Faults on the network can cause Customer Interruptions (CIs) and Customer Minutes Lost (CML) leading to penalties from Ofgem and complaints from irritated customers. The Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) project “11kV Feeder Monitoring and Pre-empt Faults” aims to test the functionality of Distributed Fault Anticipation (DFA) and other network monitoring equipment such as Fault Passage Indicators (FPIs), which pre-empt faults and prevent the outcome of faults leading to CI and CML.

Project partners include our members UK Power Networks (UKPN), SP Energy Networks (SPEN) and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), as well as Lord Consulting and Nortech Management.

The project is in three stages, with the first stage trialling the DFA and FPIs at the Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) through a series of simulated faults that were designed to be highly realistic of those on actual distribution networks.

Hosting the trials at the PNDC during stage one led to recommendations for the Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to take into consideration when they progress to stages two and three, trialling the equipment on live distribution networks.

The PNDC recommended allocating a data allowance for each device per month as well as DNO trial circuits being selected based on a history of relevant events and the selected circuits should ideally be heavily loaded and located in an area with prevailing wet and windy weather conditions.

These recommendations could not be taken into consideration or implemented in stage two and three without prior testing on a simulated network away from DNO customers, which would have the potential to affect the overall results of the project as well as customer interruptions and minutes lost.

Chino Atako, a Senior Asset Engineer at UK Power Networks, said:
“The Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) provides excellent test facilities and expertise to assess solutions for use on electricity distribution networks. UK Power Networks has used PNDC’s services to test a number of network equipment and applications. In my experience, their work has been completed in accordance with requirements, on time and within budget. Use of the test facilities and expertise at the PNDC was essential in determining the suitability of the proposed solutions before application on the distribution network. The alternative would have been a limited deployment of solutions on the network leading to longer business as usual rollout.”

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