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Synchrophasor Measurements Under the

IEEE Standard C37.118.1-2011 With
Amendment C37.118.1a
Working Group H11 on the Synchrophasor Standard, C37.118.1 of the Relay Communications
Subcommittee of the IEEE Power System Relaying Committee

AbstractSynchrophasor Standards have evolved since the

rst one was introduced in 1995, IEEE 1344-1995. IEEE Standard
C37.118-2005 introduced the evaluation of measurement accuracy
under steady state conditions and interference rejection. It also
dened a messaging system for communication of phasor data.
In 2009, the IEEE started a joint project with IEC to harmonize
real time communications dened in C37.118 with the IEC 61850
communication standard. This led to the need to split the C37.118
into two standards, one for communication and one for measurements. This paper presents an overview of IEEE Standard
C37.118.1-2011, which includes the measurement part of the previous standard. This standard strengthens the 2005 steady-state
requirements and extends them to include measurement performance under dynamic system conditions. Frequency and rate of
change of frequency (ROCOF) measurement was dened and
requirements for these measurements were also added. Amendment IEEE Std. C37.118.1a-2014 modied some performance
requirements. These changes are also included in this paper.
Index TermsFrequency, frequency error (FE), phasor, phasor
measurement unit (PMU), rate of change of frequency (ROCOF),
ROCOF error (RFE), synchronized phasor, synchrophasor, total
vector error (TVE).


HE synchrophasor standard IEEE C37.118-2005 [1]

was separated into two parts. The rst part, IEEE
Std.118.1-2011 Standard for Synchrophasor Measurements for
Power Systems, deals with the measurement of synchrophasors
and related performance requirements [2]. The second part,
IEEE Standard C37.118.2-2011 Standard for Synchrophasor
Data Transfer for Power Systems, addresses the real-time
transfer of synchrophasor data over communication systems
The standard was separated into two parts because:

Manuscript received June 12, 2014; revised September 29, 2014 and
November 27, 2014; accepted January 05, 2015. Date of publication March
02, 2015; date of current version May 20, 2015. This work was prepared by
working group H-11 of the Relay Communications Subcommittee of the IEEE
Power System Relaying Committee of the Power Engineering Society. Paper
no. TPWRD-00690-2014.
K. E. Martin, Chair, is with the Phasor Measurement Systems, KenM Consulting, Portland, OR 97213 USA and also with the Electric Power Group,
Pasadena, CA 91101 USA.
Color versions of one or more of the gures in this paper are available online
Digital Object Identier 10.1109/TPWRD.2015.2403591

1) the technology has matured to where individual topic areas

need more specialized treatment
2) separation facilitates adoption and harmonization of this
work with International Electrotechnical Commission
(IEC) standards.
The IEC structure for standards separates topic areas into different standards. IEEE tends to group by application, often including several topics related to an application area in one standard. Both IEEE's and IEC's methods have their advantages but
a structure compatible with both organizations simplies adoption by both groups. The two subject areas of measurement and
communications are addressed by different technical committees within IEC.
The IEEE and the IEC initiated a joint project in 2009 to harmonize the IEEE Standard C37.118 data transfer with the IEC
61850 communications standard. That work was completed in
2012 with TR 61850-90-5, which describes how to communicate synchrophasor data using 61850 methods while fullling
all of the functions that were developed under IEEE Standard
C37.118. Concurrently, IEEE and IEC are working on a joint development process for an IEC standard on phasor measurement
unit (PMU) measurements. This joint standard will be published
as IEC 60255-118-1.
Subsequent to publication, detailed evaluation of the
signal-processing model performance, presented in Annex C, as
well as testing of PMUs, revealed deciencies in meeting some
performance requirements as specied. The problem areas
were related to error limits and response times of frequency
and ROCOF measurements. The standard was amended by
IEEE Standard C37.118.1a-2014 to ensure that the performance
requirements can be met [4]. The amendment relaxes the
relevant parameters, claries a few requirements, and corrects
typographical errors. The requirements described in this paper
include these modications.
This paper does not follow the same order as the standard.
It focuses on specic changes and provides background discussion regarding these changes. Section II covers reporting
requirements. Section III discusses performance classes. Sections IV and V cover steady-state and dynamic performance.
Frequency measurement considerations are discussed in Section VI. Section VII reviews latency requirements. Section VIII
is an overview of the standard's annexes. Section IX lists considerations for the next standard and Section X concludes this

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For consistency, PMU measurements are to be transmitted
in time-tagged samples (frames) at a xed rate, called the reporting rate
in frames per second (fps). (The term frames
per second is used in this context to differentiate from samples
of the waveform values where the term samples per second
is used.) Since phase angle is measured relative to a time reference, angles from different measurements can only be compared if they are made at the same time. Fixed reporting times
and rates allows ready angle comparisons. Reports can be sent
with various specied rates, evenly spaced in time as detailed in
Clause 5.4. One of the reports must be coincident with the UTC
hour (xx:00:00). Note that the data are inevitably transmitted
slightly after the time stamp on the data. The revised standard
has extended the reporting rates that PMU manufacturers are required to support. Table I lists the required rates.
Higher or lower reporting rates than those presented in Table I
are permitted. Higher rates may be useful for control systems or
system dynamic analysis. Lower rates may be useful for supervisory control and data acquistion (SCADA) systems reporting,
such as power ow and state estimation. A user may request
compliance with the appropriate sections of the standard at these
additional rates, but this is not required for compliance with the
Synchrophasors with reporting rates lower than 10 frames/s
are not subject to the dynamic requirements of the standard.
Anti-alias ltering at very low reporting rates results in long
reporting delays. Low reporting rate measurements are intended
as a snapshot with which the system as a whole can be assessed.
Unltered lower sample rates could be obtained by selecting
every th sample from a higher rate stream.
Synchronized phasor measurements were rst implemented
using a one-cycle discrete Fourier transform (DFT) where the
waveform was sampled at the rate of 720 samples/s and synchrophasors were calculated at each sample [5]. Reporting measurements at this rate exceeded most communication capability,
so the rst standard detailed reporting rates at even fractions of
the power system frequency. This has been continued in the current standards (Table I).
Reporting rate reduction using every th sample of a
higher measurement rate (e.g., taking every 48th sample of a
720-frames/s rate to achieve 15 frames/s) is easy to implement
but may cause aliasing of signals present in the original data.
Additional ltering can provide an antialias function, but introduces delay in reporting. From these initial observations, it
was clear that one approach was not sufcient for all uses of


The concept of different classes of performance was introduced with IEEE Standard C37.118-2005. Classes were differentiated as performance levels 0 and 1. Compared to the requirements for level 1, level 0 had relaxed requirements for
harmonics and out-of-band signal rejection, and narrowed frequency and magnitude ranges for measurement performance.
Level 1 was intended for use by controls and applications that
are sensitive to harmonics and to small signals that could be
aliased. Level 0 was for applications insensitive to small signals but needed minimum latency.
Since these requirements were described as levels of performance and level 1 had tighter requirements than level 0, many
users interpreted the higher the level, the better the performance
of their applications. Some users were specifying level 1 when
level 0 was better suited to their requirements.
In the 2011 standard, the label levels was changed to
classes. Rather than using a number (that seemed to imply
quality) for the class, a letter was chosen to indicate the type
of targeted application. P was chosen for the class of measurement that would be made with minimal delay but less
immunity to out-of-band interference. P class measurement
is intended to support applications (e.g., high-speed controls)
that generally require minimal delay in responding to dynamic
changes. M was chosen for the class of measurements that
requires out-of-band ltering to avoid signal aliasing where
longer latency is acceptable. M class measurement is intended
to support applications (e.g., certain control functions) that are
sensitive to signal aliasing but can tolerate longer delays.
It should be noted that the letters chosen for classes are only
an indicator of the differences in performance requirements.
They might be used as a general guideline in choosing a performance class, but certainly should not be used without full
consideration of the specic application requirements. A demanding application may have performance requirements beyond what is specied for either class. The system designer
should always choose the class with the specic system and application in mind.
The 2005 standard dened performance requirements under
steady-state signal conditions. It introduced the total vector error
(TVE) method of evaluating the measured synchrophasor value.
Total vector error (TVE) combines the evaluation of the angle
and magnitude errors of the synchrophasor estimate as a single
error value. This method of evaluation was retained to maintain compatibility with the previous standard and its simplicity
in specifying error limits. Separate phase angle and magnitude
limits could be added to future revisions.
Phase angle is determined by the reference time in conjunction with the estimation algorithm. Its accuracy depends
on time synchronization, analog input components, digital
conversion, and signal processing. To avoid problems with
specifying internal operations or requirements that may not
be testable (for example, some PMUs use an internal global
positioning system (GPS) receiver and do not provide access to
the timing signal), the Working Group H11 (WGH11) decided
to only specify the result. This leaves it to the manufacturer to
optimize their design and allocation of the error budget to meet


requirements. It should be noted that timing signal accuracy can

easily be measured to 1 s which is about 0.02 of the phasor
angle that is much less than PMU accuracy requirements. Thus,
a time source for PMUs that require an external clock can
easily be checked to an accuracy that assures insignicant error
Signal frequency requirements ensure the measurements will
be accurate over a range of input frequency. The 2005 standard required 1% TVE over a range of frequency variation of
0.5 Hz for level 0 and 5 Hz for level 1, independent of reporting rate . The 0.5 Hz variation was deemed too narrow
for a large number of applications, so the new range for P class
is now 2 Hz, still independent of . It was also found that
the 5-Hz range created difcult ltering requirements and, in
fact, exceeds the Nyquist criterion for 10 frames/s reporting.
The range of operation depends on lter design requirements
which, in turn, depends on the reporting rate. Keeping the operating range wide requires variation based on the reporting rate.
The ranges of frequency performance for the M class are 2 Hz
10 frames/s,
5 for
25 frames/s, and
5 Hz for
25 frames/s.
An additional requirement in the new standard is that compliance with this frequency variation test must be achieved at 0 C
and 50 C in addition to nominal room temperature
The signal magnitude requirements retain the same 2005
limit of 1% TVE for phasors, but separates voltage and current
requirements.. Based on a nominal voltage or current value
specied by the manufacturer, the voltage magnitude test range
is 80% to 120% for P class, and 10% to 120% for M class.
The current magnitude range is 10% to 200% for both classes.
These ranges are expected to cover voltages and currents under
normal to high-stressed operating conditions, which is the range
over which synchrophasors are intended to be used. Relays
handle fault level currents for fault identication and location.
(Note that the long PMU measurement windows also reduce
fault calculation effectiveness.) Further PMU development
may extend these ranges in the future, but will require better
understanding about estimation under extreme unbalance and
nonlinear conditions.
The phase angle range requirements have not changed, but
the test conditions have been modied to simplify testing. This
modied test uses a slowly varying angle that is produced by an
offnominal frequency of less than 0.25 Hz, eliminating testing
with separate step changes as required before.
The harmonic distortion requirements were the least-changed
requirement. The requirements for P class PMUs are the same
as for level 0: 1% phasor TVE with 1% harmonics from the 2nd
to the 50th. The requirements for M class are the same as for
level 1: 1% phasor TVE with 10% harmonics from the 2nd to
the 50th. For conformance testing, all 49 harmonics will be applied individually with the amplitude of each at the specied
level. The WGH11 discussed requiring this test to be done with
multiple harmonics at one time, to more accurately simulate
how harmonics appear in the power systems and to possibly reduce the testing time. Issues of signal crest factor and rise times
and their impact on measurement were raised. Different power
system operating scenarios produce different combinations of
harmonics. The question of whether the test limits should apply


to the total power of the harmonics or the individual amplitudes

was raised. Without general agreement on these questions, the
WGH11 decided the best approach is still to perform the test
with one harmonic applied at a time. The 2014 amendment suspended the ROCOF error requirement for harmonic testing of M
class PMUs, after testing of actual PMUs indicated that this requirement might be a driving factor in PMU design which could
impair the phasor measurement capability. P class PMUs still
have a ROCOF error limit for harmonic tests, though relaxed to
0.4 Hz/s.
In some applications, a PMU must be able to lter interfering signals that could be aliased into the measurement. An
out-of-band interference test is dened to test this capability.
For M class tests, the interfering signal magnitude is 10% of the
fundamental, the same as the level 1 requirement for the 2005
standard, but the allowable TVE error limit was increased from
1% to 1.3%. The test was eliminated for P class. The 2005 and
2011 standards both dene interfering signal frequencies to be
any frequency such that

where is the nominal system frequency and is the Nyquist

frequency (i.e., one half) of the reporting rate .
The 2011 standard further claries that these interfering
signal tests must include frequencies down to 10 Hz and up to
twice the nominal frequency
. Experience has shown that
the critical frequencies are those close to the lter limits, which
are at the Nyquist frequency distance from the nominal system
. Frequencies 10 Hz and
have not been
and are not expected to be a problem, so further testing should
not be needed. The standard requires that when measuring the
interference effects on a positive sequence phasor from the
PMU, the interfering signal harmonics must be positive sequence. The need to make the interharmonics positive sequence
arises from the fact that a PMU calculates symmetrical components from the phase components. Any nonpositive-sequence
component of the interharmonics would be highly attenuated
in the computation of the positive-sequence phasor.
A signicant change in verifying ltering compliance is that
power system signal frequency must be varied over a range of
10% of the Nyquist frequency of the reporting rate. For example, for a reporting rate of 25 fps, the test must be performed
with power system frequency at various points from 47.5 to 52.5
Hz rather than just at the nominal 50 Hz. (The standard does
not specify which or how many points must be tested.) This requirement was added to ensure the ltering is sharp enough to
handle conditions where the power system is off nominal frequency (which it usually is). While the better approach may be
requiring a single frequency range for all reporting rates, the
link to reporting rates assures it will not add difculty for lter
The biggest change to the steady state requirements is the
addition of specications for frequency and ROCOF. Frequency Error (FE) and ROCOF error (RFE) are evaluated as
the absolute difference between the measured value and the
value specied for the given test. The requirements are keyed
to the phasor requirements, so the conformance tests only need



to be run once. The frequency and ROCOF measurements are

made only during the signal frequency, harmonic rejection,
and OOB interference rejection tests. The 2014 amendment
also suspended the ROCOF error limit for the out-of-band
interfering signals test.
The original standard, IEEE Std. 1344-1995, specied
sampling and timing requirements and assumed that all implementations would use the same estimation algorithm [6]. This
would ensure comparable measurements from different PMUs.
The succeeding standard, IEEE Std. C37.118-2005, did not assume use of the same estimation methods, so it established the
TVE metric for evaluating phasor measurement performance.
However, it addressed performance only under steady state
A principal use for synchrophasor measurements is observing
power system dynamics. Consequently, requirements for PMU
performance under dynamic conditions is now part of the standard, and verifying conformance is important.
Dynamic PMU testing had been established using modulated
signals and step tests [7][11]. WGH11 determined that conformance tests should also reect the sort of phenomena that might
be observed on the real power system. From that, they narrowed
the test types to modulation, ramp, and step. These tests reasonably characterize PMU performance.
WGH11 decided also to limit the dynamics over which a
PMU will be tested. With limited dynamics, the signal will
change nearly linearly across a short measurement window.
If the change across the window is nearly linear and the estimation algorithm is symmetrical, the phasor estimate will
closely represent the actual phasor value at the center of the
window. Thus, the most common estimators using a time tag
at the center of the sampling window should meet the dynamic
requirements in the new standard.
Consider that the phasor measurement process produces an
estimated phasor value for the basic input signal, which nominally is sinusoidal at 50 or 60 Hz. However, in reality this basic
signal can be above or below nominal system frequency due to
the generation-load balance as well as deviation due to any dynamic effects such as oscillation and switching. The reported
phasor value reects an estimate of the amplitude, phase angle,
frequency and ROCOF of the sinusoid at the instant recorded in
the time tag. The time series of samples represents the dynamically changing waveform subject to signal frequency limitations
based on the Nyquist sampling limit of the phasor reporting rate.
Tests that might conrm that measurements from different
PMUs are comparable include linearity, bandwidth, frequency
tracking, response time, settling time, overshoot, noise, and distortion as follows.
Linearity is tested with steady-state tests.
The measurement bandwidth test compares the output with
the input over a range of modulation frequency. For this
test, the input-power signal is modulated in phase or amplitude. This is the only test that measures the PMU's ability
to track a changing ROCOF.
The ramp of the system frequency test monitors all measurements during a ramp in the fundamental frequency to

Fig. 1. Step change in amplitude illustrating the points of measurement


ensure they can follow such changes as can occur in a

power system. This test is useful in exposing a reporting
time error in the frequency estimate.
Response time and overshoot use a step change in input
amplitude or phase to see how quickly the PMU responds,
and how far it goes beyond the nal value (overshoot) as
shown in Fig. 1.
Since synchrophasor estimates are the result of ltering
functions, settling time is included with the response time
measurement, as the overall response is an important
Noise and distortion are included in the overall assessment
by using the worst case TVE for each test as the test result.
The rst dynamic test is a modulation test. Some power
system oscillations appear as a modulation of the AC power
signal, so this test simulates actual operational phenomena.
Simulations showed that a typical power swing would create
simultaneous amplitude and phase modulation. Therefore,
IEEE Std. C37.118.1-2011 used this simultaneous modulation
for the test. However, due to interactions between amplitude
and phase modulation in linear PMU algorithms, this proved
difcult to properly evaluate. IEEE Standard C37.118.1a-2014
amended the procedure into separate amplitude and phase
modulation tests.
The primary purpose of these tests is to determine if the measurement bandwidth complies with the requirements. The bandwidth of an instrument is commonly stated as the point where
the response is measured as down 3 dB (about 30%) from a reference value. The test modulation is 10% of the signal, so a 30%
reduction in the measured value would produce a 3% TVE error,
which is the requirement in this test.
For this test, the AC signal amplitude or phase is modulated
with a cosine signal, and the measurement is compared with the
input signal characteristics. Amplitude modulation is illustrated


Fig. 2. The 60 Hz waveform with 10% amplitude modulation.

by Fig. 2. The modulation is applied at a series of frequencies

starting at 0.1 Hz and increasing to a maximum that is the greater
of Fs/5 or 5 Hz for M class, or Fs/10 or 2 Hz for P class, where
Fs is the phasor reporting rate. The modulation frequency for
the test is limited to a fraction of the sample rate because ltering and algorithm frequency response will of necessity roll
off the response considerably below the Nyquist rate of Fs/2.
The response is evaluated with the TVE, FE, and RFE criterion
using the highest error value over the greater of 2 full cycles of
modulation or 5 seconds. This assures that the test will capture
anomalies and noise in the measurement. This test is repeated
at enough modulation frequency points to determine an accurate
response curve to be sure it remains below the limit.
The second dynamic test is a ramp of system frequency. This
test determines how closely the measurements track the input
during a constant rate of change of frequency. The frequency
is ramped from below nominal to above nominal over ranges
specied according to class and reporting rate.
In the power system, a frequency ramp will occur after a
sudden change in generation or load, such as loss of a large load
or system islanding. For the test, the ramp rate is 1.0 Hz/s,
which was chosen as a worst case that might occur in a large
power system. WGH11 recognized that a small power system
would have a faster ramp rate, but there was little recorded information to draw on which would indicate a rate that would be
universally applicable. Since most phasor system implementation was being done in large power systems and there was good
agreement on 1 Hz/s, this value was used. As synchrophasor
use expands, higher rates can be specied to meet application
requirements in future revisions of the standard.
TVE, FE and RFE are used to measure error, and the highest
values are used for determining compliance. Modulation tests
also show the ability to track changes, so this test may seem
somewhat redundant. However, the ramp of system frequency
tests covers a wider range of frequencies than do the modulation
tests. Some methods used for compensating phasor algorithms
may be susceptible to errors during frequency changes and the
ramp of system frequency test is included to be sure these will
not cause problems.


The third dynamic test is a step in amplitude or phase. In a

power system a step is generated when a switch operates or a
fault occurs. PMUs are not expected to produce accurate measurements during rapid changes like steps (because the estimation time windows are too long to reproduce short transients), so
the output is evaluated for response time, delay time, and overshoot/undershoot. These tests are focused on system changes,
not faults and so they are limited to 10% amplitude or 10 phase.
A true step change for this test is impossible to create. Most
equipment used to produce these test signals synthesize them
from a digital representation. The minimum step change is one
sample interval. Further, since the output is basically a 50/60 Hz
sine wave, lters that smooth the digital steps also slow the rise
time. So a step may end up with a rise time considerably lower
than a true step. For example, a simulator with a 10 kHz output
rate has 100
output intervals and with ltering the output
step may approach 500
rise time. While test signal rise time
could have an effect on measurement, dening it opens up a
whole new area which WGH11 decided should be left to conformance certication, such as the IEEE Conformity Assessment
Program (ICAP). This allows adapting equipment and methods
as they are available as well as tending to the many small details
required in a comprehensive test program that may not be included in the standard. It simplies test adaptation as equipment
evolves. It also assures uniformity of process and application of
the requirements. So only the test signals and performance requirements are specied in this standard.
The response time (Fig. 1) is evaluated as the length of time
from when the measurement estimate leaves the specied TVE,
FE or RFE limit at the prestep level until it enters and stays
within the specied TVE, FE or RFE limit at the new value.
This gives a good measure of how quickly the measurement
will re-settle to the new value after a sudden change. Phasor
response times must be within
for P class and 7/Fs for M
class, shown in Table 9 of the amendment ( and Fs dened as
Delay time evaluates how closely the time of the measurement (measurement time stamp) corresponds to the actual step
change. The requirement of 1/4 of the reporting time interval ensures that the measured step appears very close to the actual time
of occurrence. The overshoot/undershoot requirement assures
reasonableness of resultsexcessive overshoot in a PMU can
mask, or appear as, meaningful responses in the power system
Determining these parameters by simply evaluating the response curve drawn by linearly interpolating the reported phasor
values can be difcult. The response time is typically comparable to the reporting interval, and details of the PMU response
can be missed.
To obtain a more complete picture of the step change response, the standard describes a technique for taking repeated
steps and interleaving the results. This technique is based on the
fact that the phasor estimates are made at exactly the same times
each second. By shifting the stepped input by fractions of the reporting interval, the output reports will occur at different points
on the measurement response. The output reports can then be interleaved according to the input shifts to form a more complete
response curve. The standard suggests using a shift of 1/10 of


the reporting interval, because in testing, this shift adequately

revealed device performance. The process is described in more
detail in [11] and [12].
Frequency and ROCOF are also tested with the same tests
and evaluated using the FE and RFE criterion. Only the response time is evaluated, but using longer limits to allow for
the noise amplication caused by differentiation. These limits
(f) and
(ROCOF) for P class. The M class limit
is the greater of 14/Fs and
for both f & ROCOF, as shown
in Table 10 of the amendment. Response time was set to these
rather long limits to ensure that current measurement techniques
could comply. F & ROCOF are new requirements and the estimation techniques are probably a generation behind those of
phasors. Phasors, f, and ROCOF are reported in a single timetagged measurement set which creates difculty adding more
ltering, as further described in the next section. WGH11 approach was to have relaxed limits for these new requirements to
ensure availability of compliant equipment and to move to more
exacting limits when the technology will support them.
A. Frequency Measurement Discussion
Heuristic development of the concept of power system frequency is founded on the notion of rotating machines determining a single value of frequency for the interconnected network. As power engineers, we are accustomed to thinking of the
frequency of the power system as a useful guide to whether the
generation and load are properly matched as well as the overall
system stability. Even small power system disturbances produce
deviations from the target system frequency, so the machines
must be made to track the system frequency, which they do
via a portfolio of automatic control mechanisms (inertial, automatic generation control, power system stabilizers, etc.)
The introduction of PMUs 25 years ago revealed that the instantaneous frequency was often slightly different at each measurement point. Fig. 3 shows the frequency measured at four
points in a real power system disturbance. It shows the dynamic
nature of the power system and presents an excellent representation of how generators aggregate in their response to an event.
On average, the frequencies must agree (or generator pole slipping will occur).
The original PMUs measured frequency by differencing
phase angles determined by the phasor values. This can produce smooth frequency estimates by averaging over a long
interval or a more responsive but noisier estimate using shorter
interval. The longer average produces an estimate closer to
a rotor angle and the latter a dynamic measurement such as
illustrated in Fig. 3 [13]. WGH11 decided that simulation of
rotor frequency would be difcult to achieve on a uniform basis
and that observing the dynamic power system behavior was
valuable. Moreover the frequency measurement is much more
useful if time aligned with the phasor values. Consequently the
denition of frequency as a derivative was adopted as described
in the following section. Testing requires the measurement is
time aligned to the timetag. Note that while the standard offers
a method for deriving frequency and ROCOF based on phase


Fig. 3. Instantaneous frequency measured by four identical PMUs at different

locations in the power system.

angle differencing, it leaves the actual implementation up to

the PMU vendor.
Note also that a fast measurement like this may be subsequently ltered, for instance, to estimate rotor angle; but in
a slow measurement where this ltering is already in place,
the lost information can never be regained. Both frequency and
ROCOF data may be smoothed by ltering or post-processing.
Any further processing and longer time windows in the PMU
itself may increase delay in obtaining the measurement, inherently reducing its usefulness.
B. Frequency Defined in the Standard
PMUs measure phase angle relative to a cosine wave at nominal frequency synchronized to UTC time, which is generally
derived from the GPS network. Most PMU implementations derive the frequency from the PMU estimates of the phase angle
at an internal rate higher than the reporting rate. Frequency estimation could be done differently: for example, using algorithms based on zero crossings of waveforms [14]. IEEE Standard C37.118.1-2011 standard denes frequency as the derivative of the phase angle and ROCOF as the derivative of frequency. As stated in IEEE Standard C37 118.1 (Clause 5.2),
Given a sinusoidal signal

Frequency is dened
And ROCOF is dened
These derivative calculations can be done using phasor
values computed at the point-on-wave rate data to improve
performance. This reduces the delay time between the phasor
values and frequency and ROCOF as well as reducing measurement noise.
Estimation of derivatives by differencing small sample steps
has been shown to create high noise due to quantized steps.
However in this case, the data used to compute the steps is


highly correlated, so the close spacing of the measurement samples actually reduces the noise. Suppose the waveform sampling is every
s and the three phase-angle estimates at times
, and
are used to estimate frequency and
ROCOF. Due to the window of calculation they are based on almost the same data. For instance, in the 50/s estimator described
in the reference model, each PMU estimate is based on 143
samples. Assume that the three phase-angle estimates are determined using three sets of 143 samples, offset by
1 sample
one sample interval, which is 1/800 s here). This requires a total of 145 samples. 141 of the samples will be used
by all three of the estimates, with slightly different weighting;
and two samples at the ends of this group will be used by only
one or two of the estimates, with very small weighting. Noise
present in any of the samples as well as the desired signal will
propagate to the phase-angle estimates to almost the same degree for all three estimates. The smaller
, the closer to identical the three estimates become, and the more the signal (including noise embodied in it) will cancel in the frequency and
ROCOF calculations. In the limiting case, if
is set to zero,
all three estimates will be identical (even with truncation in the
math, which otherwise does not cancel).
The sample data in this analysis includes errors in the signal,
analog front end, timing, and analog-to-digital sampling. These
are correlated in the phasor estimation and minimized. However
errors caused by truncation or round off in the phasor estimation algorithm itself (dependent on the CPU/DSP word length
and other implementation considerations) do not cancel since
they are created independently for each estimate after the waveform samples are taken and are not correlated. Also noise that is
inband or leaks through the phasor lters, such as those introduced by the OOB test, can cause frequency and ROCOF errors.
C. Assessment of Frequency Performance
The tests described in the standard use input signals are lownoise sinusoids with limited, well-dened changes in magnitude
and phase. The standard notes that the real power system signals consist of noisy, rapidly changing values. Artifacts are introduced by nonlinear loads, line switching, reactor switching,
and others. This situation is further exacerbated by the proliferation of nonsynchronous power sources, such as wind, solar,
and HVdc.
As rst- and second-order derivatives of phase angle,
frequency and ROCOF may be adversely affected by these
real-world conditions. Though they are theoretically invaluable
quantities for power system protection and control, the standard
notes that they should be used with caution.
PMU frequency and ROCOF estimates are not intended to replace IEEE Standard C37.2 device 81 (under or over frequency)
or 81R (rate-of-change of frequency) elements as found in conventional protection and control schemes for power networks.
In order to comply with the requirement of having a single
time-tag for a set of measurements from a PMU (a PMU reporting message), their performance and accuracy are dictated
by the phasor ltering system, the primary purpose of which has
been to achieve adequate synchrophasor measurements. For use
in any application, the PMU frequency and ROCOF measurements performance and accuracy should be checked against


the required specications. Further work and development are

needed to rene the PMU's frequency and ROCOF evaluations
and to better dene the range of their potential applications.
A. Latency Overview
Latency is important because in order to act upon information, the actor (whether human or machine) must know how old
the input information is that it is acting upon, and how long it
will take to see the response to that action. Since a feedback
system takes information from the output and applies it to the
input, the age of the information that is fed back must be known
in order to control the system dynamic response. If latencies in
the feedback information become longer than the system design
boundaries, system damping and stability can be affected.
Synchrophasor reports carry with them the time of measurement of the information they contain. If the receiver of synchrophasor information has an accurate source of time, it can
determine the latency of the information by comparing the synchrophasor time stamp to the actual time. In this sense, synchrophasor information is particularly well suited for use in discrete feedback systems.
Limits to latency allow feedback system designers to rely on
the information they are acting upon to be no older than the latency limit. Accurate knowledge of latency may in some cases
allow predictive estimation [15], which would project measurements to the moment when a control decision is being made.
B. Latency Limits in the Standard
The synchrophasor standard denes two limits that relate to
latency and requires two tests to determine if the PMU is performing within those limits.
The rst of the two limits appears in Table 9 of clause 5.5.8
Dynamic compliance-performance under step changes in phase
and magnitude. The limit is Delay Time
and is required to

is the reporting rate

This limit is required for both classes of PMU for all reporting
rates. It is the time difference between the actual time of a step in
phase or magnitude of the input signal and the time that the PMU
output reaches 50% of the step size. This requirement limits the
maximum inaccuracy of the time stamp relative to a change in
the input being reported in the synchrophasor output.
The second limit on latency appeared in Table 11 of Clause
5.5.9, PMU reporting latency compliance. The limit is Maximum PMU Reporting Latency (in seconds) and is limited to
no more than 2/(Reporting Rate) for P class and 7/(Reporting
Rate) for M Class. PMU reporting latency is the interval
from the time reported by the time stamp to the time that the
synchrophasor information becomes available at the output of
the PMU. This requirement assures the data transmission from
the PMU has bounded delay, as is required for real-time applications. IEEE Std. C37.118.1-2011 described Measurement
reporting latency in ambiguous terms. Amendment IEEE Std.
C37.118.1a-2014 replaced Measurement reporting latency


with PMU reporting latency and cleared up the ambiguities

in the description.
C. Latency: in Conclusion
A feedback system designer will be interested in limits to
latency of the entire control system being designed. With respect
to the latencies within the PMU, the designer can be ensured
that any PMU compliant with this standard will not exceed the
constraints of the aforementioned two limits.
Six informative Annexes are provided. The three most significant ones are discussed in this section.
Annex C of IEEE Standard C37.118.1-2011 provides the reference models for the M- and P-class PMUs. The purpose of a
reference model is to be sure that all performance requirements
can be met. The reference models are provided as a disclosure
of what was used to conrm the requirements, not as a recommended implementation. In fact, these models were kept simple
with the idea that better implementations could be made that
would more easily meet the requirements.
During development, several WGH11 members implemented
the reference models in software and tested them to be sure
it would meet every requirement. Since these implementations
were in software only, an allowance of at least 50% was made
to be sure real PMUs could meet all requirements. Results were
compared to be sure the implementations agreed and all limits
were met. Amendment IEEE Standard C37.118.1a-2014 revised
the M-class lter coefcients for better immunity to out-of-band
interference at the expense of longer latency. Also, the equations
for frequency and ROCOF estimation were revised to eliminate
a time offset in these estimates, thereby better aligning them
with the synchrophasor estimates.
Annex D discusses time stamping and time quality. Of particular note, it includes an extension of IRIG-B that provides
year, leap seconds, and local time offsets (including daylight
saving time). The extension also includes time-quality codes
that allow the PMU to assess the time code accuracy relative
to a UTC-traceable source. This extension is an update of the
widely used prole introduced in the IEEE 1344 standard, and
should be used instead of the previous versions. The extension is
not included in the IRIG standards specication nor other IEEE
Annex F is an adaptation of the work of our colleagues
in China, in particular, the WAMS & Time Synchronization
Working Group of SAC 82, Beijing, China [16]. The annex
shows how the internal angle of the generator may be calculated
from the terminal conditions. It shows how the angular offset of
a shaft encoder can be calibrated via the no-load PMU results.
IEEE Power Systems Relaying Committee WGH11, which
authored the IEEE Synchrophasor standards, has joined forces
with IEC technical committee 95 to revise the synchrophasor
measurement standard and publish it as joint standard IEC/IEEE
60255-118-1. The agenda of the joint body includes:
1) reduction of the required number of reporting rates;
2) considering adding
and higher reporting rates;


3) further clarication of latency requirements;

4) resolve several ambiguities in clause 5.5:
a) relative phase of harmonics;
b) step-response time interpolation;
c) step overshoot reference level;
d) phase-angle test is redundant with the frequency
range test;
e) increments in the out-of-band interfering signals test;
f) maximum PMU reporting latency might not be found
with only 1000 reports.
5) temperature tests are the only requirement that make the
standard a device standard rather than a function standard; consider the reference to other environmental test
standards and suggest how to test the PMU function under
those standards;
6) consider testing a PMU function with test signals in digital
form (as from a merging unit);
7) consider either new, higher accuracy classes, or setting performance levels within the M and P class;
8) reconsider the denition of frequency.
The joint working group estimates this effort will take until
2017 to complete.
This paper has outlined the development of synchrophasor
standards spanning almost two decades. Standards have progressed from basic denitions to include requirements for frequency and rate-of-change of frequency measurements. Present
parallel efforts between the IEEE and IEC have been facilitated and harmonized by the separation of the measurement
performance requirements into C37.118.1-2011 described here,
and IEEE Standard. C37.118.2-2011, which details the message
The content of this standard has been reviewed including
denitions, reporting requirements, introduction of
performance classes (M and P), and performance requirements
under steady-state and dynamic conditions. The most important annexes were reviewed, particularly the reference model in
Annex C. Some of the factors considered in drafting this standard and its amendments have been discussed. Implications and
limitations have been presented.
Potential problems in measurement have been mentioned,
particularly in actual power systems with attendant noise and
system artifacts that are not present in the standardized test signals. Future work will focus on rening the performance requirements as outlined in Section IX, with particular attention
to measurements in more realistic environments.
Goldstein ,
G. Antonova, M. Begovic, G. Benmouyal, G. Brunello ,
B. Dickerson , Y. Hu , M. Jalali, H. Kirkham ,
M. Kezunovic, A. Kulshrestha, R. Midence, M. Patel,
J. Murphy , K. Narendra, D. Ouellette , G. Stenbakken ,
V. Skendzic , E. Udren, Z. and Zhang
Principle contributors to this paper



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