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Load Imbalance

Jennifer Taylor, P.E. Distribution System Solutions

Perfect World

The Problem Over time distribution feeders have a tendency to increase in load imbalance:
Loads on single phase lines gradually increase Single phase lines arbitrarily get switched to other phases

The Problem
Unequal distribution of single phase loads on three-phase lines Lack of planning

The Result Voltage shifts Increased return currents Increased losses Physical ramications

Load Imbalance Dened Imbalance in current dictated by placement of load on feeder. Voltage or Current Imbalance:

A Real-Life Example Rural Circuit: 20 miles long Majority of backbone: 3 phase 1/0 CU and 1/0ACSR Primary voltage: 12.5/7.2 kV
Phase A B C # of consumers 94 291 161 Feeder Amps 52 A 145 A 89 A

A Real-Life Example

What Happens When You Have Imbalance? The imbalance in current creates a neutral point shift
Voltage imbalance Over voltage and under voltage

Voltage ANSI C84.1species: Voltage imbalance not to exceed 3%

Acceptable Voltage Range

What Causes the Shift? The neutral point shift is a function of:
Per phase load Per phase power factor Impedance matrix

Not just per phase current magnitudes

Voltage Imbalance: My Assumption Voltage Rise or Voltage Drop?

Heaviest loaded phase = Largest Voltage Drop Lightest loaded phase = Largest Voltage Rise

Voltage Imbalance: In Reality Voltage Rise or Voltage Drop?

Heaviest loaded phase = Largest Voltage Drop However, the largest voltage rise doesnt necessarily happen on the lightest loaded phase. In fact, in a majority of cases with standard construction and typical power factors (90-100%) the phase behind the heaviest phase (c.c. rotation) gets the voltage rise.

For Example:
For Phase X

VLxg = Exg - Vx
Exg = Source Voltage Vx = Voltage Drop VLxg = Load Voltage In this example, phase A was the heaviest loaded phase. B and C were equal. Voltage Rise

Largest voltage drop

Voltage Drop (Vd) Voltage drop magnitude and angle

Function of the current magnitude and angle in each phase Self and mutual impedance matrices Consists of a self voltage drop and 2 mutual voltage drops

Voltage Drop (Vd) For example for phase A:

Vda = vd1,1 + vd1,2 +vd1,3 Where vd1,1 = ZABC1,1.I1 vd1,2 = ZABC1,2.I2 vd1,3 = ZABC1,3.I3

ZABC ZABC is the 3x3 phase impedance matrix

Function of resistance of conductors, GMR, distances between positions, length of feeder Consists of modied Carsons equations (4x4 matrix including neutral) Then through Kron reduction becomes 3x3 For a deeper explanation call 1-800-344-5647

Problems with Over/Under Voltage Overvoltage/Undervoltage

Equipment damage Motors wont operate as eciently Overheating of induction motors Tripping of sensitive loads Higher no-load losses in transformers

Problems with Voltage Imbalance Voltage imbalance

Generates high negative sequence currents which puts back torque on motors Causes adjustable speed drives to draw signicantly imbalanced currents and cause the overload protection to trip. Increases the harmonics that ASDs produce Overheating in transformers

Note on Voltage Imbalance Unequal phase impedance due to asymmetric conductor spacing can cause voltage imbalance
However on distribution feeders this is quite small; < 1% imbalance
(T.A. Short, Electric Power Distribution Handbook)

Most voltage imbalance is due to load imbalance.

Our Sample Circuit

% Voltage imbalance = 7.2%

Phase angles drift from 120o apart

Volts 105 0.0 0.1 0.3 0.7 1.1 1.6 2.0 2.2 2.7 3.1 3.6 4.3 4.8 5.1 5.4 5.6 5.9 6.4 7.1 7.6 7.8 8.3 8.8 9.1 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.6 12.2 12.8 13.5 Voltage B Voltage C Voltage A 110 115 120 125 130

Our Sample Circuit

Voltage Prole

Voltage Problems Reported on this Circuit Low voltage complaints Equipment damage

What Else Happens When You Have Imbalance?

Increased return current

In = Ian + Ibn + Icn
If currents are equal and 120o apart then In will be zero. If not then In will be non-zero. If grounded system then some of the return current goes through the earth.

Problems with Increased Return Current Challenges with coordination

Return current may approach the minimum ground current pickup of the protective device

Problems with Increased Return Current False ground trips

If pickup is low enough, could get false ground trips on substation reclosers due to imbalance

Problems with Increased Return Current Stray voltage

Imbalance causes increased return current on both the neutral and through the earth-return This causes a potential dierence between the neutral and earth (e.g. stray voltage)
Worse, the closer you get to the substation

If there happens to be a break in the neutral also get stray voltage

Our Sample Circuit

Total Return Current = 81A

% Current imbalance = 52.2%

Our Sample Circuit

Current Prole
160 140 120 100 Amps Thru Amps A 80 60 40 20 0 Thru Amps B Thru Amps C Thru Amps Return


















Return Current Issues Reported on this Circuit Cold load pick up issues

What Else Happens When You Have Imbalance? Increased losses

The imbalance of current will increase the I2R losses

I2R Lets look at a simple math exercise: Total Current = 600A

Balanced Amps I2 200 40,000 200 40,000 200 40,000 Total= 120,000 Imbalanced Amps I2 A 300 90,000 B 200 40,000 C 100 10,000 Total= 140,000


Problems with Increased Losses Increased costs Increased heating

Our Sample Circuit Losses before balancing = 153kW 2 tap phase changes = $500 Losses after balancing = 108kW Reduction in losses = 45kW 30 year present worth = $37,120

Thats just one feeder!

What Else Happens When You Have Imbalance? Physical Equipment Ramications
Increased conductor heating Uneven sagging of 3 phase conductors Underutilization of equipment (kVA)
Unnecessary improvements
Premature conductor upgrades Voltage regulators

Load Balance in Windmil Uses Voltage Drop to calculate losses and establish load currents in taps. Two Methods
With Approximation Without Approximation

Approximate Method (Fast)

Voltage drop runs initially to determine load current in taps. Each taps I2R losses are then added/subtracted to phases until an optimum reduced loss conguration is established.

Without Approximation (Not Fast) Go out for lunch Runs voltage drop for each trial of a tap change to determine the optimum phase for each tap to have overall greatest loss reduction.

Load Balance in Windmil Balance all active circuits Balance downline from a specied element

Possible Future Enhancements Load Balance results automatically stored as a project. Report will be attached and saved with the project. Balance based on Amps vs. kW losses. Ability to exclude specied taps from getting phase changed.

Sample Circuit: Before and After

%LoadImbalance %VoltageImbalance LineLosses LowestPrimaryVoltage HighestPrimaryVoltageat endoffeeder Before A8er 52.20% 10.46% 7.20% 1.41% 153kW 108 111.5V 118.1V 126.3V 121.2V

Other Changes to Consider In addition to changing tap phases

Multi-phasing Backfeeding / changing open points

Before you begin Verify phasing on feeders

Is model correct? Is SCADA correct? Are consumer phases correct?

Other Things to Consider Downline monitoring

Smart devices

Are the recommendations feasible in the eld?

Crossing jumpers under/around phases Bird issues with extra jumpers Non-loadbreaking taps

What Load Prole to Use? Many opinions on this:

Winter peak Summer peak Somewhere in the middle What about seasonal loads and the impact to imbalance?

In Conclusion Benets of load balancing

Improved voltage prole
Better for motors, demand reduction possible, easier to obtain required voltage levels

Reduced return current

Reduce/eliminate stray voltage, avoid false ground fault trips, ease coordination

In Conclusion Benets of load balancing continued

Loss savings Better utilization of equipment
Defer improvements

The Bottom Line Load balancing is a simple concept, but can be dicult to achieve. The benets make it at least worthy of a look.