Deliverables on Automation Assets

Summary of past deliverables related to distribution automation assets

Recent deliverables on distribution automation assets.


Distribution Automation Assets: Laboratory Testing and Field Data Analysis of Recloser Control Cables and Voltage Sensors

One reason for issues with recloser voltage sensor measurements is degradation within control cables. Control cables are multiconductor cables that send operation commands, sensor measurements, and contact status between the device at the pole top and the control that is typically placed close to ground level. These cables are critical for automation assets to properly function. Along with inconsistent or inaccurate measurements from sensors, control cables have been found to cause mis-operations and report improper statuses from the device. This report also begins to investigate control cabling to understand failures and perform testing to inform specification and selection decisions related to these control cables and connectors. The control cable research will continue into 2022.

Distribution Automation Assets: Recloser Failure Analysis

Distribution reclosers are a significant utility investment in terms of purchase price, installation costs, inspection, and maintenance. EPRI has been performing failure analysis and design reviews of reclosers for almost a decade to help inform utility decision regarding reclosers. The analyses are conducted on an independent basis, free of influences by the equipment manufacturers. Failure analysis is conducted on equipment removed from service and donated by the respective utility company. Detailed examinations and analyses of failed reclosers provide insight into how utilities can consider changes in product acquisition, installation, inspection, and maintenance practices to extend equipment service life and enhance reliability. This research was revived in 2021 with teardowns of several failed reclosers.

EPRI Distribution Automation Guidebook

A comprehensive reference book on automation asset life-cycle management, with a focus on distribution reclosers. Also, view here.

Distribution Automation Assets: Installation Guide

Reclosers are a critical component in the modernization of the distribution system. The primary purpose of a recloser is to interrupt faults. Recloser are also being used in automated distribution schemes as well. Reclosers are controlled by electronic controls that are either standalone or integrated within the recloser itself. The control allows a utility to remotely monitor and operate the recloser. Controls monitor the distribution system using sensors that are embedded or external to the recloser.

Many utilities are in the process of the largest recloser deployments every. This guide describes best practices for the field installation of reclosers and controls. The report focuses on key components that must installed correctly to ensure a long service life of the recloser. The information was gathered over the past few years during practice sharing events and through one-on-one discussion with member utilities.

Distribution Automation Assets: Virtual Inspection and Maintenance

The objective of this project is to identify methods and processes to virtually monitor the health of Distribution Automation devices and controls. A “virtual” inspection remotely captures operational measurements, event reports, and readings to determine DA device and control health. In 2021, EPRI developed a method to perform a field demonstration of the virtual inspection concept.

Distribution Automation Assets: Grounding and Lightning Protection

Many utilities are in the process of significant deployments of distribution automation equipment through Grid Modernization initiatives. Some utilities are concerned that these automated equipment installations may not be adequately protected from lightning and other surges. The objective of this research is to perform full-scale laboratory testing to help utilities make informed decisions around grounding, bonding, and surge suppression for distribution automation equipment to protect this equipment from lightning damage. A full-scale test setup was constructed at the EPRI Power Delivery Laboratory in Lenox, MA to test different conditions of interest. The focus of the testing in 2021 was on reclosers and recloser controls specifically related to secondary surge suppression effectiveness, control survivability, understanding the use of scout arresters at recloser installations, and understanding potential issues with dielectric insulation of vacuum interrupters when exposed to natural lightning strikes specifically in cases where the recloser is in the open position

Cyber / Physical Security Demonstration for Distribution Automation

This report describes how utilities can implement a modern cyber-physical security program using security orchestration and automation as part of their cyber and physical security programs. Threat automation of both cyber and physical issues is an important part of any security programs as it provides capabilities to reduce the time it takes to detect, investigate, and respond to incidents.

Distribution Resource Center – Distribution Automation

A resource website with information including a project overview, updates, online version of DA guidebook, and a sensor repository.

Last modified February 15, 2022