Challenges faced by overhead distribution network
Overhead distribution network is predominantly necessary in hilly regions and remote areas where human access is difficult, time consuming and expensive. It is found that only 7 % of the faults are permanent faults. About 80% of the faults that occur are temporary. Every time a fault occurs the lineman along with his safety crew will have to attend to these faults which are mostly temporary (heavy wind, bird hit etc.). The distribution companies face a lot of cost implications due to these temporary faults which increase downtime and reduce revenue.
What would be an optimal solution?
To eliminate the major issues faced in overhead distribution network one should device a system that provides
Switchgear that can reduce downtime
Remote operation, monitoring, control and analytics
The need for auto reclosers
The area of interest should primarily focus on attacking the bigger issue i.e. downtime due to temporary faults. This can be addressed only by the use of auto reclosers. Auto reclosers are smart devices capable of performing Open- Close- Open (OCO) operations for a preset time set in the controller also referred to as “Reclosing Function”.
Auto reclosers perform two functions
Analyse the type of fault for a time period
Automatically re-close and make the section healthy in case of temporary faults or perform a close open operation before opening the breaker in case of permanent faults.
Every time a recloser performs a reclosing function one should keep in mind that the episode of linemen and his safety crew arriving at the location, their distance travelled and most importantly down time is completely eliminated. Megawin m-Smart Reclosers along with its MF790c controller offers a wide range of functions, protection, metering and control that are SCADA compatible.
A strong SCADA network should be solutioned that would allow operators to control and monitor the field devices from the control room. Today there are my companies that provide strong analytics tools, focused on specific customer requirements. This helps users deliver good quality of power and also efficiently work on their network.
What should one know before procuring these equipment?
A comprehensive knowledge, understanding of both the field devices, SCADA and integration rest within very few companies/manufacturers around the world. Especially when it comes to small scale projects one should ideally go for both type tested and time tested products of manufacturers who also have experience and references in projects having SCADA, field devices and their integration.