from the conductors
to the outer sheath, all joints are to be made as straight through joints
so that each joint has the same features/characteristics of the original
Straight jointing is ensured by providing:
− core continuity;
− stress controlling screens;
− insulation;
− continuity of earth potential parts of the cable by clamping and running
66 the earth lead;
− mechanical protection by installing the brass or aluminium covers; and Equipment and
− finishing over the mechanical protective cover. Distribution
Cable ends are terminated by providing:
− stress control screens;
− the earthing clamp lead, etc.;
− insulation;
− lugs; and
− rain sheds.

While making joints and terminations, it is essential to know the size and
type of the cable in order to select appropriate kits for joints and
terminations. The kits contain the accessories required along with
instruction sheets for step-by-step procedure for making joints and
terminations. The cable and end terminations should be prepared as per
the dimensional drawing and procedure given in the instruction sheet.
Types of Joints and Terminations
The joint is considered to be the weakest link in the system but the overall
reliability of a distribution system depends on it. Therefore, jointing
accessories and techniques have an important and critical role
despite their comparative low value in the overall investment.
The following types of joints and terminations are used:
− cast iron moulded,
− epoxy resin type,
− heat shrinkable,
− cold shrinkable, and
− ‘push on’ type.
The heat shrinkable, cold shrinkable and ‘push on’ type joints and
terminations do not need any setting time and can be taken into service

SAQ 4: Underground cables

List the reasons for using underground cables. State the selection
criteria, sizing, jointing and terminating of underground cables.


So far, we have discussed the construction of the substation equipment and

distribution lines. In the next two sections, you will learn about the general
O&M practices for these components of the power distribution system.
Operation and

Planned maintenance schedules for various components of the power

distribution systems are carefully drawn up by the power distribution utility
even before the installation work is completed. During plant shut-downs for
overall maintenance and before re-energisation, the sub-transmission and
distribution plants are subjected to certain inspection and testing procedures.
This also applies to the cable route that has been de-energised for a long
period of time. Such planned shut down of the plant to be tested and network
reconfiguration ensure continuity of supply to consumers while the testing
takes place.

The power distribution utility must formulate such planned outage schemes at
different times of the year (depending upon the load demands) for different
maintenance periods in such a fashion that consumer supply is least affected.
This also involves putting in place a system for handling customer complaints
Source: Special report about power supply breakdowns.
on CEA website
“Guidelines for Project Customer Relationship Management System
Management and
Performance Evaluation A trouble call management facility should be provided to attend to the power
of Sub-transmission and supply interruptions promptly and to improve the reliability of power supply as
Distribution Project”. well as minimise the down time. It should also attend to fuse off calls promptly
as well as the complaints of the customer on quality of supply. A computer
based facility provided in the substation/complaint attending centre would
certainly improve this aspect of O&M.

We now describe some general maintenance practices for the substation

equipment and distribution lines.

5.5.1 General Maintenance Practices

There are two aspects of general maintenance:

v Firstly, replacement of the parts that are worn out during the
normal operation must be carried out from time to time.

v Secondly, preventive maintenance should be carried out for

detecting deterioration and mal-operation of the system

In the daily operation of the substation it is the duty of the attendant to inspect
the equipment externally and remedy any abnormality that does not require
disconnection of the apparatus. During this inspection, a watch is required to
be kept for deposits of dust and dirt on the equipment, heating of contacts,
joint or some part, low oil level and oil leakages, etc. Checks should also be
made to ensure that
• the locks and doors of the switch house are in good condition,
68 • no leaks have developed in the roof,
• the ventilating and heating systems are operating normally, Equipment and
• the prescribed safety aids are in place and in good order, Distribution
• the earthing connections remain unbroken,
• the packing of the cables entering or leaving a cable trench or tunnel
within the premises are intact,
• the ventilating louvers are not damaged, and
• the access roads leading to the oil filled apparatus are unobstructed,
and will allow the approach of the fire engines in the event of an oil fire
during an emergency.

On-line inspection and testing is normally limited to visual, external and

physical examination in order to ensure that the plant is in a safe
condition. Infra-red detectors must be used periodically for inspection of
overhead lines and open terminal, substation bus-bars for hot spots caused by
faulty terminals. In addition, live line washing techniques are also available
for cleaning overhead lines or open terminal substation insulators.
Purified water with a high resistance value is used in a fine spray fitted from
well-earthed nozzle. Functional testing and trip schemes require special
switching arrangements initially to reconfigure the power system network.

Switchgear site tests during operational maintenance stage vary from utility
to utility depending upon the quality of upkeep of the equipment and
environmental conditions of the site. These generally involve the following
checks and tests:
• General checks include inspection and checking of
− the tightness of terminal connection, piping junctions and bolted joints;
− painting and corrosion protection;
− cleanliness;
− cracking and chipping of bushings;
− foundation bolts; and
− lubrication of contacts and moving parts of the circuit breakers.
• Electrical circuit checks include checking of
− insulation check;
− dielectric strength of the insulating oil;
− level of the oil;
− quality of SF6 gas/ insulating medium such as humidity content, filling
pressure or density except for sealed apparatus;
− leakage of oil, etc.
• Mechanical tests include
− inspection of operating circuits (hydraulic, pneumatic, spring charged)
and consumption during operation; 69
Operation and
− verification of correct rated operating sequence (recharging, etc).

• Time checks include checking and adjustment of

− track alignment and interlocking mechanism;
− closing and opening times;
− operation and control of auxiliary circuits;
− recharging time of operating mechanism after specified sequence;
− other specific operations.

• Electric tests include

− dielectric tests; and
− testing of the resistance of main circuit.

If the substation is constantly attended, the rounds of switchgear are usually

planned for each shift so that all the equipment will be looked at least once a
day. Equipment is also inspected immediately after a trip out.

Substation switchgear requires regular cleaning in accordance with its design,

type of insulation, the degree of pollution of the atmosphere or ambient air,
etc. The frequency of cleaning depends upon the type of layout of the
apparatus and insulators. However, cleaning must be done during each
preventive maintenance activity.

Even though the vacuum switchgear does not require elaborate maintenance
like the oil insulated switchgear, it is still necessary to make periodic routine
inspection. The absence of ionized gas and carbon during interruption
removes the major source of insulation contamination.

5.5.2 Maintenance of Lines

Pre-monsoon inspection of all 33 kV lines should be completed between
January and March every year after obtaining due approvals for pre-arranged
shut downs for the entire programme.

The staff responsible for the pre-monsoon inspection should carry all the
necessary equipment such as ropes, petroleum jelly, cotton waste and
sufficient O&M materials like insulators, discs, nuts for the pins, binding wire,

In the routine maintenance practices, all the tree clearances are done
and all the minor defects like damaged insulators, improper pin binding,
loose jumpering and loose stays are rectified during the inspection itself. All
the insulators are cleaned, all AB switches are lubricated and defective blades
replaced. The defects that may take considerable time for rectification are
noted down and attended within the next one week. Examples are insertion of
poles, replacement of damaged conductors, replacement of damaged
supports, etc.

Periodical patrolling of 33 kV lines has to be done on a monthly basis. The

patrolling is also done and suspected defects rectified, whenever the line trips Equipment and
on fault. One of the major precautions to be kept in mind by the maintenance Distribution
staff is to take the permit to work or line clear to work on distribution lines. Lines

Procedure for Permit to Work (Line Clear)

A line clear or a permit to work (PTW) on any electrical equipment or line is

issued by an authorised person to another authorised person. If there are
more than one gangs working under the same supervisor, each gang takes
sub-line clears from the supervisor who has taken the line clear. In case, the
line clear has to be issued for the supervisor, s/he takes self line clear. In this
case also, all the precautions that are to be followed in issue and return of line
clear are followed.

Line clear books are very important records. Pages in these books are serially
numbered and no paper from this book is used for any other purpose. If any
page is to be destroyed, the custodian specifically mentions the reasons for
doing so. It is attested by his/her dated signature. The line clear books are
reviewed periodically by the Competent Authority.

Line clear can be issued/received over telephone. It is desirable that the

issuer/receiver recognise each other’s voice. The requisition for line clear and
the line clear issue messages are repeated by both the parties to ensure that
line clears are issued/received on the equipment on which it is intended. A
secret code number is followed in such cases. You may like to revisit Units 6
and 7 of the course BEE-002 for the details.

5.5.3 Operation and Maintenance of Capacitors

A routine check of the capacitor performance is made by measuring current
with the help of Ammeter/Tong tester once in two months and the record is
maintained. If any reduction in current /failure of capacitor is noticed, supplier/
manufacturers must be contacted immediately and replacement of capacitor

The status of the capacitor is determined by the voltage at the highest voltage
bus available at the substation. It is subject to the maximum permissible
voltage at the bus on which the capacitor bank is connected and the loading
factor. The loading factor is the ratio of the total MVA load on the bus at which
the capacitor is installed to the MVAR rating of the capacitor. Accordingly, the
switching on/off of the capacitor bank is done as per Table 5.1.

Table 5.1: Voltage of Highest Level at the Substation

Voltage of Highest Level at the Substation (kV)

System Voltage
Above Between Below
For 220 kV level 230 230 - 220 220- 215 215- 205 205

For 132 kV level 140 140 - 130 132 - 128 128 - 122 122

For 66 kV level 70 70 - 68 68 - 65 65 - 60 60

For 33 kV level 30 35 - 34 34 - 32 32 - 30 30
Operation and
The loading factor and the status of capacitor switch are given in Table 5.2.

Table 5.2: Loading Factor and the Status of Capacitor Switch

Loading Factor Status of Capacitor Switch

Above 2 Off Status-Quo On On On

Between 1 to 2 Off Off Status-Quo On On

Below 1 Off Off Off Status-Quo On

LV bus voltage is controlled by changing transformer taps. Notwithstanding

the above, if the voltage at the bus on which capacitor is connected is 1.1 per
unit or higher, the capacitor is switched off.

5.5.4 Hot Line Maintenance

Work performed on transmission and distribution lines while they are
energized and in service is called hot line maintenance. Hot line tools are
all types of tools mounted on insulated poles used to maintain energized high
voltage lines and other safety equipment. Insulated disconnect stick,
wire-holding stick, auxiliary arm, cross-arm mount, pole mount, wire tong,
saddles,flexible line hose and hoist link stick are some of the hot line tools
in use.

When working with energized power lines, linemen must use protection to
eliminate any contact with the energized line. Some distribution-level voltages
can be worked using rubber gloves. The limit of how high a voltage can be
worked using rubber gloves varies from company to company according to
different safety standards and local laws. You may like to refer to Units 6
and 7, Block 2 (BEE-002) for more information.

72 Fig. 5.13: Hot Line Maintenance

Voltages higher than those (which can be worked using gloves) are worked Equipment and
with special sticks known as hot-line tools, with which power lines can be Distribution
safely handled from a distance. Linemen must also wear special rubber Lines
insulating gear when working with live wires to protect against any accidental
contact with the wire. The buckets from which linemen sometimes work are
also insulated using rubber.

For high voltage and extra-high voltage transmission lines, specially trained
personnel use so-called “live-line” techniques to allow hands-on contact with
energized equipment. In this case, the worker is electrically connected to the
high voltage line so that he is at the same electrical potential. The lineman
wears special conductive clothing which is connected to the live power line, at
an instant such that the line and the lineman are at the same potential allowing
the lineman to handle the wire safely. Since training for such operations is
lengthy, and still presents a danger to personnel, only very important
transmission lines are the objects of live-line maintenance practices.

SAQ 5: Hot line maintenance

a) At which line voltages do personnel in your company carry out the

maintenance work using
i) rubber gloves, and
ii) hot-line tools?
b) Explain the live-line maintenance technique.




The ratio of primary line length to its concerned secondary distribution line
length is one of the important factors that influence the performance of
primary distribution. Over the years, large scale expansion of the urban
system and rural electrification programme in the country has resulted in
considerable expansion of Low Tension (LT) distribution network. The size of
the distribution transformers has been constantly increasing to meet the
increasing demand due to load growth.

As a result, the length of LT lines/circuits is also increasing resulting in high

losses in LT lines, excessive voltage drops, frequent faults on LT network and
higher rate of failure of distribution transformers. This has also resulted in very
large length of LT lines as compared to High Tension (HT) lines resulting in
high LT/ HT ratios. The ratio of LT to HT lines in our country has been of the
order of 3. This results in high losses and low voltages at the consumer end.
Operation and
5.6.1 Impact of Increasing HT Lines
Increasing HT lines can help in reducing both line losses and voltage drops.
Reduction in Line Losses
In the low voltage distribution system, supply at low voltages with long LT lines
using smaller conductor sizes causes high line losses. However, the loss in
HV system for the distribution of the same power is less than 1% of the LV
system. Hence, with HV system the total energy losses are considerably
Reduction in Voltage Drops
The voltage drop in LV lines is very high as the lines are long and have smaller
conductor sizes. In HV distribution systems, the voltage drop for the
distribution of same quantum of power is less than 1% as against that in low
voltage distribution system. This ensures proper voltage profile at the
consumer end.
All other parameters, like load factor, power factor, etc., remaining the same,
the percentage losses in a system having higher LT/HT ratio will be
higher than in a system having lower LT/HT ratio. A ratio of 1 to 1.2 would
be very beneficial to power distribution. As this measure is a must to improve
efficiency and voltage regulation of distribution, additional capital investment
should not come in the way.

With this discussion on the impact of increasing HT lines on reduction in line

losses and voltage drops, we now end the unit and summarise its contents.


• In the overall power development scenario, the Transmission and

Distribution system constitutes the essential link between power
generating sources and the ultimate consumers and substations and lines
have to be erected for providing quality power supply.
• The main equipment used in a substation comprises structures,
transformers, bus-bars, circuit breakers, isolators, earthing switches,
lightning arrestors, substation batteries, fire extinguishing equipment, etc.
Overhead distribution lines and underground cables (in urban areas) carry
power to the end-user.
• There are two aspects of general maintenance: replacement of parts
that are worn out from time to time and preventive maintenance for
detecting deterioration and mal-operation of the system components.
Periodic checks and tests should be carried as per specified procedures,
which may vary from utility to utility depending upon the site conditions.
• Special hot line maintenance techniques and tools are required for
maintaining live lines.
• Due to increasing LT lines in the distribution system, losses, excessive
74 voltage drops and frequent faults have resulted in the LT network leading to
a higher rate of failure of distribution transformers. The high LT/HT ratios Equipment and
result in high losses and low voltages at the consumer end. An LT/HT ratio Distribution
of 1 or 1.2 is preferable. Lines


1. Describe the equipment required for the construction of a 66-33/11 kV


2. Describe the equipment required for the construction of a 11/0.4 kV

distribution substation.

3. What equipment is required for the construction of an overhead

distribution line?

4. Distinguish between current and voltage transformers.

5. List the different types of underground cables in use today. What criteria
are used for the selection of these cables?

6. State the precautions that need to be taken in jointing and terminating

underground cables.

7. Give reasons why underground cabling is being opted for in urban areas.
What are its advantages?

8. Explain hot line maintenance techniques and tools.

9. Explain the impact of LT/HT ratio on losses and voltage.

Operation and


Unit 6

Learning Objectives

After studying this unit, you should be able to:

 classify distribution transformers;

 explain the criteria for distribution transformer

selection and placement;

 identify the causes for failure of distribution


 discuss the various methods of testing a

transformer; and

 describe the different ways of enhancing

transformer life and efficiency.

Operation and

In Unit 4, you have learnt that the transformer is an electrical device used for
stepping down or stepping up the supply voltage. You know that the
distribution transformer (DTR) steps down the primary distribution voltage of
11 kV or 33 kV to secondary distribution of 415V between phases and 240V
between phase and neutral.

In this unit, you will study about distribution transformers in detail covering
their selection criteria, causes of failure, tests on DTRs and ways of
improving their life and efficiency.


Distribution transformers are used both in electrical power distribution and
transmission systems. The power rating of a transformer is normally
determined by the cooling method and the coolant used. Oil or some such
other heat conducting material is commonly used as coolant. Ampere rating is
increased in a distribution transformer by increasing the size of the primary
and secondary windings; voltage ratings are increased by increasing the
voltage rating of the insulation used in making the transformer.

The criteria for selection of a transformer and its technological details

depend on its intended use or purpose, working conditions and
operating requirements. For example, a power transformer is selected in
the sub-transmission level because it is consistently loaded up to full rating in
order to obtain maximum efficiency at full load. On the other hand, distribution
transformers (in the power distribution system) are under-loaded most of the
time in order to ensure maximum all day efficiency at the expense of lower
efficiency during peak hours. In order to understand these criteria, you need to
know about transformer classification.

6.2.1 Classification of Transformers

Apart from classification on the basis of purpose (as power transformers and
distribution transformers) transformers are also classified on the basis of:

v Type of Core Used; and

v Type of Cooling Used.

v Type of Core Used

In laminated-steel-core transformers, two main types of cores are used:

core type and shell type.

• Core type transformers have cores with a hollow square

through the centre (Fig. 6.1). Note that the core is made up of
78 many laminations of steel.

Fig. 6.1: Core Type Transformer

• Shell type transformers are the most popular and efficient

transformers and they have a shell core (Fig.6.2). Note that
each layer of the core consists of E- and I-shaped metallic
sections, which are butted together to form the laminations.
The laminations are insulated from each other before being
pressed together to form the core.

Fig. 6.2: Shell Type Transformer

v Type of Cooling Used

There are two types of transformers in this category: Dry type and
• Dry type transformers use natural air cooling and are usually of very
small ratings. They are rugged and simple in construction and are not
plagued with the failures related with oil cooling.
• Oil filled transformers are of two types: One type uses
self-cooling and the other type uses forced cooling.
Self-cooling oil filled transformers have natural circulation of
insulating oil within which the entire transformer is immersed. These
are of moderate ratings and are suitable for outdoor duty as these 79
Operation and require no housing other than their own and thereby save on cost. For
Maintenance higher ratings, either the smooth surface of tank is corrugated or is
provided with radiators/pipes to get greater heat radiation area.

Large transformers require forced oil/water cooling. The coolant

is circulated by a pump to radiate high quantity of heat generated and
also to minimise the size of the transformer.

6.2.2 Criteria for Transformer Selection

The criteria used for selection of proper rating/size of DTRs are described

A. Voltage Rating

While the secondary side voltage rating of the transformer is fixed as

400 V, 3 phase with neutral available along with the three phase wires in star
configuration, the primary side voltage is decided by the voltage of incoming
Diversity factor is
defined as the ratio of feeder(s). If there are more than one incoming feeders, the feeder for fixing
the sum of the individual the criterion for transformer selection can be decided on the basis of its
maximum demands of proximity with the substation, load delivering capability and availability of
various parts of a power suitable voltage transformer. The number, steps and type of tap changer, i.e.,
distribution system to
on load or off load, is decided by operating requirements of voltage and
the maximum demand
of the whole system. It current.
measures the
B. Size/Capacity/kVA Rating
staggering of different
hours of the day and kVA rating of transformer(s) is decided on the basis of the following factors:
indicates flatness of
load curve. That is, it • existing load to be catered;
denotes MVA vs hours
• future load growth to be absorbed;
of the day curve.
• diversity factor (DF) of load for different categories of consumers.
Diversity factor is greater than or equal to one and can be used to get the
required rating by dividing the sum of maximum demand of individual
consumer categories by DF;
• margin for future load growth;
• safety factor for avoiding overloading;
• level of all day efficiency to be achieved; and
• selection of an optimum loading of transformer(s), usually around 60%,
used to calculate the required capacity of the transformer(s).

C. Number of Transformers

Distribution substations are seldom provided with a single transformer of

required rating (except pole mounted transformers/substations). However,
reliability of supply can be severely affected if only one transformer is used
especially when it fails or when it is under maintenance. Reliability of supply
increases with increase in the number of transformers.

It is important to note that capacity requirement and hence cost per

transformer reduces with increase in the number of transformers, as the load
80 gets divided, but the total cost increases as the relative benefit of reduction in
the cost of each transformer is lower than the reduction in capacity. Distribution
Moreover, there is additional cost for associated equipment for each additional Transformer
unit of transformer. Thus, in order to optimise the reliability and the cost
involved, the number of transformers is usually kept between two to
four. Transformers are required to comply with the latest edition of IS 2026.
The size specifications for this purpose are given in Table 6.1.

Table 6.1: Standard Sizes of Transformers

11kV / 0.433 kV 160, 200, 250, 315, 500, 630, 1000, 1600, 2000 kVA

33kV / 0.433 kV 630, 1000, 1600, 2000 kVA

6.2.3 Placement of Transformers

You have learnt in Unit 4 that in the High Voltage Distribution System (HVDS),
transformers are usually of very small rating (5 to 25 kVA) and provide supply
to 10 − 25 consumers. Such transformers, being large in number and very
small in size are mounted on a pole at an optimum location and are provided
with metering and isolating equipment. Similarly, medium sized self-oil cooled
transformers are also placed in open space and may be pole mounted. Large
sized transformers are fixed on the ground with proper foundation and are
enclosed within premises housing the associated equipment of transformers.

So far we have discussed the selection criteria and their placement. We will
now describe causes of transformer failures. But, before proceeding further,
you may like to answer an SAQ.

SAQ 1: Transformer selection and placement

SAQ 1: Transformer selection and placement
a) Describe the salient features of a distribution transformer.


b) Classify the different types of transformer in your utility. What

parameters are used in the selection of transformers in your utility?



As you are aware, the distribution sector has a large number of distribution
transformers of various capacities. Any failure of these transformers is bound
to cause great inconvenience to the consumers and huge financial losses to
the utilities. It is therefore extremely important to avoid transformer failure. 81
Operation and We list below some important reasons for distribution transformer failure.
• Poor Performance
This could be due to
− low oil level;
− draining of oil due to leakage/theft of oil;
− improper earthing;
− frequent faults on LT lines due to loose spans leading to short circuit;
− mechanical failure of winding;
− improper tree clearance of LT lines;
− defective breather and consequent ingress of moisture;
− low electric strength of oil/winding insulation; and
− corrosion of core laminations.

• Improper Protection
This could be the result of
− using defective or over rated fuses;
− consistent overloading; and
− not providing Lightning Arrestors (LAs).

• Manufacturing Defects
These result from
− improper / inadequate design;
− poor quality of material;
− bad workmanship; and
− poor short circuit withstand capacity.
All these reasons for transformer failure can be classified under the following
heads (Fig. 6.4):
v Ageing,
v Manufacturing defects,
v Improper structure/erection of distribution transformer,
v Improper operation and maintenance, and
v Natural calamities.
We now discuss each one of these briefly.

6.3.1 Ageing
The expected life span of the distribution transformers above 100 kVA capacity
is about 35 years and that of up to 100 kVA capacity is about 25 years. But
experience shows that most of transformer failures begin to occur even
before 20 years of its life.
Until a few years ago, distribution transformer manufacturers incorporated Distribution
many more safety factors in design. In recent years, manufactures have Transformer
adopted the cost-benefit approach in the design of transformers, which just
about manages to satisfy the requirements of IS specification. The result is
that they compromise on both quality and reliability requirements of IS
specification. While the transformers so manufactured meet the requisite
standards when tests are conducted before and immediately after installation,
they fail to do so after a few years of being in operation due to ageing.

Thus, many transformers are unable to serve the expected full life period and
even if they are in service, they are quite likely to fail before the expected full
life due to lower reliability. Hence, giving top priority to the replacement of
those in-service transformers that have served their full-life period will reduce
transformer failure.

6.3.2 Manufacturing Defects

In the past, distribution transformers served for more than 60 years, which is
double the life expectancy. But now many distribution transformers fail after a
few years of service and have to be repaired twice or thrice during their life
time. Many reasons for pre-mature failure of the distribution transformer are
related to manufacturing defects. We describe them, in brief.
The trend of design is now towards lowering the manufacturing costs per
unit even if it is at the expense of quality. Moreover, the tender appraisal is NOTE
mostly confined to the initial cost, with no consideration for maintenance of
The cost of repairs
the transformer up to the end of its fair life period. Consequently the safety
during the fair life period
factor is affected adversely. The following aspects of transformer design plus the initial cost is
impact transformer failure: called the estimated
cost of the transformer.
• Transformer tank size: Inadequate clearance for free circulation of oil It is at present a few
can lead to abnormal temperature rise, causing great damage to the times more than the
HV winding insulation and, consequently, premature failure of initial cost at which the
distribution transformer
transformers. is procured.
• Percentage impedance (mechanical strength of coil): Most of the
distribution transformers are located in remote areas and many a
times it is not possible to give special attention to the operating
conditions. Harsh conditions can also lead to failure. The solution to
this problem lies in designing transformers with large
impedance so as to increase theirshort circuit withstand
Percentage impedance depends upon the following factors.

− Size of wire used in HV coils − Economical size of coil yields

lower size gauge wire, but this reduces the mechanical
capability of coils. As a result, the coils may not be able to
withstand higher current densities which occur during the short
circuit conditions. 83
Operation and − Radial distance between HV and LV coils − Increasing the radial
Maintenance distance between HV and LV coils increases the percentage
impedance. It also leads to better mechanical strength of the coil
to withstand higher short circuit stresses developed during short
circuit conditions. But this will lead to higher cost.

− Effect of impedance on the short circuit stresses −The short

circuit stresses are proportional to the square of the short circuit
current. If the impedance is increased from 4.5 % to 5 % - 5.5%,
the effect on the short circuit stresses developed in the
transformer is reduced considerably.

• Improper use of aluminium wires: Improper use of aluminium wires

leads to HV coil failure. The use of aluminium conductors has been
recommended for windings up to 200 kVA transformers. However, the
super enamel covering the aluminium wire tends to crack during
asymmetrical conditions and leads to coil failure. Hence, the use of
higher cross-section conductors with double paper covering would be

• Improper use of interlayer papers: Coil failure is usually seen as an

electrical failure. This generally occurs when interlayer insulation
breaks down at the end of the turn and creeps to the next layer. This
type of insulation failure can be avoided by using folding papers and
reinforcing the end turn insulation with proper sleevings. Uniform
separation of HV coil along with the inner coil, using spacers helps to
avoid pressing of end turns as well as any further shrinkage during

• Use of inferior quality materials: Use of inferior quality wires for

coils, poor quality of oil and other insulation material, etc., to bring
down the cost of the transformer also increases the probability of
failure of the transformer before full life of the transformer. The design
calculation of the tenderers should conform to the quantity and grade
of input materials of core and windings furnished in the tender. For
ensuring this, the transformer should be subjected to strip test. This
will make sure that the losses and impedance furnished in the tender
have been actually achieved by the transformer.


Apart from poor design, sub-standard execution of a good design also

becomes a reason for transformer failure. We now briefly describe some
such reasons.

• Improper alignment of HV windings: When a transformer is loaded,

the primary and secondary ampere-turns act in magnetic opposition
but are in complete alignment with respect to the core and coils. When
current flows through the coils, magnetic field is set up around them,
which has an associated magnetic flux. Even a small error in the
alignment of either coils, i.e., an asymmetrical ampere-turn balancing,
leads to production of cross magnetic fluxes. This results in lower Distribution
impedance and hence mechanical failure of the coils. Transformer

• Improper clamping arrangement: Inadequate clamping

arrangements of the HV coils lead to vibrations and movement of the
coils during short circuit conditions resulting in failure of HV Coils.

• Improper connections: In many cases, the connecting delta leads to

the bushing are not properly supported on the framework, resulting in
breakage during trans-shipment or at the time of the first charge of
transformer. Moreover, improper soldering of leads will result in open
circuit even at normal full load conditions. Also, such transformers may
fail while encountering the first fault or after a few faults.

• Inadequate tightening of core: Even with proper fuse protection on

the HV side, inadequate tightening will result in failure of transformer
due to collapse of the windings. The transformer can fail due to this
fault even under minor fault condition in the LT distribution due to
mechanical vibration in the core and windings.

6.3.3 Improper Structure of Distribution Transformer

IE Rules, 1956 specify various standard clearances to be maintained when
distribution transformers are to be erected. The standard clearances adopted
for transformer structures will avert its failure (Table 6.2).

Table 6.2: Clearances for Transformer Structures

Transformer Structure Clearance

HT bushing to ground 13 feet

ABS switch fixed contact to HG fuse 7 feet

Guy Shackle to ground 10 feet

If the length of the jumper is more LT/HT pin insulators are used to fix
than 5 inches the jumper

Non-adherence to these standards makes DTRs prone to failures.

6.3.4 Impact of Natural Calamities

v Heavy lightning: If the HTLAs (HT Lightning Arrestors) fail to divert direct
lightning strikes or surges due to discontinuity in the earthing system, the
HV winding can fail due to surge voltage or the HT Lightning Arrestor itself
may burst.

v Bushing flashover: Dust and chemicals carried with air and deposited
on the bushings reduce the electric leakage distance and cause flashover.
To avoid this, the bushings (both HT and LT) should be cleaned properly at
regular intervals. However, cotton waste should not be used for cleaning,
as this may cause scratches in the bushing and subsequently lead to
flashover of bushing. 85
Operation and v Failure due to contact with birds and other animals: To avoid failure of
Maintenance the distribution transformer due to a squirrel crossing it or due to birds
sitting on it, the HT/LT bushing and HT/LT jumper leads from the bushing
should be covered with yellow tape insulation. This yellow tape insulation
will also indicate the overloaded operation of the transformer by the
change of colour of the tape from Yellow to Black.

6.3.5 Improper Operation and Maintenance (O&M)

Transformer failure can also stem from poor O&M practices. For example, in
addition to normal full load, continuous over-heating and higher no-load
losses may reduce the life of the transformer due to reduction in the life of
insulating papers, oil, etc. Other improper O&M practices leading to
transformer failure are discussed later in the section on enhancing
transformer life and efficiency. In Table 6.3, we summarise some reasons for
transformer failure.

Table 6.3: Failure of Distribution Transformers

Reason for Causes

Failure Rate
DTR Failure

Damage to 65 % • Compressed windings;

LV Coils • Open Circuit Insulation failure;
• Dislodged spacers; and
• Broken support/inadequate bolts.
Damage to 5% • Overloading;
HV Coils
• Defective termination of coils; and
• Inadequate size of fuses.

Damage to 10 % • Any of the above causes.


Other 20 % • Poor construction of transformer tank;

• Defective Joints;
• Oil oozing out;
• Punctured radiators and bushing
• Damaged tap changers, etc.

SAQ 2: Failure of distribution transformers

Collect data on the annual failure rate of DTRs in your utility for the past
three years. Identify the reasons for their failure and classify them among
the above mentioned five aspects described from Sec. 6.3.1 to Sec.

Thus far, you have studied about the selection criteria of transformers, their Distribution
placement and the reasons for transformer failure. If you are able to prevent Transformer
these causes of transformer failures, the battle is more than half won. The
rest is taken care of by transformer testing prior to its installation.



Transformer testing needs to be carried out to ensure that the distribution

transformers are built with
• adequate electrical strength to withstand over voltage (due to switching
surges) impinging on the winding without causing flashover; and NOTE

• adequate mechanical strength to bear the mechanical stresses In practice, transformer

developed on the winding during short circuits. testing is usually
dispensed with just for
The following tests must ideally be conducted on the units before their want of testing facility at
acceptance: the utility’s laboratories.
• testing of windings − insulation and mechanical strength;
• testing of insulating transformer oil; and
• other tests.

We now describe these tests in brief.

6.4.1 Testing of Windings − Insulation and Mechanical Strength

This involves four types of tests, which we have described briefly in Table 6.4.

Table 6.4: Testing of Windings

Test Description

High Voltage This is done to check the dielectric strength of the insulation
Test between the windings operating at different voltages (HV
and LV) and between each of these windings, core and
earthed parts of the transformer. It is also called the Major
Insulation Test for the transformers.

Induced This is conducted to test the dielectric strength of the

Voltage Test inter-turn, inter-layer, inter-disc and inter-phase insulation.
This test is also called the Minor Insulation Test.

Short Circuit This is conducted for testing the mechanical strength of the
Test transformer in terms of its impedance parameters.

Ratio Test This test can be carried out for testing the transformer ratio
(for example, shorted turns can cause improper
transformer ratio). This ratio is measured with a high
accuracy portable digital turns ratio tester only after
ensuring shutdown and complete isolation of the
transformer from the system.
Operation and We give below the findings of the Central Power Research Institute (CPRI)
Maintenance about the short circuit test.

Box 6.1: Findings of Central Power Research Institute on Short Circuit Test

From the available data on short circuit tests, it seems that the failure rate
of transformers manufactured by small and medium scale industries is at
par with those of large scale industries. But in practice the rate of failure is
very high. The reason could be that the materials used for bulk manufacture
of transformers are not the same as those used for the transformer produced
for testing purposes. This is a distinct possibility because the materials cost
contributes a major share to transformer cost. Manufacturers use inferior
quality materials to bring down the cost to compete in the highly competitive
market. Hence, there is a need for proper quality assurance at the
manufacturing stage even though the prototype has successfully passed
the Short Circuit Test.

6.4.2 Testing of Insulating Transformer Oil

At present, transformer oil is subjected to Breakdown Voltage (BDV) test to
ensure its electrical strength. Other tests to confirm important transformer
characteristics such as acidity, resistivity, etc., are not carried out before
accepting bulk supply. Thus, there is every possibility that manufacturers use
inferior quality of oil. This can lead to poor insulation resistance between High
Voltage to Earth, Low Voltage to Earth and High and Low Voltages and reduced
cooling rate. Moreover, it can give rise to abnormal temperature increases even
before loading the transformer to its rated capacity.
Thus, it is important to check whether the oil used is a new one or a
reconditioned one or a reclaimed one before the transformer is installed.
Both water and water saturated oils are heavier than clean and dry oil, and sink
to the bottom of the container.
The following tests are usually conducted on the transformer oil:
• inspection of samples;
• acidity test;
• analysis of dissolved gases; and
• electric strength test.
We now briefly describe these tests.
• Inspection of Samples: Colour and odour of the oil provide useful
information on the quality of oil and its fitness for use. In Table 6.5, we list the
factors that should be watched out for during inspection.
Table 6.5: Inspection of Oil Samples

Presentation Reason
Cloudiness Suspended solid matter such as iron oxide/sludge
Muddy colour Moisture
Dark brown Presence of dissolved asphaltenes
Green colour Presence of dissolved copper compounds
Acid smell Presence of volatile acids which can cause
88 corrosion
• Acidity Test: Transformer oil deteriorates gradually while in service due to Distribution
oxidation. The acidity in the oil causes rusting of ironing work inside the Transformer
tank above the oil level and the attached varnish on the windings. The
recommended limits for acidity test and the action required are given in
Table 6.6.

Table 6.6: Action Required for Various Acidity Levels of Transformer Oil

Acidity Level Action

Below 0.5 mg KOH/g No action needs to be taken provided

the condition of oil is satisfactory in all
other respects.
Between 0.5 and 1.0 mg KOH/g Oil should be kept under observation.
Above 1.0 mg KOH/g Oil should be treated or discharged.

• Analysis of Dissolved Gases: The permissible concentrations of

dissolved gases in the oil of a healthy transformer are given in Table 6.7.

Table 6.7: Permissible Concentrations of Dissolved Gases in Transformer Oil

Gas Less than 4 Years 4-10 Years in More than 10

in Service Service Years in Service
Hydrogen 100 / 150 ppm 200 / 300 ppm 200 / 300 ppm

Methane 50 / 70 ppm 100 / 150 ppm 200 / 300 ppm

Acetylene 20 / 30 ppm 30 / 50 ppm 100 / 150 ppm

Ethylene 100 / 150 ppm 150 / 200 ppm 200 / 400 ppm

Ethane 30 / 50 ppm 100 / 150 ppm 800 / 1000 ppm

Carbon monoxide 200 / 300 ppm 400 / 500 ppm 600 / 700 ppm

Carbon dioxide 3000 / 3500 ppm 400 / 500 ppm 600 / 700 ppm

• Electric Strength Test (Breakdown Voltage Test): This is the most

commonly known test applicable to mineral insulating oils, and it was
originally developed to test the breakdown voltage of the oil. We describe
the method of its measurement in Box 6.2.

Box 6.2: Method of Measurement of Breakdown Voltage

An oil test cell is used in which an alternating voltage is applied between

two metal spheres 12.5 mm in diameter with a gap of 2.5 mm between
them. The voltage is increased until breakdown occurs. The flashover
must be quickly stopped to allow six successive measurements of the
rupture voltage on the same sample. The value of the electric strength of
the sample tested is the average of the six measurements.
Operation and 6.4.3 Other Tests
We now briefly describe some other tests, which are usually conducted on
transformers. These include temperature rise test, drying out of
transformer, and open circuit and Sumpner’s test.

• Temperature rise test is performed to measure the temperature rise of

the main and conservator tanks. The transformer passes the test if the
rise is within the specified limits given by the manufacturer.

• Drying out of transformer is necessary if

− tests indicate the presence of moisture in transformer oil;
− the oil does not withstand the dielectric strength test; and
− the insulation resistance readings are not satisfactory.

Box 6.3: Method of Drying Out the Transformer

Normally HOT OIL CIRCULATION method should be used for drying out the
distribution transformer. In special circumstances, where this method does
not give satisfactory results, SHORT CIRCUIT WITH HOT OIL CIRCULATION
should be used. In this method, both core and winding inside the tank are
simultaneously dried out/streamlined with filter. The moisture dries out from
the windings into the oil and is removed from the oil by evaporation and

• Open circuit and Sumpner’s tests: The open circuit test is carried
out on a transformer for calculating no load parameters and core losses.
Sumpner’s back to back test is done for testing performance on full load
for two similar transformers.

You may like to review the information presented so far before studying

SAQ 3: Transformer testing

State the purpose of tranformer testing. Draw a list of the tests to be
carried out ona transformer defore it is accepted by a utility




In this section, we describe the O&M practices that can enhance the life of a
90 transformer.
6.5.1 Transformer Operation Distribution
The following factors need to be kept in mind while operating a transformer:

A. Overloading of distribution transformer should be avoided.

• Inadvertent burden of extra load due to unauthorized

connections or loads should be identified by periodic testing of current
in the distribution transformer. The Tong Tester may be used for this
purpose at peak hours and other times of the day. Alternatively,
maximum demand ammeter may be connected to exactly determine
the maximum load current drawn from the transformer. In the event of
extra load, transformer failure can be prevented and its life enhanced

− transferring the load to the nearby transformer;

− enhancement of the existing transformer capacity; or
− installing a new transformer.

• Unequal loading in three phases may also cause overloading in one

phase. In such a case, redistribution of the loads, as far as possible
equally, among the 3 phases, will prevent transformer failure.

B. Fuse wires (HG fuse and feeder fuses) should be of proper size.

• HG fuse is the only reliable protection for distribution transformers

under conditions of fault in LT distribution. The LT fuses should be of a
heavy size since these are meant for high currents on the LT side.
Then the chances of LT fuses blowing in short time decrease.

• Higher size HG fuses are sometimes used in distribution transformers

due to non-availability of proper size HG fuse wire and also because
the seriousness of the consequences is not realized. THIS SHOULD
NEVER BE DONE because if the HG fuse is of higher size, the fault
will sustain for a longer period until the heavy size fuse blows. This
can result in increased chances of transformer failure. Even if the
fault lies within the transformer, using HG fuse of proper size will
minimize the damage to the transformer.

• Notwithstanding the use of HG fuse protection, the use of proper size

of fuses on LT feeder depending upon the load has to be ensured to
avert transformer failure.

C. Two phasing in rural areas should be prevented.

• Often, two phase supply is maintained on rural distribution feeders to

prevent operation of three phase motors for staggering the peak hour
loads. However, agriculturists/consumers have invented many
methods to start the motor and run it under 2-phase conditions. The
total power intake of the motor under the 2-phase condition will be
approximately the same as under the 3-phase, contributingunbalanced
Operation and overload in 2 phases. In turn, the distribution transformer will also be
Maintenance subjected to overload in these 2 phases and the core of the
transformer will have unbalanced magnetic field in the region of
saturation point. This will also cause transformer failure and needs to
be checked.
• Similarly, in all the areas covered by the distribution lines with 2-phase
arrangements, all the single phase lighting loads are dumped in these
2 phases so that supply is available under all conditions. This leads to
heavy unbalanced current through the neutral conductor and the
transformer is likely to be overloaded in these 2 phases. Further, the
flow of unbalanced current in the neutral conductor will raise the
potential of the neutral with respect to the earth which is dangerous to
the consumers.
In both these cases, adopting 3-phase balance load scheme should
enhance both the life and efficiency of the transformer as it avoids
unnecessary overloading of 2 phases.
D. Thin breakable diaphragm should be used in the explosion vent.
Use of metallic diaphragm will result in the explosion of the transformer
itself due to the development of high pressure. To avoid this, a thin
breakable diaphragm should be used in the explosion vent. This will
cause the explosion of only the vent under high pressure conditions. It will
avert transformer failure on this account.
E. The correct diversity factor for loads should be adopted.
The value of diversity factor (DF) is assumed for different categories of
load to decide the capacity of the transformers. Due to reduced hours of
supply in the hours of critical power generation, the actual DF is less than
the assumed value. This leads to overloading of the transformers and
results in their failure. Transferring load from an overloaded transformer to
another transformer or replacing it with a new higher capacity transformer
will avert such situations and enhance the life and efficiency of the
F. Non-standard methods should be avoided.
Avoiding the use of non-standard methods can avert transformer failure.
We now describe some of these.
• Use of ACSR conductor, bare or enclosed in PVC pipe from the
transformer bushing as against insulated PVC cables.
• Use of open type fuse for the secondary control of the transformer
as against the standard porcelain fuses.
• Use of single fuse to control more than one feeder.
• Use of Aluminium strands of ACSR conductors as fuses in LT
open type fuses and HG fuses as against tinned copper.
Having learnt about the correct ways of transformer operation, you may like to
know: What methods are used for transformer maintenance?
6.5.2 Maintenance Methods Distribution
We describe these methods, in brief.
• Prevention of Tree Fouling on LT Lines: Sustained tree fouling with LT
conductors may result in conductor snapping or cracked LT Pin
Insulators. This causes heavy earth fault current, which may lead to
transformer failure. Regular tree cutting and trimming will avoid such
• Prevention of Tree Fouling on HT Lines: Tree fouling on HT lines may
cause failure of transformers due to flow of earth fault current. This is
because the primary of all the transformers are delta-connected and all
the 3 windings from cluster of transformers connected to this HT
distribution line will feed the fault apart from the source of EHT substation
(EHTSS). Monitoring and regular tree cutting is the solution to this
problem for enhancing the life of the transformer.
• Maintenance of Breather: Non-provision of fly-nuts for the breather
container will create a gap through which moisturised air will enter into the
transformer tank. To arrest this gap, neophrine gaskets should be
provided instead of rubber gaskets. Rubber gets damaged if it comes in
contact with transformer oil. If oil is not filled in the breather, then the dust
particles will not be absorbed from the air entering the transformer tank,
causing transformer failure. Hence, proper maintenance of breather will
prevent such failures.

• Removal of Water Condensate in the Transformer: Due to absorption

of moisture from atmosphere over a long period of time, a large quantity of
water may collect in the transformers. Since water has higher density it
gets collected at the bottom of the transformer. Indeed water level can
even reach the bottom level of the windings, resulting in failure of
transformers. Sometimes it leads to bursting as well. This is because of
silt formation at the bottom of oil, which prevents escape of gas formed,
resulting in bursting of the bottom of the tank. Occasional draining of oil
from the bottom of the transformer will check collection of such
large quantity of water. The conservator tank also acts as the collector
of water-condensate of moisture entering through the breather. This
should be removed before it contaminates the oil and causes transformer

• Prevention of Oil Leakage in Bushings or Any Other Weak Part of

the Transformer: Oil leakage may be due to excessive heating or
pressure that may develop in the bushing. This will bring down the oil level
in the tank. Moreover, moisture will find its way into the tank through the
aperture from which oil is oozing. This can result in the contamination of
the oil in the tank and hence in the deterioration of HV/LV insulation and
ultimately lead to transformer failure. To avoid this, bimetallic clamps with
proper size of bolt and nuts connected to the LT bushing may be used,
which will reduce excessive heating and damage to bushing rods.
Reduction in heating will lead to higher life and efficiency of the
transformer. 93
Operation and • Avoiding Low Oil Level: Poor visibility of the oil level in the glass level
Maintenance gauge due to accumulated dust, etc., may not show the exact level of oil in
the tank. Oil is likely to go below the core level and the jumper wire from
core winding assembly to the bushing rod will not be covered with oil. This
leads to excessive temperature rise and the failure of inter-turn insulation
as well as flashover of the windings. Transformer life and efficiency can be
improved by avoiding such excessive temperature rises.

• Avoiding High Oil Level: Oil should be filled upto the marking in the
conservator tank. There should be space in the conservator tank for
expansion of oil when the transformer is loaded. If the conservator tank is
completely filled with oil, the transformer may fail due to high pressure
resulting in explosion of vent pipe. Maintaining correct oil level will, thus,
enhance transformer life by avoiding such failure.

• Prevention of Low BDV of the Oil: The Breakdown Value/Voltage (BDV)

of the transformer oil may become very low due to oil contamination. This
results in the increase of the carbon content and decrease of resistance in
the oil. Since the temperature of the oil remains the same, acidity of the oil
increases resulting in deterioration of insulation of the windings and
transformer failure. To prevent this, oil has to be filtered in order to remove
the dust and processed through the reclamation plant to reduce the acidity
and improve the BDV value of the oil. The minimum BDVs for different
voltage ratings of transformers are given in Table 6.8.

Table 6.8: Minimum Breakdown Voltage Ratings for Transformers of

Different Voltage Ratings

Rated Voltage of the Transformer Minimum Breakdown Voltage

Up to 66 kV 30 kV

Above 66 kV and Up to 110 kV 40 kV

Above 110 kV and Up to 230 kV 50 kV

Higher electric strength of oil will, therefore, reduce chances of failure

during abnormal conditions of operation such as lightning/surge voltages
in the system and increase the life of transformer.

• Preventing Low Insulation Resistance (IR) Value: The insulation

resistance may be lowered due to moisture content in the oil and in the
winding insulation, and may cause transformer failure. To prevent this, the
entire transformer core with windings should be placed in hot air chamber
until the moisture content is removed from the core and winding insulation
resistance can be measured with the help of a Megger. The minimum safe
insulation resistance for different voltage ratings of windings is given in
Table 6.9.
Table 6.9: Minimum Safe Insulation Resistance in MΩ
Ω (Mega-ohm) Distribution
Minimum Safe Insulation Resistance in MΩ
Ω at
Rated Voltage of the
Winding Different Temperatures
30°°C 40°°C 50°°C 60°°C

66 kV and above 600 300 150 75

22 kV and 33 kV 500 250 125 65

6.6 kV and 11 kV 400 200 100 50

Below 6.6 kV 200 100 50 25

Ensuring appropriate insulation resistance enhances the life of

• Preventing Loose LT Lines: If the LT lines are very loose or they sag,
shorting of LT lines could occur and cause frequent blowing of feeder
fuses. It could also cause conductor snapping if proper size of fuses are
not used or if the structure is not properly earthed. To prevent this from
happening, phase separators should be used or lines should be
restaged. Loose LT lines should be checked to reduce short circuit
stresses on transformer and hence enhance its life.
• Proper Maintenance of Fuse Gaps in HT/LT Side of the
Transformer: Improper maintenance of the fuse gap setting results
either in frequent blowing of fuses or non-blowing of fuses when required.
The desirable fuse gap setting is given in Table 6.10. Adequate gap
setting will avert transformer failure and hence enhance its life.
Table 6.10: Appropriate Fuse Gap Setting

Type of Fuse Gap Fuse Gap Setting

11 kV HG fuse gap 8 inches

22 kV HG fuse gap 10 inches

LT open type feeder fuse gap 6 inches

In this section, we have discussed major O&M measures required to

prevent transformer failure and enhance its life. It is your job to ensure that
these measures are implemented on a regular basis.
At this point, you may like to pause and review these measures.

SAQ 4: O&M of transformers

List the reasons for distribution transformer failure in your area. Which
O&M4: O&M described
measures of transformers
above could have prevented these?

Operation and With this discussion on various ways of enhancing transformer life by paying
Maintenance proper attention to its operation and maintenance, we end this unit. In this unit
you have studied important aspects related to distribution transformer,
reasons of transformer failure, transformer testing and ways of enhancing life
and efficiency of transformer by paying attention to the operation and
maintenance aspects of these transformers. Let us now present the summary
of its contents.


• Distribution transformers are used both in electrical power distribution and

transmission systems. Their power ratings as well as continuous voltage
rating are the highest. The criteria for selection of a transformer and
its technological details depend on its intended use or purpose,
working conditions and operating requirements.
• Transformers are classified on the basis of type of core used and type
of cooling used.
• The criteria used for selection of proper rating/size of DTRs are based on
voltage rating, size/capacity/kva rating, number of transformers, etc.
• Transformers may be mounted on a pole placed in open space or fixed on
the ground with proper foundation depending upon their sizes and uses.
• Some important reasons for distribution transformer failure are poor
performance due to low oil level, draining of oil due to leakage/theft of oil,
improper earthing, frequent faults on LT lines due to loose spans leading to
short circuit, mechanical failure of winding, improper protection,
manufacturing defects, etc. These reasons for transformer failure can be
classified under the heads of ageing, manufacturing defects, improper
structure/erection of distribution transformer, improper operation
and maintenance and natural calamities.
• Transformer failure can also stem from poor O&M practices such as
continuous over-heating and higher no-load losses.
• Transformer testing needs to be carried out to ensure that the distribution
transformers are built with adequate electrical and mechanical
• Tests such as testing of windings − insulation and mechanical
strength, testing of insulating transformer oil, must ideally be
conducted on the units before their acceptance.
• Transformer life can be enhanced by following proper O&M practices.



1. Classify the distribution transformers being used in your utility as per the
categories given in Sec. 6.2.

2. Examine the parameters of at least two substations of your utility and write
your assessment on whether the transformers installed are of correct Distribution
number and sizes. Give reasons for your answer. Transformer

3. Discuss measures to avoid DTR failures at the Operation and

Maintenance level.

4. Which tests can be performed on DTRs before and immediately after


5. How many consumer complaints in a year are related to DTR failure in

your utility?

6. Describe the kind of DTR failures that take place in your utility.

7. What is the normal correction time for complaints related to DTR failures
in your utility? How can this time be reduced to a level acceptable to
consumers? Explain giving reasons.

8. Analyse the reasons for transformer failure in your utility.

9. Which of the Operation and Maintenance Methods are applied in your

utility to ensure improved life and efficiency of transformers?

10. Suggest ways to reduce DTR failure rate in your utility.

Operation and
Classification of Failures
Major Minor

1. Insulation Failure 1. Oil Sample not satisfactory

2. Damage to HT Coil 2. Lead connections cut off

3. Damage to LT Coil 3. Wornout bushing rods

4. Damage to Core and 4. Broken bushings

Laminations 5. Gasket leakage
5. Failure of Tap switch and Tap 6. Welding leakage
7. Leakage through valves

8. Broken gauge glass

9. Broken vent diaphragm

10. Worn out breather

Care to be Exercised to Avoid Failure

In Manufacturing Stage In Transport In Working Conditions

1. Proper insulation 1. Safe handling 1. Maintenance of

arrangement during transport oil level
and erection 2. Maintenance of
2. Mechanical
rigidity to 2. Adoption of breather with
withstand heavy standards for silica gel and oil
forces erection of seal
transformer 3. Periodical
3. Adequate
structure testing of IR
arrangement 3. Standard values
construction of 4. Periodical tests
4. Adequate
LT lines in transformer
quantity of oil for
insulation and 5. Earth resistance
cooling values and Earth
5. Maintaining maintenance
atmospheric 6. Keeping
pressure inside standard voltage
with pure air and frequency at
6. Rigid fixing of load terminals
core-coil unit 7. Maintaining LAs
inside main tank to prevent
7. Pucca earthing damage due to Distribution
of core and other surges Transformer
metallic parts 8. Maintaining
LT System
9. Keeping the
loading within
the limits

Examination of Failed Distribution Transformers

External Check up Internal Physical Transformer Health

Verification Test

1. Oil level and 1. Conditions of HT 1. By injecting 15 V

quantity available coils in all the three on LV side and
phases measuring stack
2. Places of oil
voltage of
leakage 2. Checkup of lead
HT coil
connection from
3. Condition of
coil (Delta and Star 2. By injecting
breather and
points) 15/Ö3 volt in
silica gel
between one LV
3. Condition of core
4. Condition of phase and Neutral
bushing and 4. Condition of tap and measuring
bushing rods switch and voltage of stack
connections on corresponding
5. Condition of vent
diaphragm 5. Condition of core HT phase coils
earthing and on other
6. Condition of phase HT coils
valves 6. Presence of sludge
and moisture in oil 3. Short circuit test
7. IR value and by injecting 400V
and physical
continuity on HV side
condition of oil
8. BDV test on oil

Case Studies on Averting Distribution Transformer Failures

Details of Observation at Lab Probable Cause Rectification

Defects for the Defects Done and
Noticed at Suggestions
Field to Avoid
Recurrence in

Case 1 Case 1 Case 1 Case 1

All 3 HG Fuses HT leads insulation Conservator oil level Insulation
blow out slowly near top of bushing below bushing rod. sleeves
after 1 hour found charred. Absence of oil changed. Higher
(Examined at around caused oil level was
Field). heating of leads.
Operation and asked to be
Maintenance maintained.
This is a
defect and
company was

Case 2 Case 2 Case 2 Case 2

Oil spurt out B phase end Lightning surges Coil rewound and
(Similar windings (Top and entered and caused sent. The
happening on Bottom found shattering. (Area previous failure
previous shattered). prone to lightning). was also in same
transformers “B” Phase.
also). Asked to
examine HT LAS
of “B” Phase. All
three LAS
changed and no
such failure
Case 3 Case 3 Case 3 Case 3
Undue heating in “R” phase rod inside Connection Connections
LT Rod. “R” connection loosened due to tightened and
phase Rod worn loosened. improper handling of sent for use.
out and bushing during Advised to use
Insulation tape jumper checknuts and
charred. connections. proper handling.
Case 4 Case 4 Case 4 Case 4
L.T.voltage Neutral bushing Improper handling Neutral
measured and connection of neutral bushing Connection set
found alright.But loosened inside. during meggering. right and sent for
found voltage drop use. Advised to
when load is handle bushing
connected. connections

Case 5 Case 5 Case 5 Case 5

LT voltage found LT & HT connection Examined the Defective
alright. But load in found alright. No soldered connections
“R” Phase could visual defect. SC connections in “R” resoldered and
not be loaded. test revealed no phase and found found alright.
current in R Phase, “R” phase bottom Improper
full current in delta connection soldering gave
neutral. improper. way during use.
(not completely
Case 6 Case 6 Case 6 Case 6
HG Fuse in all 3 Inter turn short in Suspected heavy All good stacks
phases blown R Phase − 3rd absorption of removed. Core
out. stack. moisture. Oil with LT coil
Y Phase − 4th sample not placed in Hot Air
stack satisfactory. Chamber and
B Phase − 2nd and Crackle test proved dried. Failed
3rd stack. positive. coils replaced.
Put into use
after circulation Distribution
and test. Transformer
Case 7 Case 7 Case 7 Case 7
HG Fuse Insulation of lead Insulation of lead Advised the field
frequently blows inside “B” phase inside “B” phase to release air
out in “B” phase. bushing found bushing found monthly.
charred. All coils in charred. All coils in
good condition. good condition.

Case 8 Case 8 Case 8 Case 8

Informed that Examined at spot Examined at spot Air trapped under
a) No oil could be and observed that and observed that the bottom
taken from the Field Report is the Field Report is portion and
sampling valve - correct. correct. pushed the oil
oil not flowing up. Advised to
out. release air
b) Oil level in frequently
conservator is full through air plug
(attended at and also through
field). top lid also.
Case 9 Case 9 Case 9 Case 9
HG in “R” Phase “R” phase HT coils Due to Heavy Short LT R Phase
blown out. failed with symmetry Circuit force conductor
(Similar failure in giving way. LT “R” because of frequently
5 months). phase also failed. intermittent feeding touched nearby
of fault current. neutral. Fuse
not blown. Earth
value high :
30 Ohms. Asked
to rectify earthing
system and
adopt proper LT
Case 10 Case 10 Case 10 Case 10
HG fuse blowing Oil level found upto Gauge glass Gauge glass
out on load. core level only. indication cleaned. Block
(attended at Gauge glass misleading. Actually in air hole
site). showing OK level. oil level is low. removed.
HT lead insulation Insulation of
charred due to heat. leads
Coil alright. strengthened.
Transformer put
back in service.
Case 11 Case 11 Case 11 Case 11
HG fuse blown All LT leads “Zero” IR value is on The LT lines and
out. LT IR Value removed. Now LT LT Leads and not in cables were
zero. Megger value is transformer. asked to be
30 M Ohms. inspected and
defects rectified.
Case 12 Case 12 Case 12 Case 12
HG fuse is Core and channel Core not kept Advised the field
blown out. short circuited with earthed (not to revamp
“C” phase coil top provided after earthing system.
stack and leads. repairs). Stray Transformer
Operation and Earthing of core not voltage caused short condemned since
Maintenance found. circuit. laminations got
Case 13 Case 13 Case 13 Case 13
Transformer No fault in the two Advised to inspect Reported that
changed for two transformers the line for any one phase line
times due to brought to Lab. jumper cut. cut on loadside
unequal voltage. with incoming
three phase
intact in pin
(Location in the
midst of a lake
full of water).
Case 14 Case 14 Case 14 Case 14
Removed as Delta connection cut May be due to Continuity test is
unequal voltage. in bottom of “B” ageing and wear OK since it is
IR value and Phase. and tear. connected in
continuity OK. Delta. Soldered
and sent for use.

Case 15 Case 15 Case 15 Case 15

HG fuse blown “B” phase coil inter- Insulation failure due Failed stack
out. IR value and turn short in 2nd to ageing. Since no replaced and
continuity OK. stack. No shattering earth contact of sent for use.
of coils, contacting winding, I.R. values Flexibility of
with Earth. are OK. connection
increased and
soldered with
Case 16 Case 16 Case 16 Case 16
Unequal voltage. HT lead in “B” The lead was tight. Flexibility of
continuity not bushing rod, came Hence came out connection
found with the “B” out. from rod. increased and
phase HT. soldered with

Case 17 Case 17 Case 17 Case 17

Oil sample not Found heavy Sludging due to Oil completely
satisfactory for 3 sludges and ageing, water entry discharged. Core
consecutive moisture absorption. through vent pipe and coil cleaned.
tests. IR value low. Found and gauge glass. Dried in chamber.
vent pipe diaphragm Put hot oil
broken. Gauge circulation with
glass broken. new oil and
Breather all right. tested OK.
Case 18 Case 18 Case 18 Case 18
Frequent failure of Casual examination Non availability of Taken up with
certain make revealed low sufficient oil − very company by
transformer. quantity of oil than small spacing Purchase Wing.
that at name plate − between tank and (Ineffective
260 litres. Available core and top cover, Cooling
30 litres. leads to failure. System).



Sl. No. What to Inspect What Maintenance to Do? Who has to do? Under
Why? And When? whose Supervision?


1. Transformer Yard The ground and the space Area wireman/Line

just immediately under the Inspector (or) Foreman
transformer and the
structure should be free
from bushes, grass and
temporary sheds.
2. Earthpit The three earthpits provided Area wireman/Line
for the transformer should Inspector (or) Foreman
be free from bushes and
should be visible from the
ground and should be
watered so as to have low
resistance value. Low
ground resistance is
important for satisfactory
lightning arrestors

3. Transformer Tank Aircooling is used almost Area wireman/Line

exclusively for distribution Inspector (or) Foreman
transformers, the surface of
the tank being artificially
enlarged by radiators, tubing
and the like. The rate at
which the transformer oil
deteriorates increases
rapidly with rising tempera-
ture. Hence due attention
must be paid for the provi-
sion of adequate ventilation.
One immediate step is to
clean the entire transformer
4. Oil level The transformer core and Lineman/Line Inspector
the winding should be (or) Foreman
completely immersed in the
oil. Low level of oil will cause
burning of H.T. coil. Hence
the oil level in the gauge
glass has to be checked
and topped up whenever
Oil leakage Oil leakages from drain Area wireman/Line
valve, gaskets and tank Inspector (or) Foreman
have to be checked and
rectified at the earliest.
Operation and 5. Earth Safety to personnel can be Lineman/Line Inspector
Maintenance assured by adopting an (or) Foreman
earthing system so designed
that under both normal and
abnormal condition no
dangerous voltage can
appear on the equipment to
which personnel have
access. Damage to equip-
ment can be minimised by
the provision of paths of low
impedance from the
equipment to the earth
system. The earthing
system will be of no value
unless the connections are
tight, and there is continuity
from the equipment to the
earth and the earth exists.

6. Breather Moisture entering the oil as Area wireman/Line

a result of the so called Inspector (or) Foreman
breathing action greatly
reduces its dielectric
strength so that break-
downs from coils or
terminal leads to tank or
core structure may take
place. To prevent moisture
entering into transformer
oil, sillicagel dehydrating
breathers are fitted to the
transformer with a sight
glass so that the colour of
the sillicagel crystals may
be seen. The colour
changes from blue to pink
as the crystal absorbs
moisture. When the
crystals get saturated with
moisture they become
predominantly pink and
should therefore be
reactivated. For reactivation
the crystals should be
baked at a temperature of
about 200oC until the whole
mass is at this
temperature and the blue
colour has been restored.
Alternatively change the
7. L.T. Fuses In the maintenance card Area wireman/Line
provided to the area Inspector (or)
wireman the size of the fuse Foreman
wires for the L.T. main
different capacities of the
distribution transformers are
furnished. Only the correct
size of fuse wires have to be Distribution
provided. Transformer


1. H.G. Fuses In the maintenance card Lineman/Line Inspector

provided to the area (or) Foreman
wireman, the size of the
H.G. fuses wires for the
different capacities of the
distribution transformer is
furnished. Only the correct
size of the fuse wire has to
be provided. In today’s
dynamic situation, the
distribution transformers are
subjected to intermittent
overloads resulting in the
glow H.G. fuses and subse-
quent breakdown. Appropri-
ate sizes of these fuses
have to be kept in ready
stock and replaced timely.
2. Insulation Some of the materials used Line Inspector (or)
resistance in insulation are organic in Foreman/Junior
nature and are therefore Engineer (or)
susceptible to deterioration Assistant Engineer
by heat, oxygen, moisture
and corrosive liquids. Even
the best are vulnerable if
incorrectly used or applied.
Insulation breakdowns are
most often the result of
internal or external heat and
moisture. The heating
causes chemical changes
in the insulation that are
aggravated by the presence
of moisture. The insulation
resistance value between
H.V. to earth, L.V. to earth
and H.V. to L.V. and main
L.T. leads have to be
recorded and the trend has
to be observed so that
corrective steps could be
taken before the total failure
of the insulation. The
minimum safe insulation
resistance in meg ohms at
30oC for 11 KV is 400 and
for L.V. it is 100. For every
10oC increase in
temperature the I.R. value
will get halved for both
11 kV and L.V.
3. Load current Sustained heavy Assistant Engineer or
overloads produce high Junior Engineer/Ass.
temperatures throughout Exe. Engineer
Operation and the transformer. The oil
Maintenance insulation becomes brittle
and in time probably flakes
off the conductors in places
on producing short circuits
between turns.
Transformers with a high
ratio of copper loss to iron
loss are less able to
withstand overload and are
therefore more liable to fail
on account of overloading.
The load current has to be
measured at different times
especially at peak load
hours to know the overload
situation and to enhance
the transformer capacity or
to bifurcate the loads at the
appropriate time.

4. Voltage The voltage should be Assistant Engineer or

checked to make sure that Junior Engineer/Ass.
the transformer has the Exe. Engineer
proper tap position. Over
voltage produces
excessive noload loss. It is
also necessary to ensure
proper voltage to the
consumers as per the
Indian Electricity Rules,
1956. For this purpose the
voltages at the transformer
end and tail end have to be
measured and necessary
improvements have to be
made either by changing
the taps provided or by
strengthening of
conductors, bifurcation of
loads, etc.


1. AB Switch This component provided Lineman/Line

on the transformer structure inspector (or)
helps to break or make the Foreman
electric circuit to the
transformer through a
system of contacts. These
have to be lubricated for
ease in operation and to
avoid accidents to depart-
mental persons due to
non-operation of the blades
in any of the phases or all.
Line and earth The line and earth Distribution
2. Lineman/Line
connections connection of the AB Transformer
inspector (or)
switches, H.T. and L.T. Foreman
lightning arrestors and H.T.
and L.T. bushings have to
be checked and any loose
connections have to be
made tight. When the line
connections loose, the
current is allowed to pass in
the form of an arc which
creates enormous heat
resulting in melting of
contacts or breakdown of
connections and
energisation of the
structure. When the earth
connections are loose and
when the fault occurs, the
entire fault current cannot
be earthed properly
resulting in failure of
equipment or causing
3. Transformer oil The dielectric strength of Line inspector (or)
the transformer oil mainly Foreman/A.E. (or)
provides an indication of J.E.
the physical condition of
the oil. The impurities
most likely to influence
the dielectric strength of
the oil, in practice, are
moisture and fibres. The
oil is said to have passed
the test if two out of three
samples successfully
stand the test at 40 KV
for one minute.

4. Earth resistance Safety to personnel can A.E. (or) J.E./Asst.

be assured by adopting Exe. Engineer
an earthing system so
designed that under both
normal and abnormal
conditions no dangerous
voltage can appear on
the equipment to which
personnel have access.
Damage to equipment
can be minimised by the
provision of paths of low
impedance from the
equipment to the earth

Operation and

Sl. No. Work to be carried out Person Person

responsible for the responsible for the
work completion of the

I. Weekly / Fortnightly

1. Breather oil, silica gel, Area Wireman Line Inspector /

checking, replenishing Foreman

II. Monthly

1a Maintaining the
transformer yard and the
earth-pits neat and tidy and
watering the earth-pits.

b Cleaning the entire

transformer including the

c. Checking that oil level is

below the mark.

d. Checking for oil leaks and Area Wireman Line Inspector /

reporting if any noticed. Foreman

e. Checking the earth


f. Reconditioning the breather.

(by reactive silica gel, or
replacing if necessary).

g. Checking the LT fuses and

renewing them if necessary.

2. Topping up oil where Line Inspector Foreman


III. Quarterly

1. Renewing the H.G. fuses. Line Inspector Foreman

2. Measuring the insulation Line Inspector / Foreman

resistance. Foreman

3a. Measuring the load current.

b. Measuring the voltage at Section Officer Assistant Executive

the transformer and at Engineer
the tailends of the
IV. Annual Transformer

1a. Lubricating line AB

Switches and checking
their operation.

b. Checking the line and earth Line Inspector Foreman

connections of the HT/LT
lightning arrestors.

c. Checking the HV and LV

bushing connections.

2. Getting the oil samples Line Inspector / Section Officer

tested for dielectric Foreman

3. Measuring the earth Section Officer Assistant Executive

resistance. Engineer

Note 1.The Assistant Executive Engineer should inspect every distribution

transformer in the Sub-division once in every year and ensure that
maintenance works are carried out as per this schedule.
2. The Section Officer should inspect every distribution transformer in the
section once every quarter and ensure that maintenance is carried out
as per schedule.
3.The Line Inspector/Foreman should inspect every distribution
transformer in his/her jurisdiction once every month and ensure thatb
maintenance works are carried out as per schedule.

Operation and

Sl. No. What to inspect What Maintenance to Do? Who has to do?
Why? And When? Under whose Super-


1. Yard and Earth Maintaining the Yard Wireman/Line

Pits (underneath the Structures) inspector, Foreman
and earth pits neat and tidy
and watering the earth pits.
Otherwise the site becomes
untidy and it becomes
difficult to carry out
operation on the structure
especially during break-
down. By watering the earth
pits, the earth resistance
will be less, facilitating easy
and quick earthing of fault

2. Earth Checking earth connections Wireman/Line

Connections both at earth pits and also Inspector, Foreman
the metal parts. By keeping
the earth connections
proper, fault current can
easily pass to earth during
fault condition, thus
facilitating quick tripping of
the feeders.


1. Dividing/ Checking earth condition of Lineman/Line

Termination dividing/termination to see Inspector, Foreman
that no cracks are being
developed and it is properly
divided/clamped. Also
checking that connections
from the termination to the
bus are proper. Checking
once in a quarter, even if a
crack is developed, or
compound is leaking or
fixing is getting loosened or
the connections are
becoming loose, it may be
found out in time and timely
action may be taken.
Otherwise a breakdown
may happen and it is
difficult to work in a
structure, as L.C. from
different source of supply is
110 necessary.
1. Concreting/ Checking the condition of Wireman/Line
Coping of the the concreting/Coping of Inspector, Foreman
Supports the supports of the
structures to see that the
coping and concreting is
intact. If there are cracks
or the coping or concreting
is coming off, preventive
action may be taken to
concrete or coping. The
supports fixing to earth
become weak and during
the time of heavy rains,
cyclone or flooding, the
structure may fall, leading
to major breakdown. If
coping is not done in the
case of metal they may
get corroded due to
urination by dogs.

2. Supports Checking the condition of Wireman/Line

the supports and if cracks Inspector, Foreman
or damages are noticed,
action can be taken to
replace or rectify the
defects. If not done, the
structure itself may fall due
to cyclone, floods, etc.

3. Earth Resistance Measuring the earth Junior Engineer or

resistance to check if it is Asst. Engineer/Asst.
within permissible limits. If Exec. Engineer
it is beyond permissible
limits, action may be taken
to reduce the earth
resistance so that earth
faults are cleared quickly
and accidents are avoided.

4. Earth Connection Checking the earth connec- Wireman/Line Inspec-

of Metal Parts tions of metal parts to tor, Foreman
ensure that the metal parts
are properly connected to
the earth so that any earth
fault of the metal parts are
cleared quickly and
efficiently. If not, accidents
may happen.

5. Operation of AB Lubricating the AB Wireman/Line Inspec-

Switches Switches and checking tor, Foreman
their operation so that the
AB Switches be operated
at ease and correctly, at
times of emergency.
Operation and Otherwise during
Maintenance emergencies, the AB
Switches cannot be opened
leading to unavoidable delay
in attending to a switch
leading to accidents also.

6. Line and Earth Checking that Line and Lineman/Line

Connections of Earth connections of AB Inspector, Foreman
AB Switches Switches are properly
done. If line connection is
not proper, it may lead to
loose contact resulting in
breakdown. If earth connec-
tion is not proper, it may
result in high resistance
and faults may not be
cleared in time. It may lead
to accidents also.

7. Line and earth To check if line and earth Lineman/Line

Connections of connections of HT lightning Inspector, Foreman
HT Lightning arrestors are properly
Arrestors made; if line or earth
connection of the lightning
arrestor is not made
properly, lightning surges
will not be cleared leading
to breakdown or accident.

8. Connections Checking the tightening the Lineman/Line

From and To connections from the Inspector, Foreman
Busbars busbars and the
connections of the busbars
to the lines. If the connec-
tions are not tight enough
and proper, it may lead to
loose contact resulting in
9. Provision of Checking the provision of Foreman or Lineman/
Tubular Busbar tubular busbar and Junior Engineer or
changing the conductor Assistant Engineer
strung busbars to tubular
busbars, if not provided. If
rigid tubular busbars are
not provided loose connec-
tions may develop in
strung busbars leading to

10. Insulators Checking all insulators to Lineman/Line

see that there are no Inspector, Foreman
cracks or damages are
developing. If they are
developing they may be
changed in time to avoid

11. Jumpers Checking the condition and Foreman or Line

adequacy of all jumpers to Inspector/Junior
see that they are proper. If Engineer or Assistant Distribution
the condition is bad, they Engineer Transformer
have to be replaced. If they
are inadequate also, they
have to be replaced. If not
done, it may lead to loose
contact resulting in break-
down. If the jumper is not
adequate, the current
carrying capacity becomes
less leading to overloading,

12. Guides for AB Check if the guides for AB Wireman/Line

Switches Switches are proper. Inspector, Foreman
Otherwise, it becomes
difficult to operate the AB
Switches leading to
difficulties at times of
emergencies. Sometimes
it leads to accidents also.

13. Provision of Checking the provision of Wireman/Line

Danger Boards “Danger Board”. If not Inspector, Foreman
provided, provide the same.
It may, to a certain extent,
prevent unauthorised
persons to meddle with the
structure. It may also
caution authorised persons
when they have to work on
the structure especially at
double and multiple feed
14. Provision of Check provision of Foreman or Line
Caution Board “Caution Board” to Inspector/Junior
caution that care should Engineer or Assistant
be taken to work on the Engineer
structure. If not available,
the same should be

15. Painting of Painting the details of the Foreman or Line

Details supply and if not avail- Inspector/Junior
able, paint the same. The Engineer or Assistant
details will help to identify Engineer
the feeder and to work. If
not painted, it may lead to
mal-operation and may
lead to accidents.

Once in Three Years

1. Painting of Metal Painting all metal parts will Wireman/Assistant

Parts avoid corrosion. Engineer or Junior

Operation and

Person responsible to

Sl. No. Details of the maintenance Do the work Check and

work to be carried out ensure the
completion of the

1. Maintaining the yard Wireman Line Inspector /

(underneath the structure) Foreman
and the earth pits neat
and tidy and watering
earth pits.
2. Checking the earth Wireman Line Inspector /
connection. Foreman


1. Checking the condition of Wireman Line Inspector /

dividing / termination. Foreman


1 Checking the condition of Wireman Line Inspector /

concreting / coping of the Foreman
supports of the structures.

2. Checking the condition of the Wireman Line Inspector /

supports of the structures. Foreman

3. Measuring the earth Junior Engineer / Asst. / Executive

resistance. Asst. Engineer Engineer

4. Checking the earth Wireman Line Inspector /

connection of metal parts. Foreman

5. Lubricating the AB switches Lineman Line Inspector /

and checking their operation. Foreman

6. Checking the line and earth Lineman Line Inspector /

connection of AB switches. Foreman

7. Checking the line and earth Lineman Line Inspector /

connection of HT lightning Foreman

8. Checking and tightening the Lineman Line Inspector /

connection from bus bars to Foreman
the lines.
9. Checking for provision of Foreman / Line Junior Engineer /
tubular bus bars and Inspector Asst. Engineer
changing the conductor
strung bus bars to tubular
114 bus bars.
10. Checking all insulators. Lineman Line Inspector / Distribution
Foreman Transformer

11. Checking the conditions and Foreman / Line Foreman

adequacy of all jumpers. Inspector

12. Checking guides for AB Wireman Asst. Engineer /

switches. Junior Engineer

13. Checking the provision of Wireman Foreman / Line

‘Danger’ boards and if not Inspector
provided, providing the same.

14. Checking the provision of Foreman / Line Asst. Engineer /

caution boards and if not Inspector Junior Engineer
provided, providing the same.

15. Checking the painting of Foreman Asst. Engineer /

details of HT supply and if Junior Engineer
not provided, providing the

Once in 3 years

1. Painting of all metal parts. Wireman Asst. Engineer /

Junior Engineer