Electric power distribution  is the final stage in the  delivery  of  electric power ; it carries electricity from the  transmission syste...

Electric power distribution is the final stage in the delivery of electric power; it carries electricity from the transmission system to individual consumers. Distribution substations connect to the transmission system and lower the transmission voltage to medium voltage ranging between 2 kV and 35 kV with the use of transformersPrimary distribution lines carry this medium voltage power to distribution transformers located near the customer's premises. Distribution transformers again lower the voltage to the utilization voltage of household appliances and typically feed several customers through secondary distribution lines at this voltage. Commercial and residential customers are connected to the secondary distribution lines through service drops. Customers demanding a much larger amount of power may be connected directly to the primary distribution level or the sub transmission level.


Due to the high voltages used in arc lighting, a single generating station could supply a long string of lights, up to 7-mile (11 km) long circuits, since the capacity of a wire is proportional to the square of the current traveling on it, each doubling of the voltage would allow the same size cable to transmit the same amount of power four times the distance. Direct current indoor incandescent lighting systems (for example the first Edison Pearl Street Station installed in 1882), had difficulty supplying customers more than a mile away due to the low 110 volt system being used throughout the system, from the generators to the final use. The Edison DC system needed thick copper conductor cables, and the generating plants needed to be within about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) of the farthest customer to avoid excessively large and expensive conductors.Electric power distribution only became necessary in the 1880s when electricity started being generated at power stations. Before that electricity was usually generated where it was used. The first power distribution systems installed in European and US cites were used to supply lighting: arc lighting running on very high voltage (usually higher than 3000 volt) alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC), and incandescent lighting running on low voltage (100 volt) direct current. Both were supplanting gas lighting systems, with arc lighting taking over large area/street lighting, and incandescent lighting replacing gas for business and residential lighting.

Distribution overview

The transition from transmission to distribution happens in a power substation, which has the following functions:
  • Circuit breakers and switches enable the substation to be disconnected from the transmission grid or for distribution lines to be disconnected.
  • Transformers step down transmission voltages, 35kV or more, down to primary distribution voltages. These are medium voltage circuits, usually 600-35,000 V.
  • From the transformer, power goes to the busbar that can split the distribution power off in multiple directions. The bus distributes power to distribution lines, which fan out to customers.
Urban distribution is mainly underground, sometimes in common utility ducts. Rural distribution is mostly above ground with utility poles, and suburban distribution is a mix. Closer to the customer, a distribution transformer steps the primary distribution power down to a low-voltage secondary circuit, usually 120 or 240V, depending on the region. The power comes to the customer via a service drop and an electricity meter. The final circuit in an urban system may be less than 50 feet, but may be over 300 feet for a rural customer.

Primary distribution

Primary distribution voltages are 22kV or 11 kV.Only large consumers are fed directly from distribution voltages; most utility customers are connected to a transformer, which reduces the distribution voltage to the low voltage used by lighting and interior wiring systems.
Voltage varies according to its role in the supply and distribution system. According to international standards, there are initially two voltage groups: low voltage (LV): up to and including 1kV AC (or 1.5kV DC) and high voltage (HV): above 1 kV AC (or 1.5 kV DC).

Network configurations

Distribution networks are divided into two types, radial or network.A radial system is arranged like a tree where each customer has one source of supply. A network system has multiple sources of supply operating in parallel. Spot networks are used for concentrated loads. Radial systems are commonly used in rural or suburban areas.
Radial systems usually include emergency connections where the system can be reconfigured in case of problems, such as a fault or required replacement. This can be done by opening and closing switches. It may be acceptable to close a loop for a short time.
Long feeders experience voltage drop (power factor distortion) requiring capacitors to be installed.
Reconfiguration, by exchanging the functional links between the elements of the system, represents one of the most important measures which can improve the operational performance of a distribution system. The problem of optimization through the reconfiguration of a power distribution system, in terms of its definition, is a historical single objective problem with constraints. Since 1975, when Merlin and Back introduced the idea of distribution system reconfiguration for active power loss reduction, until nowadays, a lot of researchers have proposed diverse methods and algorithms to solve the reconfiguration problem as a single objective problem. Some authors have proposed Pareto optimality based approaches (including active power losses and reliability indices as objectives). For this purpose, different artificial intelligence based methods have been used: microgenetic, branch exchange, particle swarm optimization and non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm.

Rural services

Rural electrification systems tend to use higher distribution voltages because of the longer distances covered by distribution lines. 7.2, 12.47, 25, and 34.5 kV distribution is common in the United States; 11 kV and 33 kV are common in the UK, Australia and New Zealand; 11 kV and 22 kV are common in South Africa. Other voltages are occasionally used. Distribution in rural areas may be only single-phase if it is not economical to install three-phase power for relatively few and small customers.
Rural services normally try to minimize the number of poles and wires. Single-wire earth return (SWER) is the least expensive, with one wire. It uses higher voltages (than urban distribution), which in turn permits use of galvanized steel wire. The strong steel wire allows for less expensive wide pole spacing. In rural areas a pole-mount transformer may serve only one customer.
Higher voltage split-phase or three phase service, at a higher infrastructure and a higher cost, provide increased equipment efficiency and lower energy cost for large agricultural facilities, petroleum pumping facilities, or water plants.
In New Zealand, Australia, Saskatchewan, Canada, and South Africa, single wire earth return systems (SWER) are used to electrify remote rural areas.

Secondary distribution

Electricity is delivered at a frequency of either 50 or 60 Hz, depending on the region. It is delivered to domestic customers as single-phase electric power In some countries as in Europe a three phase supply may be made available for larger properties. Seen in an oscilloscope, the domestic power supply in North America would look like a sine wave, oscillating between -170 volts and 170 volts, giving an effective voltage of 120 volts. Three-phase power is more efficient in terms of power delivered per cable used, and is more suited to running large electric motors. Some large European appliances may be powered by three-phase power, such as electric stoves and clothes dryers.
A ground connection is normally provided for the customer's system as well as for the equipment owned by the utility. The purpose of connecting the customer's system to ground is to limit the voltage that may develop if high voltage conductors fall down onto lower-voltage conductors which are usually mounted lower to the ground, or if a failure occurs within a distribution transformer. Earthing systems can be TT, TN-S, TN-C-S or TN-C.



Electrical for Us: DISTRIBUTION
Electrical for Us
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