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Protective relays have been called sentinels and electric brains.

From the economic point of view, relays are akin to insurance; they protect the power
utility from financial loss due to damage to equipment.

From the under writers point of view, they prevent accidents to personnel and minimise
damage to equipments.

From the consumer’s point of view, good service depends more upon adequate relaying
than upon any other equipment.

When anything abnormal occurs on an electrical system, some action is necessary to
isolate the abnormal condition either instantaneously or in some circumstances, after a pre-
determined time delay. Such action must be automatic and selective ie. it must segregate the
faulty section or piece of equipment leaving the healthy remainder in normal service. This is
the function of protective gear, which in one form or another is designed to sense the presence
of abnormal conditions and based on this a sensing, to isolate the circuit. The abnormal
conditions against which protection is required, may be broadly summarised as follows.

1. The condition of overloading.

2. The failure of insulation to the extend where a dangerous leakage of current can occur to

3. The failure of insulation to the extend where short circuit occurs between two or three

Relays do not prevent occurring of abnormal conditions, but only to help to “protect”.

When we say that relays “protect” we mean that together with other equipments such as
current transformers (CT), Potential transformers (PT) circuit breakers (CB), Battery, control
circuit etc. the relays help to minimise damage and improve service.