Earthing System Maintenance

Engineer Abid Aziz

Earthing Systems:
Electrical earthing is designed primarily to render electrical installation safe. The purpose of earthing are : 1. Protection to the plant 2. Protection to the personnel and 3. Improvement in service reliability Non- current carrying parts with conducting surface such as tanks of Power Transformers, and frame work of circuits breakers, structural steel work in switch yard instrument transformer cases, lightning arresters and armored cables armoring should be effectively grounded for protection of equipments and operating personnel. Earth connections of all equipments should be made in duplicate. Connecting lead should have sufficient current carrying capacity. L A s should have independent earth electrode which should be inter connected to the station grounding system. All paints, enamel, seals should be removed from the point off contact of metal surfaces before earth connections are made. The resistances of earth system should not exceed 2 ohms for 33/11 KV Sub Stations. But in the sub stations of Distribution companies Earth resistance Maximum of 1 Ohm is maintained. Suitable grounding mat should be provided in the sub station yard.

 Extraneous metal frame work not associated with the power systems. steel structures etc.  Apparatus. switch gear frame work etc.In a Sub Station the following shall be earthed. machinery or an electrical system with the general mass of earth is termed as earthing or grounding  . for example. frame work and other non-current carrying metal work associated with each system.. The neutral point of the systems of different voltages which have to be earthed. boundary.. fence. The earthing Means connecting of Electrical equipment. for example transformer tanks.

FUNCTION OF AN EARTHING SYSTEM A Sub Station earthing system has to satisfy four requirements:     The earthing system must provide an environment which is free from the possibility of fatal electric shock. The earthing system must provide a low impedance path for fault and earth leakage currents to pass to earth. The earthing conductors must possess sufficient thermal capacity to pass the highest fault current for the required time The earthing conductors must have sufficient mechanical strength and corrosion resistance. .

Earthing can be broadly divided as :   System Grounding ( System Earthing) Equipment Grounding (Safety Grounding) .

The provision of system ground reduces to considerable extent the magnitude of the transient over voltages and there by increases the life of electrical equipment besides minimizing the services interruptions. as it helps to clear the fault speedily. Thus the fundamental purpose of system ground is the protection of installation and improvement in quality of service. arrestors also comes under the head of system grounding.System Grounding: It is a connection to the ground of a part of the plant forming part of the operating circuits for example the star point of the transformer or the neutral conductor. . The grounding of the lighting. The system ground also will ensure the safety of the personnel to some extent.

Thus the equipment grounding is basically intended to safeguard to a great extent from the hazards of touch voltages. a sufficiently high current will flow into the ground when accidentally the live parts of the equipment / Machinery touch the frames. Switchgear enclosures.Safety Grounds (Equipment Grounding) It is a connection to the ground of non-current carrying parts of the equipments like Motors. Metallic enclosures of all electrically operated equipments and also the installations used to carry/ Support electrical equipments. The safety ground is so designed that the potential difference appearing between the frames and the neighboring ground is kept within safe limits. The frames of the equipments. By connecting body which can result in a fatality. produces current through the body which can result in a fatality. By connecting the frames to a low resistance ground system. Transformer Tanks. if not earthed when come into contact accidentally with live parts will have potential with reference to the ground. when shunted between the hands and the feet of a person touching the frame. and consequently saves the operating personnel from fatal accidents. . The potential difference.

The idea is that by connecting the system ground to a separate earthing system situated in a in accessible spot. this separate system of grounds has many disadvantages and can be more hazardous as mentioned below . When the system and safety grounds are inter connected. the fault current flowing (via) the system ground rises the potential of the safety ground. In view of the above it is some times suggested that separate system and safety grounds will avoid the danger arising due to potential gradients.Separation of system and safety grounds: During ground fault conditions. the fault current flows via the system ground. However. the ground fault current does not flow through the safety ground. Also the flow of current to safety ground results in hazardous potential gradient in and around sub station.

The resistance may be more and in some cases sufficient currents may not flow to operate the relays.. this is impracticable.    With separate grounds we can avoid danger due to potentials only for faults outside the stations. The neutral of the transformer has to be connected to this remote earthing by means of insulated leads. complicated and costly. Even with this arrangement one cannot always be sure about the complete isolation of the two systems and there is always a chance of inadequate electrical connection through buried neutral pipes etc. the system ground shall be installed at a distance of at least twice the diagonal length of the sub station which is covered by safety grounding. It is therefore a common practice to install a common grounding system and design the same for effective earthing and safer potential gradients. Short circuit currents will be more if the fault occurs in the sub stations. Hence. . For effective separation of the earthing systems.

1956.System Earthing  System earthing is governed by provisions of Rule .E Rules. will have to be much higher values as compared to those of equipments and lines of a grounded system. . lines etc. In an ungrounded system the insulation of all the equipments. excepting in a few cases of power station auxiliaries supply systems where other arrangements are made for indicating earth faults. Unearthed systems have been tried and due to the phenomenon of Arcing Grounds associated with them. This aspect greatly reduces the costs and ensures more safety. theses have been abandoned.Of I.

Earthing through a Peterson coil Earthing directly or solid earthing.Types of System Earthing:     Earthing through a resistance. Earthing through a reactance. .

0 Ohms 10.0 Ohms The Step and touch potentials should be within safe limits . Provision of adequate earthing in a sub station is extremely important for the safety of the operating personnel as well as for proper system operation.0 Ohms 5. The Primary requirements of a good earthing system in a sub station are. The impedance to ground should be as low as possible. The impedance of the earth system shall not exceed the following limits in the sub stations Power Stations Major Sub stations above 110 KV Minor Sub Stations below 110 KV Distribution Transformer Station Transmission line supports 0.5 Ohms 1.Sub Station Earthing Because of the difficulties and disadvantages involved in marinating the system grounding and safety grounding separately it is the common practice now to have a combined grounding system at the sub stations.0 Ohms 2.

Transferred potential The transferred potential is a touch potential which is transferred some distance by an earth referenced metallic conductor.0 meter without the person touching any earthed structure Mesh Potential The maximum potential difference between the centre of a mesh in an earth grid. For example.0 meter.Touch Potential : Touch potential is the potential difference between the ground surface potential where a person is standing and the potential of his outstretched hand (s) which are in contact with an earthed structure. If a person disconnects the earthed termination at one end of a screened cable he may be subjected to the full ground potential rise occurring due to an earth fault. at a spacing of 1. Step Potential : Step Potential is the potential difference between outstretched feet. and an earthed structure connected to the buried grid conductors. It is worst case scenario of a touch potential. . consider a screened cable connecting two sub stations which are some distance apart. This can be a very high touch potential. It is normally assumed that a person’s maximum reach is 1.

To keep the ground impedance as low as possible and also to have satisfactory step and touch voltages. none of these parts are at higher potential than the grounding grid. however. All the non-current carrying parts of the equipments in the sub stations are connected to this grid so as to ensure that under fault conditions. Under normal conditions. and a current carrying capacity consistent with fault current. which is particularly important where the system fault currents are heavy. desirable for marinating low value of resistance under all weather conditions. Earthing in a sub station must conform to the requirements of the Indian Electricity Rules and follow the directives laid down in section I and III of IS : 3043-1966. . an earthing mat will be buried at a suitable depth below the ground and it is provided with grounding electrode at suitable points. the earthing system has to be designed to have a low overall impedance. the ground electrode make little contribution to lower the earth resistance. they are.

Resistivity of the underlying strata. . Magnitude of the fault current.The factors which influence the design are:      Duration of fault. Resistivity of the surface material Material of the earth electrode.

13. steel structural conducts. conduits.. . 11. 8. Provisions shall be made for thermal expansion of the steel flats by giving suitable bends. The earth mat shall extend over the entire switchgear yard and beyond the security fencing of structural yard by at least one meter. welding is done shall be given a coat of black asphalitic varnish and then covered with hessain tape to avoid rusting. All Junctions (crossing of the steel flats while forming the earth mat and taking risers from the earthmat for giving earth connections to equipments. The intermediate earthing conductors forming the earth mat shall be of 75 x 8 mm size flat. All the equipments. The ground mat of the switchyard shall be properly connected to the earth mat of the control house at least at two points. to earth mat shall be of 50 x6 mm size excepting for earthing of L A s and transformer neutrals for which 100 x 16 mm or 75 x 8 mm size shall be used. cable shearths shall be propersly welded. 7. Proper earthing lugs shall be used for connecting the earth terminals of equipments to the earthing steel flat. The earth mat shall be formed by placing 75 x8mm MS flat at a distance 5 meters along the length & breadth of the sub station duly welding at crossing. 2.1. steel structural. 100 X 16 mm and 75 X 8mm size MS steel flats are being ordered for forming the earthing system for EHT Sub station and 33/11 KV Sub Stations respectively Earth mat shall be formed with the steel flats buried in the ground at a depth of 500mm. 5. 6. 4. 12. 3. The outer most peripheral earthing conductor surrounding the earth mat shall be of 100 x 16 mm size MS flat. cable sheaths shall be solidly grounded by connecting to the earthing mat at least two places for each. 9. All the risers used for connecting the equipment steel structures etc. 10.

Power Transformers neutral shall be provided with double earthing. Grounding electrodes 2. The grounding electrodes shall be drived into the ground and their tops shall be welded to a clamp and the clamp together with the grounding shall be welded to the ground conductor. 22. The switchyard surface area shall be covered by a layer of crushed rock of size 25 x 40 mm to a depth of 100mm Transformers and L A s and single phase potential transformer shall be provided with earth pits near them for earthing and these earth pits in turn shall be connected to the earth mat. 18. Neutral earthing and body earthing of power transformers shall be connected to separate earth electrode. . 75 X 8 mm ground conductor shall run in cable trenches and shall be connected to the ground amt at an interval of 5 meters. 20. 19.75 Mtrs length 100 mm dia 9 mm thickness CI Pipes shall be provided at all their peripheral corners of the earthiong mat and also at Distance of 10 Mtrs along length & width of switch gearand in the entire switch yard. keeping in view the above points. 23. All paints. 21. The joints and tap-offs where welding is done shall be given a coat of black asphalitic varnish and then covered with hessain tape to avoid rusting.14. 16. The risers taken along the main switchyard structures and equipment structures up to their top) shall be clamped to the structure at an interval of not more than one meter with ground connectors. 15. the entire earthing system shall be laid with constructional conveniences in the filed. 17. enamel and scale shall be removed from point of contact in metal surfaces before applying ground connections.

2 Seconds 3200 V 4600 V 0.2 Seconds 1050 V 1400 V 0.7 Seconds 535 V 815 V .35 Seconds 1800 V 2600 V 0.7 Seconds 195 V 250 V Maximum Acceptable Touch Voltage Fault clearance times Fault clearance times On soil On chippings 150mm) 0.THE PERMISSIBLE LIMITS OF STEP POTENTIAL AND TOUCH POTENTIAL SHALL BE Maximum Acceptable step Voltage Fault clearance times Fault clearance times On soil On chippings 150mm) 0.35 Seconds 600 V 800 V 0.

MATERIAL The following are the minimum sizes of materials to used. S. No 1 Item Grounding Electrodes Material to be used CI pipe 100 mm (inner dia) Meters long with a flange at the top 2 3 Earth mat 75 X 8mm MS Flat Connection to between 75 X 8mm MS Flat electrodes and earthmat 4 Connection to between 50 x 6mm MS Flat earth mat and equipment (Top Connections) .EARTH GRID.

After welding. The earth mat shall extend over the entire switch yard. Back fill shall be placed in layer of 150mm. free of stones and other harmful mixtures. uniformly spread along the ditch. The earth mat shall be buried in the ground at a depth of 500mm. and tampered by approved means . the joints and tap offs shall be given two coats of Bitumen paint Back filling of earth mat trench to be done with good earth.     The size of trench for burying earth mat shall be 300mm X 500mm. All junctions and risers in the earth flat shall be properly welded by providing additional flat pieces for contact between two flats Provision shall be made for thermal expansion of steel flats by giving smooth circular bends Bending shall not cause any fatigue in the material.

75 meters long with a flange at the top and earth flat already indicated and shall be connected to earth grid in the Sub Station. Following this all connections shall be painted with heavy coats of bituminous black paint so as to exclude moisture.EARTH ELECTRODES Earth electrodes shall be of CI pipe 100mm (inner dia) 2. All bolted earth mat connections and strip connections to plant and equipment panel will be subject to strict scrutiny. Transformer Neutrals shall be connected directly to the earth electrode by two independent MS strips of 75 X 8mm. All earth pits are to excavated and the preferred backfill is a mixture of coke and salt in alternate layers. . The transformer body earthing shall be done with 75 X 8mm flat. All contact surface must be filled or ground flat ensures good electrical connection. The independent connections of MS strips with earth mat shall be given on either side of the Transformer. and the contact surface shall be protected with a contact lubricant. A suitable size cement collar may be provided to each earth electrode.

E Rules 1956. All equipment and switchgear etc.. For arrestors mounted near for protecting transformers earth conductors shall be connected directly to the tank. Operating handle of the isolator and supporting structures shall be bonded together by a flexible connection and connected to the earthing grid. Earth connection shall be as short and as straight as practicable. erected shall be earthed as per I. . A separate earth electrode shall be provided adjacent to the structures supporting Lightning Arrestors.EARTH GRID – WORK DETAILS     Neutral connection earth pipe shall never be used for the equipment earthing. An Earthing pad shall be provided under each operating handle of the isolator and operating mechanism of the circuit breakers.