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Math H.J. Bollen

Department of Electric Power Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology
Gothenburg, Sweden

The material presented in this tutorial is an excerpt from the manuscript of my book "Understanding
power quality problems: voltage sags and interruptions", published by IEEE Press in New York. ISBN
IEEE Press publications are available from
IEEE Service Center
455 Hoes Lane
PO Box 1331
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fax +1 732 981 9334

Math Bollen, Gothenburg, October 1999.

Table of Contents

1. Voltage Sag Characterisation

2. Equipment Behaviour
3. Stochastic Assessment of Voltage Sags
4. Mitigation of Voltage Sags

1. Voltage Sag Characterisation

Math H J Bollen, Senior Member, IEEE

Department of Electric Power Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden


Voltage sags are short duration reductions in rms volt-

age, mainly caused by short circuits and' starting or large 0.5
motors. The large interest in voltage sags is due to the a
problems they cause on several types of equipment. Spe- CD
ciallyadjustable-speed drives, process-control equipment g
and computers are notorious for their sensitivity. Some
pieces of equipment trip when the rms voltage drops be-
low 90% for longer than one or two cycles. Such a piece
of equipment will trip,tens of times a year. If this is the
process-control equipment of a paper mill, one can imag- o 2 3 4 5 6
ine that the damage due to voltage sags can be enormous.
Of course a voltage sag is not as damaging to industry as Fig. 1. A voltage sag - voltage in one phase in time
a (long or short) interruption. But as there are far more domain, data obtained from [1].
voltage sags than interruptions the total damage due to
sags is still larger. Another important aspect of voltage induction motors are the typical load which causes volt-
sags is that they are rather hard to mitigate. Short in- age sags. Voltage sags due to induction motor starting
terruptions and many long interruptions can be prevented last longer than those due to short circuits. Typical du-
via rather simple, although relatively expensive, measures rations are seconds to tens of seconds. The remainder of
in the local distribution network. However voltage sags this chapter will concentrate on voltage sags due to short
at equipment terminals can be due to short circuit faults circuits.
hundreds of kilometres away in the transmission system.
It will be clear that there is no simple method to prevent II. VOLTAGE SAG MAGNITUDE - MONITORING
An example of a voltage sag in shown in Fig. 1 . We The magnitude of a voltage sag can be determined in
see that the voltage amplitude drops to a value of about a number of ways. At the moment there appears general
20% of the pre-event voltage for about two cycles. After agreement that the magnitude should be determined from
these two cycles the voltage comes back to about the pre- the rms voltages. As voltage sags are initially recorded as
sag voltage. This magnitude and duration are the main sampled points in time, the rms voltage will have to be
characteristics of a voltage sag. Both will be discussed calculated. This has been done for the sag shown in Fig.
in more detail in the 'forthcoming sections. We can also 1 resulting in Fig. 2: the rms voltage has been calculated
conclude from Fig. 1 that magnitude and duration do over a windowofone cycle, which was 256 samples for the
not completely characterise the sag. The during-sag volt- recording used. Each point in Fig. 2 is the rms voltage
age contains a rather large amount of higher frequency over the preceding 256 points (the first 255 rms values
components. Also the voltage shows a small overshoot have been made equal to the value for sample 256):
immediately after the sag. In how far these higher fre-
quency components are of any influenceon the equipment
1 i=le
behaviour due to sags, remains a point of discussion.
Voltage sags are mainly caused by short circuits. The N L vi
sag in Fig. 1 is due to a short circuit. But also the
starting of large load can lead to a voltage sag. Large with N = 256 and Vi the sampled voltage in time do-
main . We see that the rms voltage does not immediately

Consider the distribution network shown in Fig. 3,

0.8 where the numbers (1 through 5) indicate fault positions
e, and the letters (A through D) loads. A fault in the trans-
mission network, fault position 1, will cause a serious sag
for both substations bordering the faulted line. This sag
>0.4 is then transferred down to all customers fed from these
two substations. As there is normally no generation con-
0.2 nected at lower voltage levels, there is nothing to keep up
the voltage. The result is that a deep sag is experienced
2 3 4 5 by all customers A, B, C and D. The sag experienced by
Tme in cycles
A is likely to be somewhat less deep, as the generators
Fig. 2. One-cycle nns voltage for the voltage sag connected to that substation will keep up the voltage.
shown in Fig. 1 . A fault at position 2 will not cause much voltage drop
for customer A. The impedance of the transformers be-
drop to a lower value but takes one cycle for the transi- tween the transmission and the sub-transmission system
tion. We also see that the rms value during the sag is not are large enough to considerably limit the voltage drop at
completely constant and that the voltage does not imme- high-voltage side of the transformer. The sag experienced
diately recover after the fault. A surprising observation by customer A is further mitigated by the generators feed-
is that the rms voltage immediately after the fault is only ing in to its local transmission substation. The fault at
about 90% of the pre-sag voltage. From Fig. lone can position 2 will however cause a deep sag at both subtrans-
see that the voltage in time domain shows a small over- mission substations and thus for all customers fed from
voltage instead. In this example the rms voltage has been here (B, C and D).
calculated after each sample. In power quality monitors, A fault at position 3 will cause a very deep sag tor cus-
this calculation is typically only made once a cycle. It tomer D, followed by a short or long interruption when the
is thus likely that the monitor will give one value with protection clears the fault. Customer C will only experi-
an intermediate magnitude before its rms voltage value ence a deep sag. If fast reclosure is used in the distribu-
settles down. tion system, customer C will experience two or more sags
In the US the general practice is to characterise the sag shortly after each other for a permanent fault. Customer
through the remaining voltage during the sag. This is B will only experience a shallow sag due to the fault at
then given as a percentage of the nominal voltage. Thus position 3, again due to the transformer impedance. Cus-
a 70% sag in a 120 Volt system means that the voltage tomer A will probably not notice anything from this fault.
dropped to"'84 V. The confusion with this terminology is Finally fault 4 will cause a deep sag for customer C and a
clear. One could be tricked into thinking that a 70% sag shallow one for customer D. For fault 5 the result is just
refers to a drop of 70%, thus a remaining voltage of 30%. the other way around: a deep sag for customer D and a
The recommendation is therefore to use the phrase" a sag shallow one for customer C. Customers A and B will not
down to 70%" [2]. The IEC has solved this ambiguity by be influenced at all by faults 4 and 5.
characterising the sag through the actual drop [3]. This To quantify sag magnitude in radial systems, the volt-
has somewhat become common practice in Europe. Char- age divider model, shown in Fig. 4 , can be used. In Fig.
acterising a sag through its drop in voltage does Dot solve 4 we see two impedances: Zs is the source impedance at
all problems however, because the next question will be: the point-of-common coupling; and ZF is the impedance
what is the reference voltage? There are arguments in between the point-of-common coupling and the fault. The
favour of using the pre-fault voltage and there are argu- point-of-common coupling is the point from which both
ments in favour of using the nominal voltage. The Inter- the fault and the load are fed. In other words: it is the
national Union of Producers and Distributors of Electri- place where the load current branches off from the fault
cal Energy (Union Intemational des Producteurs et Dis- current. We will further on often abbreviate this as pee.
tributeurs d'Energie Electrique, UNIPEDE) recommends In the voltage divider model, the load current before as
to use the nominal voltage as a reference [4]. well as during the fault is neglected. There is thus DO volt-
In the remainder of these course notes, we will use the age drop between the load and the pee. The voltage at
term "magnitude" in the meaning of the remaining volt- the pee, and thus the voltage at the equipment terminals,
age during the fault. can be found from:



3 dislributiol1

~: lowvol~e T C 10 20 30
Dislanoeto the fault in kin
40 50

7 S
Fig. 5. Sag magnitude as a function of the distance to
the fault , for faults on an 11 kV , 150 mm2 overhead
Fig. 3 . Distribution network with load positions and line.
fault positions.
The sag magnitude as a function of the distance to
the fault has been calculated for a typical llkV over-
head. line resulting in Fig. 5 . For the calculations a
150 ~ overhead line was used [5] and fault levels of
v.. 750 MVA, 200 MVA and 75 MVA. The fault level is used
to calculate the source impedance at the pee, the feeder
impedance to calculate the impedance between the pce
and the fault. It was assumed that the source impedance
is purely reactive, thus Zs = ;0.161 n for the 750 MVA
source. The impedance of the 150 mm2 overhead line is
0.117+ ;0.315n per km.
As expected the sag magnitude increases (i.e. the sag
becomes less severe) for increasing distance to the fault
and for increasing fault level. We also see that faults at
tens of kilometres distance can still cause a severe sag.

Fig. 4. Voltage divider model for a voltage sag. A . Faults behind Transformers

At most voltage levels, the impedance of a transformer

corresponds to many kilometres of line or cable. If there is
ZF a transformer between the pee and the fault, the "feeder = ZS+ZF (2)
impedance" ZF used in equation (2) becomes large and
the sag magnitude closer to one.
Where it has been assumed that the pre-event voltage To show the influence of transformers on the sag magni-
is exactly 1 pu, thus E = 1. tude, consider the situation that a 132/33 kV transformer
We see from (2) that the sag becomes deeper for is fed from the same bus as a 132 kV line. Fault levels
faults electrically closer to the customer (when ZF be- are 3000 MVA at the 132 kV bus, and 900 MVA at the 33
comes smaller), and for systems with a smaller fault level kV bus. In impedance terms: the source impedance at
(when Zs becomes larger). the 132 kV bus is 5.81n, and the transformer impedance
Equation (2) can be used to calculate the sag magni- is 13.55 n, both referred to the 132 kV voltage level. The
tude as a function of the distance to the fault. Therefore sensitive load for which we want to calculate the sag
we have to write ZF = Z x L, with z the impedance of magnitude is fed from the 132 kV via another 132/33
the feeder per unit length and £ the distance between the kV transformer. We can again use equation (2), with
fault and the pee, leading to: Zs = 5.81n and ZF = 13.55n+zx.cwhere z is the feeder
impedance per unit length, and .c the distance between
z£ the fault and the transformer's secondary side terminals. = Zs+z£ (3) The feeder impedance must also be referred to the 132 kV
The results of applying (6) to these values is shown
faultsat33kV in Table I. The zeroes in this table indicate that the
0.8 fault is at the same or at a higher voltage level. The
voltage drops to a low value in such a case. We can see
~0.6 from Table I that sags are significantly damped when
.2 they propagate upwards in the power system. In a sag

EO.4 study we typically only have to take faults one voltage

en level down into account. And even those are seldom of
serious concern. An exception here could be sags due to
faults at 33 kV with a pee at 132 kV. They could lead to
sags down to 70 %.
20 40 60 80 100
Distance to the fault in km
Fig. 6. Comparison of sag magnitude for 132 kV and
33 kV faults
400 V 11 kV 33 kV 132 kV 400kV
400 V 0 90 % 98 % 99 % 100%
level: z (1~2:~)2 x 0.3n when the feeder impedance is
11 kV 0 0 78 % 93% 99%
0.3 {2 at 33 kV. The results of the calculations are shown
in Fig. 6 for faults on the 33 kV line (upper curve) and
33 kV 0 0 0 70% 95%
for faults on a 132 kV line (lower curve). We see that sags 132 kV 0 0 0 0 82%
-due to 33 kV faults are less severe than sags due to 132kV
faults. Not only does the 33 kV curve start off at a higher
level (due to the transformer impedance), also does it rise IV. VOLTAGE SAG DURATION
much faster. The latter is due to the fact that the feeder
A. Typical Values
impedance seen from 132 kV level is (132/33)2 = 16 times
as high as seen from 33 kV level. We have seen that the drop in voltage during a sag is
due to a short circuit being present in the system. The
B. Fault Levels moment the short circuit fault is cleared by the protection,
It is possible to calculate the sag magnitude from the the voltage can return to its original value. The duration
fault levels at the pee and at the fault position. Let SFLT of a sag is thus determined by the fault-clearing time.
be the fault level at the fault position and Spec at the However the duration of a sag is normally longer than the
point-of-common coupling. For a rated voltage Vn the fault-clearing time. We will come back to this further on
relations between fault level and source impedance are as in this section.
follows: Generally speaking faults in transmission systems are
cleared faster than faults in distribution systems. In trans-
mission systems the critical fault-clearing time is rather
v: 2 small. Thus fast protection and fast circuit breakers are
SFLT = Zs; ZF (4)
essential. Also transmission and sub-transmission sys-
tems are normally operated as a grid, requiring distance
v: 2
= ...!!.. (5) protection or differential protection, both of which are
Zs rather fast. The principle form of protection in distribu-
With (2) the voltage at the pee can be written as: tion systems is overcurrent protection. This requires often
some time-grading which increases the fault-clearing time.
An exception are systems in which current-limiting fuses
~ag = 1 - - - (6) are used. These have the ability to clear a fault within
one half-cycle [6, 7].
Consider a system with the following typical fault lev- The sag duration will be longer when a sag originates
els: at a lower voltage level. This is due to the fault-clearing
400 V 20MVA time typically becoming shorter for higher voltage lev-
11 kV 200 MVA els. We saw before that faults in distribution systems will
33kV 900 MVA lead to deep sags if they are at the same voltage level as
132 kV 3,000 MVA the pee and to shallow sags if they are at a lower volt-
400 kV 17,000 MVA age level than the pee. We also saw that transmission
lOO9bI--,..-- ..-r-----..,.---------

0.1 s I~ DUl'lLtion
--• • •

Fig. 7. Sags of different origin in a magnitude-duration Fig. 8. Estimation of sag duration by power quality
plot . monitor for a two-cycle sag : overestimation by one
cycle (upper graph); correct estimation (lower graph).
system faults lead to shorter duration sags than distribu-
tion system faults and that they cover the whole range the most likely situation. We see that the rms value is low
of sag magnitude. Current-limiting fuses allow very short for three samples in a row. The sag duration according to
fault-clearing times, they are only found in low-voltage the monitor will be three cycles. Here it is assumed that
and distribution systems. In a magnitude versus dura- the sag is deep enough for the intermediate rms value to be
tion plot we can now distinguish a number of areas. This below the threshold. For shallow sags both intermediate
is shown in Fig. 7 . The numbers in refer to the following values might be above the threshold and the monitor will
sag origins: record a one-cycle sag. The bottom curve of Fig. 8
1. Transmission system faults shows the rare situation where the sag commencement
2. Remote distribution system faults almost coincides with one of the instants on which the
3. Local distribution system faults rIDS voltage is calculated. In that case the monitor gives

4. Starting of large motors the correct sag duration.

5. Short interruptions The one cycle or one half-cycle error in sag duration is
6. Fuses only significant for short-duration sags. For longer sags
The magnitude-duration plot is an often used tool to it does not really matter. But for longer sags the so-
show the quality of supply at a certain location or the called post-fault sag will give a more serious error in sag
average quality of supply of a number of locations. duration. When the fault is cleared the voltage does not
recover immediately. Some of this effect can be seen in
B. Measurement of Sag Duration Fig. 2 . The rms voltage after the sag is slightly lower
than before the sag. The effect can be especially severe
Measurement of sag duration is much less trivial than for sags due to three-phase faults. The explanation for
it might appear from the previous section. For a sag like this effect is as follows [8]. Due to the drop in voltage
in Fig. 1 it is obvious that the duration is about 2~ during the sag, induction motors will slow down. The
cycles. However to come up with an automatic way for torque produced by an induction motor is proportional to
a power quality monitor to obtain the sag duration is no the square of the voltage, so even a rather small drop in
longer straightforward. The commonly used definition of voltage can already produce a large drop in torque and
sag duration is the number of cycles during which the rms thus in speed. The moment the fault is cleared and the
voltage is below a given threshold. This threshold will be voltage comes back , the induction motors start to draw
somewhat different for each monitor but typical values a large current: up to 10 times their nominal current.
are around 90%. A power quality monitor will typically Immediately after the sag, the air-gap field will have to
calculate the rms value once every cycle. This gives an be build up again. In other words: the induction motor
overestimation of the sag duration as shown in Fig. 8 . behaves like a short-circuited transformer. After the flux
The normal situation is shown in the upper figure. The has come back into the air gap, the motor can start re-
rms calculation is performed at regular instants in time accelerating which also requires a rather large current.
and the voltage sag starts somewhere in between two of It is this post-fault inrush current of induction motors
those instants. As there is no correlation between the which leads to an extended sag . This post-fault sag can
calculation instants and the sag commencement, this is
• Load currents, before, during and after the fault can
be neglected .

• Positive- and negative-sequence source impedance

&» are equal.
s...--- . monitor 2
~t----+------~~----- • Faults are single-phase, phase-to-phase or three-phase.
We will discuss some of the limitations of this classifica-
tion below, including a more comprehensive classification
that covers all cases.
duration monitor 1
A. Single-Phase Faults
duration monitor 2
The phase-to-neutral voltages due to a single-phase-to-
ground fault are:
Fig. 9. Error in sag duration due to post-fault sag.
last several seconds, much longer than the actual sag. The Vb=-~-!j~ (7)
post-fault sag can cause a serious error on the sag duration
2 2
as obtained by a power quality monitor. And an even ~=-~+!j~
2 2
more serious problem is that different monitors can give
different results. This is shown schematically in Fig. 9 The resulting phasor diagram is shown in Fig. 10.
. Assume that monitor 1 has a setting as indicated, and If the load is connected in star the equipment terminal
monitor 2 a slightly higher setting. Both monitors will voltages are the phase-to-phase voltages. These can be
record a sag duration much longer than the fault-clearing obtained from equation (7) by the following transforma-
time. The fault-clearing time can be estimated from the tion:
duration of the deep part of the sag. We see that monitor
TT • Vb - ~
2 will record a significantly longer duration than monitor Va=] ~

Vb =J ~ v'3Va
• -

- Vb
For each type of fault, expressions can be derived for
Vc =J Vav'3

the voltages at the pee, But this voltage is not equal

to the voltage at the equipment terminals. Equipment is The factor .J3 is aimed at changing the base of the
normally connected at a lower voltage level than the level pu values. The 900 rot ation by using a factor j aims at
at which the fault occurs. The voltages at the equipment keeping the axis of symmetry of the sag along the real
terminals therefore not only depend on the voltages at the axis. Applying transformation (8) results in the fol-
pee but also on the winding connection of the transform- lowing expression for the voltage sag experienced by a
ers between the pee and the equipment terminals. The delta-connected load, due to a single-phase fault:
voltages at the equipment terminals further depend on
the load connection. Three-phase load is normally con- Va=l
nected in delta but star-connection is also used. Single- Vb = _! - (!6 + !V)jv'3 (9)
phase load is normally connected in star [i.e. between one 2 3
phase and neutral) but sometimes in delta (between two
v.: = _!2 + (!6 + !V)jv'3
In this section we will derive a classification for three-
The phasor diagram for the equipment terminal volt-
phase unbalanced voltage sags, based on the following as-
ages is again shown in Fig. 10: two voltages show a drop
in magnitude and change in phase angle; the third voltage
• The zero-sequence component of the voltage does is not influenced. at all. The delta-connected equipment
Dot propagate down to the equipment terminals, so experience a sag in two phases due to a single-phase fault.
that we can consider phase-to-neutral voltages. Here it has been assumed that the voltage in the non-
faulted phases is not influenced by the fault. In reality this
is often not the case: the voltage in the non-faulted phases

Fig. 10. Phase-to-ground (left) and phase-to-phase Fig. 11. Phase-to-ground and phase-to-phase voltages
voltages before and during a phase-to-ground fault. before and during a phase-to-phase fault.

has the tendency to increase because the zero-sequence load the maximum drop is 50%, for V = O. But for the
fault impedance is larger than the positive-sequence fault delta-connected load one phase could drop all the way
impedance. We can obtain expression (7) by adding a down to zero. The conclusion that load could therefore
zero-sequence component to the voltages. As the zero- best be connected in star is wrong however. Most sags do
sequence voltage does Dot propagate to the equipment not originate at the same voltage level as the equipment
terminals, this does not affect the voltages at the equip- terminals. We will see later that the sag at the equipment
ment terminals. terminals could be either of the two shown in Fig. 11 ,
depending on the transformer winding connections.
B. Phase-to-Phase Faults
c. Transformer Winding Connections
For a phase-to-phase fault the voltages in the two faulted
phases move towards each other. The expressions for the Transformers come with many different winding con-
phase-to-neutral voltages during a phase-to-phase. fault nections, but when studying the transfer of voltage sags
read as follows: from one voltage level to another, only three types need
to be considered:

V4 =1 1. Transformers that do not change anything to the

voltages. For this type of transformer the secondary-
Vb =_!2 - !Vjv'S
(10) side voltages (in pu) are equal to the primary-side
voltages (irrpu]. The only type of transformer for
~c = _!2 + !·VJ·v'S
2 which this holds is the star-star connected one with
both star points grounded.
Like before (8) can be used to obtain an expression
for the phase-to-phase voltages, resulting in: 2. Transformers that remove the zero-sequence volt-
age. The voltages on secondary side are equal to the
voltages on primary side minus the zero-sequence
v4=v component. Examples of this type of are the star-
star connected transformer with one or both star
Vb= _!V
- !jv'S
(11) points not grounded, and the delta-delta connected

~ =-~v + ~jv'S
transformer. Also the delta-zigzag (Dz) transformer
fits into this category.
The corresponding phasor diagrams are shown in Fig. 3. Transformers that swap line and phase voltages.
11 . Due to a phase-to-phase fault a star-connected load For these transformers each secondary-side voltage
experiences a drop in two phases, a delta-connected load
experiences a drop in three phases. For the star-connected
equals the difference between two primary-side volt- • single-phase fault, star-conn load, no transf.
ages. Examples are the delta-star (Dy) and the star- This case has been discussed before, resulting in
delta (Yd) transformer as well as the star-zigzag equation (7) and in the left diagram in Fig. 10
(Yz) transformer We will refer to this sag as sag Xl. Transformer
type 1 gives the same results of course.
Within each of these three categories there will be trans-
formers with different clock number (e.g. Ydl and Yd11), • single-phase fault, delta-conn load, no transf.
thus causing a different phase shift between primary and The voltage sag for this case is given in equation
secondary-side voltages. But this difference is not of any (9) and shown in the right diagram in Fig. 10.
importance for the voltage sags as experienced by the This sag will be referred to as sag X2.
equipment. All that matters is the change between the
pre-fault voltages and the during-fault voltages, in mag- • single-phase fault, star-connected load, transf T2.
nitude and in phase-angle. The whole phasor diagram, Transformer type 2 removes the zero sequence com-
with pre-fault and during-fault phasors, can be rotated ponent of the voltage. The zero sequence compo-
without any influence on the equipment. Such a rotation nent of the phase voltages due to a single-phase fault
can be seen as a shift in the zero point on the time axis is found from (7) to be equal to i(V - 1). This
which of course has no influence on equipment behaviour. gives the following expression for the voltages:
The three transformer types can be defined mathemati-
cally by means of the following transformation matrices:


T2 = ~
2 -1
[ -1
-1] (13)
This looks like a new type of sag, but we will later
see that it is identical to the one experienced by a
delta connected load during a phase-to-phase fault.
-1 2
But for now it will be referred to as sag X3.

• single-phase fault, delta conn load, transf T2.

. [ 0 1 -1] The phase-to-phase voltages experienced by a delta-
T3 = ~ -1 0 1 (14)
connected load do not contain any zero-sequence
v~ 1 -1 0
component. Thus transformer type 2 does not have
Equation (12) is rather straightforward: matrix T1 any influence on the sag voltages. The sag is thus
is the unity matrix. Equation (13) removes the zero still of type X2.
sequence component of the voltage. The matrix T2 can • single-phase fault, star-conn load, trans! T3.
be understood easily by realising that the zero sequence Transformer type 3 changes phase voltages in line
voltage equals !(V4 +'Vb+~). Matrix T3 in equation (14) voltages. Thus star-connected load on secondary
describes exactly the same transformation as expression side experienced the same sag as delta-connected
(8) . The additional advantage of the 90°rotation is that load on primary side. In this case that is sag X2.
twice applying matrix T3 gives the same results as once
applying matrix T2- Thus Tl = T2' or in engineering • single-phase fault, delta.-conn load, transf T3.
terms: two Dy transformers in cascade have the same There are now two transformations: from star to
effect on the voltage sag as one Dd transformer. delta-connected load, and from primary to secondary
These three types of transformers can now be applied side of the transformer. each of these transforma-
to the sags due to single-phase and phase-to-phase faults. tions can be described through matrix T3 defined in
As mentioned before transformer type 3 is identical to (14) . Two of those transformations in cascade have
the change from star connected to delta-connected load. the same effect as transformation T2 • Thus the sag
Thus star-connected load on secondary side of a Dy trans- experienced by this delta connected load is the same
former experiences the same sags as delta-connected. load as by the star connected load behind a transformer
on primary side. of type 2; thus sag type X3.
To get an overview of the resulting sags, the different
• phase-to-phase fault, star-conn load, no transf.
combinations will be systematically treated below.
This case was treated before resulting in (10) and
in the left diagram in Fig. 11 . This will be sag ~ TypeA - TypeS
type X4.

• phase-to-phase fault, delta-conn load, no transf.

The expression for the sag voltages reads as (11)
and is shown towards to right in Fig. 11. This
type will be referred to as X5. tf.

• phase-to-phase fault, star conn load, transf T2. TypeD

As phase-to-phase faults do not result in any zero-
sequence voltage, transformer type 2 (which removes
the zero-sequence voltage) does not have any effect.
The sag thus remains of type X4.

• phase-to-phase fault, delta-conn load, transf T2.

Like before, the sag is still of type X5.
Fig. 12. Four types of sag in phasor-diagram form.
• phase-to-phase fault, star-conn load, transf T3.
Star-connected load on secondary side of transformer The superscript (*) behind the sag type in Table III and
type 2 experiences the same sag as delta-connected Table IV indicates that the sag magnitude is not equal to
load on primary side. This results in type X5. i !
V but equal to + V, with V the voltage in the faulted
• phase-to-phase fault, delta-conn load, transf T3~ phase or between the faulted phases in Table III and the
This gives again two identical transformations Ts magnitude of the sag on primary side in Table IV .
in cascade, resulting in one transformation T2. But
that one only removes the zero-sequence component FOUR TYPES OF SAGS IN EQUATION FORM.
and has thus no influence on sags due to phase-to-
phase faults. The result is thus again X4. Type A TypeB

D. Four Types of Sags Va=V Va=V

Vb = -!V - !jvv'3 Vb = -! - ~iv'3
We saw above that single-phase faults lead to three
types of sags, designated sag Xl, sag X2 and sag X3.
~ =-!V + tjvv'3 ~ =-!+!iv'3
Phase-to-phase faults lead to sag X4 and sag X5. We saw TypeC TypeD
already from the phasor diagrams in Fig. 10 that single-
phase and phase-to-phase faults lead to similar sags. The
sag voltages for sag type X2 are given in (9) , where (10)
Va =1 Vc=l
gives the expression for sag type X4. Vb =-! -!jvv'3 Vb = -!V - ijv!3
Comparing these two sets of equations shows that (9) ~ = -! + !i V v'3 ~ = -!V + iiv'3
can be obtained by replacing V in (10) by + [v. If
we define the magnitude of sag X4 as V then sag X2 is a
sag of type X4 with magnitude + V.1 i TABLE III
In the same way we can compare sag X3, (15), and sag FAULT TYPE, SAG TYPE AND LOAD CONNECTION
X5, (13) .Again we can obtain equation (13) by replac-
ing V in (15) by + iV. The result is that only three Fault type star conn load delta conn load
fundamental types remain: Xl, X4 and X5. A fourth type three-phase sagA sagA
of sag is the sag due to three-phase faults, with all three phase-to-phase sage sagD
voltages down the same amount. The resulting classifica- single-phase sagB sag C·
tion is shown in Table II in equation form and in Fig.
12 in phasor diagram form. All sags in Fig. 12 have a
magnitude of 50%. From the discussion about sags due E. Summary - More Characteristics
to single-phase and phase-to-phase faults, together with
the definition of the four types, the origin and the prop- As mentioned before, the zero-sequence component rarely
agation of the sags becomes straightforward. The results effect the voltages at the equipment terminals, and is
are summarised in Table III for the origin of sags and therefore be neglected in this classification. The only sag
in Table IV for their propagation to lower voltage levels.
The PN-factor and characteristic magnitude are defined
LEVELS through the symmetrical component transformation. The
definition is such that the sag characteristics can be easily
transformer type A type B type C type D obtained from measured voltage waveshapes. For more
connection details the reader is referred to [9] and [10]. Applying
YNyn type A type B type C type D this extended classification to voltage sag monitoring re-
Yy,Dd,Dz type A type D* type C type D sults has shown that the PN-factor varies between 0.9 and
Yd,Dy,Yz type A type C· type D type C 1.0. The lower value is found in distribution systems, the
higher value in transmission systems. It is also shown that
type with a zero-sequence component is type B. Remov- the PN-factor gets closer to one when the characteristic
ing the zero-sequence component results in a sag of type magnitude gets closer to one.
D. When we only consider the remaining three types, the In specific cases, it may be suitable to extend the char-
sag magnitude doesn't change at all when the sag propa- acterization by adding the zero-sequence voltage as a third
gates to a lower voltage level. The resulting classification characteristic of the three-phase unbalanced sag.
can be summarized as follows:
• Three-phase unbalanced voltage sags come in three
different types, designated as Type A, Type C and A short circuit in a system not only causes a drop in
Type D. voltage magnitude but also a jump in the phase angle of
the voltage. In a 50 Hz or 60 Hz system, voltage is a
• Sag type A is a balanced sag with all three volt- complex quantity (a phasor) which has magnitude and
age magnitudes equal. Sags of type A are due to phase-angle. A change in the system, like a short circuit,
three-phase faults and due to induction motor start- causes a change in voltage. This change is not limited
ing. Sag types C and D are unbalanced sags, due to to the magnitude of the phasor but can equally well in-
nonsymmetrical faults. clude a change in phase-angle. We will refer to the latter
as the phase-angle jump associated with the voltage sag.
• Each sag can be characterized through one magni-
The phase-angle jump manifests itself as a shift in volt-
tude and one duration. The magnitude does not
age zero crossing compared to a synchronous voltage, e.g.
change when the sag propagates through a trans-
as obtained by using a phase-locked loop. Phase-angle
former from a higher to a lower voltage level. The
jumps are not of concern for most equipment. But power
only change is from type C to type D and back.
electronics converters using phase-angle information for
This classification has been extended in [9, 10] to in- their firing instants could easily get disturbed.
clude cases in which positive and negative-sequence source The concept of phase-angle jump will be introduced by
impedance are no longer identical. This effect may be means of a three-phase fault, as that enables us to use
due to induction motor load present near the place where the single-phase model. Phase-angle jumps during three-
the voltage sag is experienced. Next to the characteris- phase faults are due to the difference in X/R ratio between
tic magnitude a so-called "PN-factor" F is introduced for the source and the feeder. A second cause of phase-angle
sag types C and D. The expressions for the three voltages jumps is the transformation of sags to lower voltage lev-
become for a type C sag: els. This phenomenon has already been mentioned when
three-phase unbalanced sags were discussed before
To understand the origin of phase-angle jumps associ-
~=F ated with voltage sags, the single-phase voltage divider
1- 1 - M model of Fig. 4 can be used again, with the differ-
Vb = -2 F - 2j Vv 3 (16) ence that Zs and Zp are complex quantities which we
1- 1 - M will denote as Zs and Zp. The (complex) voltage at the
~ = -2"F + 2j V v 3 point-of-common coupling (pee) during the fault is:

and for a type D sag:

- Zp
V$Gg=~~~ (18)
Vb =
1- 1- 1ft
--V - -Fjv3 (17) Let Zs = Rs + jXs and Zp = Rp + jXF. The ar-
2 2 gument of V $49' the phase-angle jump in the voltage, is
1- 1-
~ =--V
+ -Fjv3
1ft given by the following expression:

10 20 30 40 50
Distance to the fault in Ian

Fig. 13. Phase-angle jump versus distance, for faults

on alSO mm2 11 kV overhead feeder, with different
source strength.

5 10 15 20 25
Distanc:eto the fault in Ian
ll~ = arg (V...g) (19)
Fig. 14. Phase-angle jump versus distance, for over-

= arctan (~; ) - arctan (~: : ~; ) (20)

head lines with cross section 300 (solid line), 150
(dashed line) and 50 mm2 (dotted line).

If ~; = i;, expression (19) is zero and there is no

phase-angle jump. The phase-angle jump will thus be
present if the XjR ratios of the source and the feeder are-

A. Phase-Angle Jumps - Calculation

Consider again the system used to obtain Fig. 5.
Instead of the sag magnitude, we can also calculate the
phase-angle jump, resulting in Fig. 13 . We again see
that a stronger source makes the sag less severe: less drop
in magnitude as well as a smaller phase-angle jump. The
only exception is for terminal faults . The phase-angle 0,.-------------...,
jump for zero distance to the fault is independent of the ·10 ...... ..............
source strength. We will later rewrite (19) in such a
way that this becomes obvious. Note that this is only of
theoretical value as the phase-eagle jump for zero distance
to the fault, and thus for zero voltage magnitude, has no
FJg. 14 plots phase-angle jump versus distance for 11
kVoverhead lines of different cross sections. The resis-
tance of the source has been neglected in these calcula-
tions: Rs = O. From the overhead line impedance data
5 10 15 20 25
shown in we can calculate the XjR ratio of the feeder Distanc:eto the fault in Ian
impedances: 0.967 for the 50 mm 2 line, 2.692 for the 150
mm 2 and 4.886 for the 300 mm 2 . We see that the phase-- Fig. 15. Phase-anPejump versus distance, for under-
ground cables with cross section 300 (solid line), 150
angle jump decreases for smaller XjR ratio of the feeder. (dashed line) and 50 mm 2 (dotted line).
The calculations have been repeated for underground
cables. The results are shown in Fig. 15. Cables with
a smaller cross section have a larger phase-angle jump
for small distances to the fault, but it also decays faster
for increasing distance. This is due to their (in absolute
value) larger impedance per unit length.
three-phase unbalanced sags the problem becomes more
10 complicated as there are now three rms values to choose
~ 0...----- from. The most commonly used definition is: The magni-
CZ) tude of a three-phase sag is the rms value of the lowest of
~-10 the three voltages. Alternatives suggested are to use the
~-20 average of the three rms values, or the lowest value but

~.30 one.
c» Based on the classification of three-phase unbalanced
sags we distinguish between three different kinds of mag-
-50 nitude and phase-angle jump. In all cases magnitude and
-60 phase-angle jump are absolute value and argument re-
0 2 3 4 5 6 spectively of a complex voltage.
Tune in cycles

Fig. 16. Phase-angle jump versus time for the voltage • The initial complex voltage is the voltage at the
sag in Fig. 1 . point-of-common coupling at the faulted voltage level.
For a single-phase-to-ground fault the initial com-
B. Phase-Angle Jump - Monitoring plex voltage is the voltage between the faulted phase
and ground at the pee. For a phase-to-phase fault
To obtain the phase-angle jump of a measured sag, the the initial complex voltage is the voltage between
phase-angle of the voltage during the sag must be com- the two faulted phases. For a two-phase-to-ground
pared with the phase-angle of the voltage before the sag. or a three-phase fault it can be either the voltage
The phase angle of the voltage can be obtained from the in one of the faulted phases or between two faulted
voltage zero-crossing or from the phase of the fundamental phases (as long as pu values are used). The initial
component of the voltage. Fig. 16 shows the phase of the sag magnitude is the absolute value of the complex
fundamental component of the voltage before and during initial voltage; the initial phase-angle jump is the
the sag shown in Fig. 1 . The complex fundamental com- argument of the complex initial voltage.
ponent was obtained from a fast-Fourier transform. Let
4J(t) be the argument of the complex fundamental voltage • The characteristic complex voltage of a three-phase
over the period [t - T, t] with T one cycle of the fun- unbalanced sag is defined as the value of V in Ta-
damental frequency, and </Jo the argument at t=O. The ble II. We will give an alternative interpretation
synchronous voltage has an angle ~o + wt with Wo the of the characteristic complex voltage later on. The
angular speed of the fundamental frequency. The phase- characteristic sag magnitude is the absolute value of
angle jump at/> as plotted in Fig. 16 can be calculated the characteristic complex voltage. The character-
from: istic phase-angle jump is the argument of the char-
a</J =¢(t) - (<Po + wt) (21) acteristic complex voltage. These can be viewed
as generalised definitions of magnitude and phase-
Like with sag magnitude, there is no unique value for angle jumps for three-phase unbalanced sags.
the phase-angle jump due to a sag. A power quality moni-
tor should use an average value during a sag or the largest • The complex voltages at the equipment terminals
value during the sag. The oscillation of the phase-angle are the values of ~, li and ~ in Table II and in
around sag initiation and voltage recovery are due to the several of the equations around these tables. The
shift of the window in and out of the sag. It takes about sag magnitude and phase-angle jump at the equip-
one cycle before the phase-angle jump reaches a reliable ment terminals are absolute value and argument
value. This could lead to erroneous values of the phase- respectively of the complex voltages at the equip-
angle jump when obtained by a power-quality monitor. ment terminals. For single-phase equipment these
are simply sag magnitude and phase-angle jump as
VII. MAGNITUDE AND PHASE-ANGLE JUMPS FOR previously defined for single-phase voltage sags.
B. How to Obtain Characteristic Magnitude
A. Definition of Magnitude and Phase-Angle Jump
Before, we have introduced three types of sags together
The magnitude of a voltage sag was defined as the with their characteristic complex voltage V. A mathemat-
rms value of the voltage during the fault. For single- ically elegant method to obtain the characteristic complex
phase loads this is an implementable definition, despite voltage from the sampled voltages, is described in [10, 9].
the problems with actually obtaining the rms value. For Here we will give a simple method for obtaining the sag
1 .4,r----~-~-- -~
magnitude. For type D the magnitude is the rms value of
the lowest of the three voltages. For type C it is the rms 1.2
value of the difference between the two lowest voltages
(in pu). For type A, either definition holds. This leads to
the following way of determining the characteristic mag- Co
nitude of a three-phase sag from the voltages measured CI>

at the equipment terminals, : s-

• obtain the three voltages as a function of time: Ve (t),
Vt,(t) and ~(t) . 0.2

• determine the zero-sequence voltage: 234 5 6


Vo(t) = Ve(t) + Vo(t) + ~(t) (22) Fig. 17. RMS values of the voltages
for the sag shown in Fig. 1 .
• determine the remaining voltages after subtracting
the zero sequence voltage:

V;(t) = Ve(t) - Vo(t) 0..8

V;(t) = Vi,(t) - Vo(t) (23) :>

V:(t) = ~(t) - Vo(t) sO.6


• determine the rms values of the voltages V;, V; and >0.4

V;. 0.2

• determine the three voltage differences:

2 3 ---~---.J
4 5 6
sr () _ Ve(t) - Vi,(t)
Veo t - v'3
Fig. 18. RMS values of pbese-to-phese (dashed lines)
IT ( ) _ Vi,(t) - ~(t) (24) and phase-to-neutral voltages after removal of the
Vbe t - v'3 zero-sequence component (solid lines) for the sag
shown in Fig. 1 .
sr () _ ~(t) - Ve(t)
Veil t - v'3
is reached for a phase-to-ground voltage, which indicates a
sag of type D. This is not surprising as the original sag was
• determine the rms values of the voltages Veo, "'be of type B (albeit with a larger than normal zero-sequence
and Vee.
component). After removal of the sero-sequence voltage
• the magnitude of the three-phase sag is the lowest a sag of type D remains. The characteristic magnitude of
of the six rms values. this three-phase unbalanced sag is 63%.

This procedure has been applied to the voltage sag VIII. REFERENCES
shown in Fig. 1. At first the rms values have been
determined for the three measured phase-to-ground volt- [1] The Excel file contaiDing these measwements was
ages, resulting in Fig. 17 . The rms value has been obtained from a web-site with test data set up
R.L. Morgan for IEEE project group P1159.2, with
determined each half cycle over the preceding 128 sam-
the aim of testing methods of sag characterization.
ples (one half-cycle). We see the behaviour typical for a
single-phase fault on an overhead feeder: a drop in voltage
in one phase and a rise in voltage in the two remaining [2] IEEE Recommended Practice for monitoring electric
voltages. power quality, IEEE Std. 1159-1995. New York: IEEE,
After subtraction of the zero-sequence component, all 1995.
three voltages show a drop in magnitude. This is shown in [3] Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC). Part 2: Environ-
Fig. 18 . The phase-to-ground voltages minus the zero- ment . Section 2: Compatibility levels for low-frequency
sequence are indicated through solid lines, the phase-to- conducted disturbances and signalljng in public low-
phase voltages through dotted lines. The lowest rms value voltage power supply systems. IEC Std.61QOO.2-2. lEe
standards can be obtained from IEC, P.O. Box 131, 1211
Geneva, Switzerland.

[4] Measurement guide for voltage characteristics, UNI-

PEDE report 23002 Ren 9531. UNIPEDE documents can
be obtained from UNIPEDE 28, rue Jacques Ibert, 75858
paris Cedex 17, France.

[5] Protective relays application guide. GEe Alsthom Pro-

tection & Control, Stafford, UK.

[6] R. Wilkins, M.H.J. Bollen, The role of current limit-

ing fuses in power quality improvement, 3rd Int Conf
on Power Quality: end-use applications and perspec-
tives, October 1994, Amsterdam. KEMA, Arnhem, The
Netherlands, 1994.
[7] Lj. Kojovic, S. Hassler, Application of current limiting
fuses in distribution systems for improved power quality
and protection, IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery,
Vol.12, no.2, April 1997, p.791-800.

[8] M.H.J. Bollen, The influence of motor reacceleration on

voltage sags, IEEE Transactions on Industry Applica-
tions, Vo1.31 (1995), pp.667-674.

[9] L.D. Zhang, M.H.J. Bollen, A method for characterizing

unbalanced voltage dips (sags) with symmetrical com-
ponents, IEEE Power Engineering Review, July 1998,

[10] L.D. Zhang, M.H.J. Bollen, Characteristics of voltage

dips (sags), IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, in
2. Equipm.ent Behaviour

Math H J Bollen, Senior Member, IEEE

Department of Electric Power Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden


A. Voltage..Tolerance Curves

Generally speaking electrical equipment prefers a con-

! 1:: _-_-_-_-_-_-_~-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_~-_-_-_-_-_-_-_~~-_-_-_- - ------.

stant rms voltage. That is what the equipment has been

designed for and that is what it will operate best for.
The other extreme is no voltage for a longer period of
time. In that case the equipment will simply completely
stop operating. No piece of electrical equipment can op- 25$..----r
erate indefinitely without electricity. Some equipment
__ _
will stop within one second like most desktop comput-
O~'-- ~

ers. Other equipment can withstand a supply interruption Oms 2SOms 7SOms
much longer, like a lap-top computer, which is designed to
withstand (intentional) power interruptions. But even a
lap-top computer's battery only contains enough energy Fig. 1. Voltage-tolerance requirement for power sta-
for typically a few hours. For each piece of equipment tions in Sweden, data obtained from [1].
it is possible to determine how long it will continue to
operate after the supply becomes interrupted. A rather that voltage sags and their resulting tripping of main-
simple test would give the answer. The same test can be frame computers could be a greater threat than complete
done for a voltage of 10% (of nominal), for a voltage of interruptions of the supply. He therefore contacted some
20%, etc. If the voltage becomes high enough, the equip- manufacturers for their design criteria and performed some
ment will be able to operate on it indefinitely. Connecting tests himself. The resulting voltage-tolerance curve be-
the points obtained by performing these tests, results in came known as the "CBEMA curve" several years later.
the so-called "voltage-tolerance curve". An example of
a voltage-tolerance curve is shown in Fig. 1 . Strictly B. Ezamples of Voltage Tolerance
speaking one can claim that this is not a voltage-tolerance
curve, but a requirement for the voltage tolerance; in this An overview of the voltage tolerance of currently avail-
case the voltage tolerance of power stations connected to able equipment is presented in Table I . With these data,
the Swedish National Grid. One could refer to this as a as well as with the voltage-tolerance data presented in the
voltage-tolerance requirement and to the result of equip- rest of this chapter, one should realise that the values not
ment tests as a voltage-tolerance performance. We will necessarily apply to a specific piece of equipment. As an
refer to both the measured curve as well as the required example, Table I gives for motor starters a voltage tol-
curve, as a voltage-tolerance curve. It will be clear from erance between 20 ms, 60% and 80 ~,40%. U$lg this
the context whether one refers to the voltage-tolerance re- range to design an installation could be rather dangerous;
quirement or the voltage-tolerance performance. We see using the average value even more. These values are only
in Fig. 1 that a Swedish power station has to withstand a meant to give the reader an impression of the sensitivity
voltage sag down to 25% of nominal for 250 milliseconds, of equipment to voltage sags, not to serve as a database
and that the power station should be able to operate nor- for those designing installations. For the time being it is
mally for any voltage of 95% or higher [1]. still necessary to determine the voltage tolerance of each
The concept of voltage-tolerance curve was introduced critical part of an installation or to subject the whole
in 1978 by Thomas Key [2]. When studying the reliability installation to a test. In future, voltage-tolerance require-
of the power supply to military installations, he realised ments might make the job easier. These requirements can
either be set by standards-setting bodies, similar to the
lEe standards for harmonic currents, or be part of indus- • Generate the sag by using a wave-form generator in
try guidelines. The former appears to be the lEe road, cascade with a power amplifier.
where the latter is the way in which the IEEE and NEMA
are moving. Both methods are only aimed at testing one piece of
The values in Table I should be read as follows. A equipment at a time. To make a whole installation tol-
voltage tolerance of (a ms, b%) implies that the equipment erate a certain voltage sag, each piece needs to be tested
can tolerate a zero voltage of a ms and a voltage of b% hoping that their interconnection does not cause any un-
of nominal indefinitely. Any sag longer than a ms and expected deterioration in performance. A method for
deeper than b% will lead to tripping or mal-function of testing a whole installation is presented in [5]. A three-
the equipment. In other words: the equipment voltage- phase diesel generator is used to power the installation
tolerance curve is rectangular with a "knee" at (a ms, under test. A voltage sag is made by reducing the field
b%). voltage. It takes about two cycles for the ac voltage to
drop after a drop in field voltage, so that this method can
c. Voltage- Tolerance Tests only be used for sags of 5 cycles and longer. For equip-
ment testing this is no serious limitation.
The only standard that describes how to obtain voltage
tolerance of equipment is IEC 61000-4-11 [4]. This stan- II. COMPUTERS AND CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
dard does however not mention the term voltage-tolerance
curve. Instead it defines a number of preferred magni- The power supply of a computer, and of most consumer-
tudes and durations of sags for which the equipment has electronics equipment normally consists of a diode recti-
to be tested. (Note: The standard uses the term "test fier followed by some kind of electronic voltage regulator.
levels" , which refers to the remaining voltage during the The power supply of all these low-power electronic devices
sag. ) The equipment does not need to be tested for all is similar and so is their sensitivity to voltage sags. What
these values, but one or more of the magnitudes and du- is different are the consequences of a sag-induced trip. A
rations may be chosen. The preferred magnitudes and television will show a black screen for up to a few seconds;
duration are shown in Table II . The lEe standard also a compact disc player will reset itself and start from the
allows the choice of one sag duration outside of the list of beginning of the disc, or just wait for a new command.
preferred durations. But the trip of the process-control computer of a chemical
plant leads to a complete restart of the plant taking up to
TABLE II several days, plus sometimes a very dangerous situation.
A. Estimation of Computer Voltage Tolerance
4-11 [4].

A simplified configuration of the power supply to a com-

Duration in cycles of 50 Hz
puter is shown in Fig. 2 . The capacitor connected to
magnitude 0.5 1 5 10 25 50
the non-regulated de bus reduces the voltage ripple at
the input of the voltage regulator. The voltage regulator
40% transforms a Don-regulated de voltage of a few hundred
0% volts into a regulated. dc voltage of the order of 10 V. If
the ac voltage drops, the voltage on dc side of the rec-
The standard in its current form, does not set any tifier (the Don-regulated de voltage) drops. The voltage
voltage-tolerance requirements. It only defines the way regulator is able to keep its output voltage constant over
in which the voltage tolerance of equipment shall be ob- a certain range of input voltage. If the vo~tage at the
tained. de bus becomes too low the regulated de voltage will also
The standard also does not mention any specific test- start to drop and ultimately errors willoccur in the digital
ing method. The only requirement is that the transition electronics.
from the pre-sag to the during-sag and from the during- Fig. 3 shows what happens with the de voltage during
sag to the post-sag voltage is instantaneous. An informa- a sag. When the rms voltage drops suddenly, the maxi-
tive appendix to the standard does however mention two mum ac voltage remains less than the de voltage for the
examples of test set-ups: whole cycle. Thus the capacitor continues to discharge.
This discharging goes on for a number of cycles, until
• Use a transformer with two output voltages. Make
the capacitor voltage drops below the maximum of the
one output voltage equal to 100% and the other to
ac voltage. After that a new equilibrium will be reached.
the required during-sag magnitude value. Switch
It is important to realise that the discharging of the ca-
very fast between the two outputs.
pacitor is only determined by the load connected to the
equipment voltage tolerance
upper range average lower range
PLe 20 ms, 75% 260 IDS, 60% 620 IDS, 45%
PLC input card 20 ms, 80% 40 IDS, 55% 40 IDS, 30%
5 h.p. ac drive 30 ms, 80% 50 IDS, 75% 80 IDS, 60%
ac control relay 10 ms, 75% 20 IDS, 65% 30 IDS, 60%
motor starter 20 ms, 60% 50 IDS, 50% 80 ms, 40%
personal computer 30 ms, 80% 50 ms, 60% 70 ms, 50%

de bus, not by the ac voltage. Thus all sags will eause

the same initial decay in de voltage. But the duration of
the decay is determined by the magnitude of the sag. The
deeper the sag the longer it takes before the capacitor has
J1011-regulated de VOltage
discharged enough to enable charging from the supply.
de vOltage As long as the absolute value of the ac voltage is less
1 than the dc bus voltage, all electrical energy for the load
comes from the energy stored in the capacitor. For a ca-
nOVae pacitance C. the stored energy, a time t after sag initia-
tion, is equal to !{CV(t)}2, with Vet) the de bus voltage.
voltage This energy is equal to the energy at sag initiation minus
comroller the energy taken by the load:


with Vo the dc bus voltage at sag initiation and P the

loading of the de bus. Expression (1) holds as long as
Fig. 2. Computer power supply.
the de bus voltage is higher than the absolute value of the
ac voltage, thus during the initial decay period in Fig. 3
. Solving (1) gives an expression for the voltage during
this initial decay period.

I ~ , ~ ~
v=JVl-2%t (2)
:' ,: ': ,:
0.8 :: : ~ :: : ~ The moment the de bus voltage drops below the abso-
,'.,1, "
,"1'1" lute value of the ac voltage, the normal operation mode
,'", ",
,"1'1 11
G)O.6,:::: ::: of the rectifier takes over and the de bus voltage remains
~ :::::::: 'I"". " constant, apart from the unavoidable de voltage ripple.
l5 :: :1 .: :;1 :. ,~ :: :: ': :: ::
> 0.4 :: :: :: :: ~ : ~ : ~ : ~ ~ : : I : ' :::::::;::
From (2) we ean calculate how long it takes for the de
::" ::" ::I' :::::::::,: 'f: : , :::::: :: :' ::
."1"" 'I 1,'"",1,1, " " fl " "
bus voltage to decay to its new steady-state value. But
~ ~ ~ :::: :: :' ~, :: :: .: :: :: :: ~ ~ : :: :: first we obtain an expression for the de voltage ripple e:
0.2 ~ ~ : :: :: :: :: :: :: :; :: :: :: J : : ~ ~ ~
,\ ,,
, •




t ,
•• ••
o I •• " r .' \ f , •• ••
o 2 4 6
Tme in cycles
8 10
e = 2V02C (3)

Fig. 3. Effect of a voltage sag on de bus voltage for a with T one cycle of the fundamental frequency. The de
single-phase rectifier: absolute value of the ae voltage
(dashed line) and de bus voltage (solid line).
ripple is defined as the difference between the maximum
and the minimum value of the de voltage. The discharge
period of the capacitor is assumed to be equal to one half-
Inserting the expression for the de voltage ripple (3)
in (2) gives an expression for the dc voltage during the
discharge period, thus during the initial cycles of a voltage

V(t) = VO)l - 4!f (4)

with the number of cycles elapsed since sag initiation.
The larger the de voltage ripple in normal operation, the
faster the de voltage drops during a sag .
As long as the de bus voltage remains above the mini-
mum operating voltage of the voltage regulator, the com-
puter will continue to operate normally. But when the de
bus voltage drops below this value, the computer will trip
or maloperate.
The de bus voltage at which the equipment actually
trips depends on its design: varying between 50% and
90% de voltage, sometimes with add itional time delay.
The time it takes for the voltage to reach a level V can
be found from the following expression: Fig. 4. Voltage-tolerance curve of a computer: an ex-
ample of a rectangular voltage-tolerance curve.

1- (~)2
t= 0 T (5)

When the minimum de bus voltage, is known , (5) can
be used to calculate how long it will take before tripping.
Or in other words: what ds the maximum sag duration
that the equipment can tolerate. Table III gives some
values of voltage tolerance, calculated this way.
I OO ~------ --:

min. dc bus voltage 5% de ripple 1% de ripple CW1A

0 5 cycles 25 cycles
,/ r-----------...
; Inc
. --~ ---.--~
50% 4 cycles 19 cycles : , -,'
70% 2.5 cycles 13 cycles
90% 1 cycle 5 cycles
i •

J :0
I 0
! 0

Thus, if a computer trips at 50% dc bus voltage, and 20

! :

as the normal operation de voltage ripple is 5%, a sag of I

: 0
• 0
less than 4 cycles in duration will not cause a mal-trip. 10 100 lceo
Any sag below 50% for more than 4 cycles will trip the _ loltoHzlCycln

computer. Of course a sag to a voltage above 50% can

be withstood permanently by this computer. This results
in what is called a "rectangular voltage tolerance curve", Fig. 5. Voltage-tolerance requirements for computing
shown in Fig. 4 . equipment: CBEMA curve (solid line) and "revised
CBEMA curve" (dashed line).

As mentioned before, the first modern voltage-tolerance

curve was introduced for mainframe computers [2]. This
is smoothened by means 01 a dc capacitor. The induc-
tance present in some drives aims at smoothening the de
variable link current and so reduce the harmonic distortion in the
SO Hz de link f~ueney
current taken from the supply. Here we will only consider
the effect of the capacitor.
The de voltage is inverted to an ac voltage of variable
frequency and magnitude. The motor speed is controlled
I through the magnitude and frequency of the output volt-
age of the VSC. For ac motors, the rotational speed is
mainly determined by the frequency of the stator volt-
ages. Thus by changing the frequency an easy method of
speed control is obtained..
Adjustable-speed drives are often very sensitive to volt-
age sags. Tripping of adjustable-speed drives occurs due
Fig. 6. Typical ac drive configuration. to several phenomena:
• The drive controller or protection will detect the
curve is shown as a solid line in Fig. 5 . We see that its sudden change in operating conditions and trip the
shape does not correspond with the shape of the curves drive to prevent damage to the power electronic
shown in Fig. 4. This can be understood if one re- components. Tripping of the drive is mainly on
alises that these figures give the voltage-tolerance perfor- dc bus undervoltage, sometimes on ac bus under-
mance for one piece of equipment at a time, where Fig. voltage, on de voltage ripple, or on missing pulses
5 is a voltage-tolerance requirement for a whole range through the rectifier diodes.
of equipment. The requirement for the voltage-tolerance
curves of equipment is that they should all be above the • The increased ac currents during the sag or the post-
voltage-tolerance requirement. The curve shown in Fig. 5 sag overcurrents charging the de capacitor willcause
became well-known when the Computer Business Equip- an overcurrent trip or blowing of fuses protecting
ment Manufacturers Association (CBEMA) started to use the power electronics components. This effect is
the curve as a recommendation for its members. The normally considered in the drive design, by setting
curve was subsequently taken up in an IEEE standard [6] the de bus undervoltage protection such that the
and started to become a kind of reference for equipment drive will trip before a dangerous overcurrent can
voltage tolerance as well as for severity of voltage sags. A occur.
number of software packages for analysing power quality • The process driven by the motor will not be able to
data plot the magnitude and duration of the sags recorded tolerate the drop in speed or the torque variations
during a certain period, against the CBEMA curve. The due to the sag.
CBEMA curve has become a de-facto standard against
which the voltage tolerance of equipment is compared. • During an unbalanced sag, the currents through the
The CBEMA curve also contains a voltage tolerance part rectifier diodes become unbalanced as well. Already
for overvoltages, which is not reproduced in Fig. 5 . a small unbalance in voltage can lead to a large un-
Recently a so-called "revised CBEMA curve" has been balance in current, with one current twice as large
adopted by the Information Technology Industry Council as number and another current zero. The large cur-
(ITIC) which is the successor of CBEMA. The new curve rent may lead to component damage and tripping
is therefore also referred to as the ITIC curve. The revised of the overcurrent protection.
CBEMA curve is shown as a dashed line in Fig. 5 . Most of the existing drives still trip on de bus under-
voltage. Some of the more modem drives restart imme-
diately when the voltage comes back; others restart after
Adjustable-speed drives (ASD's) are fed either through a certain delay time or only after a manual restart. The
a three-phase diode rectifier, or through a three-phase various automatic restart options are only relevant when
controlled rectifier. Generally speaking, the first type is the process tolerates a certain level of speed and torque
found in ac motor drives, the second in de drives and in variations.
large ac drives.
A. Balanced Sags
The configuration of most ac drives up is as shown
in Fig. 6. The three at voltages are fed to a three- The effect of a balanced sag on a three-phase rectifier is
phase diode rectifier. The output voltage of the rectifier that the maximum ac voltage no longer exceeds the de bus
ride through three-phase balanced sags of lOOms dura-
100 ~''''
'<~<, tion would require a very large amount of capacitance or
............... any other energy source. Adding this is not considered
feasible .
"" .....
" <,
1) Examples: Consider the example discussed in [8]: a
"" ....
drive with nominal de bus voltage Va =. 620V and de bus
"" capacitance C = 4400pF powers an ac motor taking an
active power P = 86kW. The drive trips when the de
bus voltage drops below Vmin = 560 V. The time-to-trip
,, obtained from (6) is:
20 40 60 80 _ 4400j.tF 2 _
Maximum time in ms
t - 2 x 86kW x (620V) - 9.83ms (8)
Fig. 7. Voltage tolerance of adjustable-speed drives
for different capacitor sizes. Solid line: 75 ,."F/kW; The minimum ac bus voltage for which the drive will
dashed line 165 p,F/kW; dotted line: 360 ,."F/kW. =
not trip is ~~g 90%. This drive will thus trip within 2
milliseconds when the ac bus voltage drops below 90%.
voltage. Thus the capacitor continues to discharge. This Suppose that it would be possible to reduce the setting
is the same effect as discussed earlier for the single-phase of the undervoltage protection of the de bus, to 310 V
rectifier. (50%). That would enormously reduce the number of
The adjustable-speed drive typically trips due to an spurious trips of the drive, because the number of sags
active intervention by the undervoltage protection when below 50% is only a small fraction of the number of sags
the de bus voltage reaches a certain value Vmin. As long below 90%. It would reduce the number of sags by about
as the ac voltage does not drop below this value the drive a factor of 10. But the time-to-trip for sags below 50%
will not trip. For sags below this value, (2) can be used remains very short. Filling in Vmin = 310V in (6) gives
to calculate the time it takes for the de bus voltage to t = 7.38ms. In fact, by substituting. Vmin = 0 we can see
reach the value Vmin: that the capacitance is completely empty 9.83 ms after
sag initiation, assuming that the ac voltage dropped to
zero and that the load remains of constant-power type.
_ 2P
c {2
va - Vm2}
in (6) We can conclude that no matter how good the inverter,
the drive will trip for any voltage interruption longer than
The amount of capacitance connected to the de bus 10 IDS.
of modern adjustable-speed drives is between 75 and 360 We want to make this drive tolerate sags with durations
p.F/kW [7]. Fig. 7 plots the relation between the un- up to 500 IDS. The undervoltage setting remains at 560 V
dervoltage setting for the de bus (vertical) and the time- (90% of nominal). The capacitance needed to achieve this
to-trip (horizontal scale), for three values of the ratio ~ is obtained from (7) with t m 4:1: = 500ms and Vmin =
tween de bus capacitance and motor size in (6). Even for 560V:
very low values of the setting of the de bus undervoltage, 286kW x 500ms
the drive will trip within a few cycles. C = (620V)2 _ (560V)2 =1.12F (9)
It is obvious that the amount of capacitance normally
connected to the dc bus of an adjustable-speed drive, is This is a serious amount of capacitance, and probably
not enough to offer any serious immunity against voltage Dot worth the investment.
sags. The immunity can be improved by adding more
capacitance to the de bus. To calculate the amount of B. Three-Phase Unbalanced Sags
capacitance needed for a given voltage tolerance, consider
1) Effect of Characteristic Magnitude: For a three-phase
(2) and assume V (tm cz ) Vmin, leading to = unbalanced sag of type C or type D, different phases have
different voltage drops. Some phase voltages also show a
C -- 2Ptmc:I: jump in phase angle. The behaviour of the dc bus volt-
YO2 - 2
Vm in age, and thus of the drive, is completely different from
the behavior for a balanced sag. The de bus voltage has
This expression gives the amount of de bus capacitance been calculated for three capacitor sizes:
needed to obtain a voltage tolerance of Vmin, t m 4:1: (i.e.
the drive trips when the voltage drops below Vmin for • No capacitor present
longer than tma:). As shown e.g, in [8], making a drive
-1 -1
o 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 o 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3

0.5 1.5 2 2.5 0.5 1.5 2 2.5 3

Tune in c:ydes Tme in c:ydes

Fig. 8 . Voltage during a three-phase unbalanced sag of Fig. 9. Voltage during a three-phase unbalanced sag of
type C : ac side voltage (top) and dc side voltages (bot- type D: ac side voltage (top) and dc side voltages (bot-
tom) for large capacitance (solid line), small capaci- tom) for large capacitance (solid line), small capaci-
tance (dashed line) and no capacitance (dotted line) . tance (dashed line) and no capacitance (dotted line).

• Small capacitor: initial rate of decay of the voltage For a sag of type D, all three phases drop in voltage,
is 75% per cycle. For a 620 V drive this corresponds thus there is no longer a phase that can keep up the de
to 57.8 pFJkW. bus voltage. Fortunately the drop in voltage is moderate
for two of the three phases. Even for a terminal fault
• Large capacitor: initial rate of decay of the voltage where the voltage in one phase drops to zero, the voltage
is 10% per cycle. For a 620 V drive this corresponds in the other two phases does not drop below ~v'3=86%.
to 433 pFjkW. The top curve in Fig. 9 shows how one phase drops
Note that "small capacitor" and "large capacitor" are significantly in voltage. The other two phases drop less
only slightly outside of the range of capacitor values cur- and their maxima move away from each other. In the
rently used in ac drives. The upper plot in Fig. 8 shows bottom curve of Fig. 9 the effect of this on the de bus
the voltages at the drive terminals for a sag of type C. voltage is shown. For not too small values of the de bus
Note that these are the line-to-line voltages, as the recti- capacitance, the de bus voltage reaches a value slightly
fier is connected in delta. The voltage drops in two phases, below the peak value of the voltage in the two phases with
while the sinewaves move towards each other. The third the moderate drop. Again the effect of the sag on the dc
phase does not drop in magnitude. Shown is a sag with bus voltage, and thus on the motor speed and torque, is
a characteristic magnitude of 50% and zero characteristic much less than for a balanced sag.
phase-angle jump. The voltage magnitudes at the drive Fig. 10 shows the influence of the capacitor size on
terminals are 66.1% (in two phases) and 100% (in the the minimum de bus voltage for a type C sag. The de
third phase); phase-angle jumps are -19.1°, +19.1° and bus undervoltage protection normally uses this value as
zero. a trip criterion. There is thus a direct relation between
The effect of this three-phase unbalanced sag on the de the minimum dc bus voltage and the voltage tolerance
bus voltage is shown in the lower plot of Fig. 8 . Even of the drive. It follows from the figure that the presence
for the small capacitance, the de bus voltage does not of sufficient capacitance makes that the de bus voltage
drop below 70%. For the large capacitance, the de bus never drops below a certain value, no matter how deep
voltage hardly deviates from its normal operating value. the sag at ac side is. This is obviously due to the one
In the latter case, the drive will never trip during a sag of phase of the ac voltage which stays at its normal value.
type C, no matter how low the characteristic magnitude For large capacitance, the drop in dc bus voltage is very
of the sag. As one phase remains at its pre-event value, small. The smaller the capacitance, the more the drop in
the three-phase rectifier simply operates as a single-phase de bus voltage.
rectifier during the voltage sag. The minimum de bus voltage for a sag of type D, is
The voltages on ac side and dc side of the rectifier are shown in Fig. 11 . Comparison with Fig. 10 for type C,
shown in Fig. 9 for a three-phase unbalanced sag of type reveals that for a type D sag the minimum dc bus voltage
D with characteristic magnitude 50% and no character- continues to drop with lower characteristic magnitude,
istic phase-angle jump. The magnitude of the voltages even with large capacitor size. But again an increase in
at the drive terminals is 50%, 90.14%, and 90.14%, with capacitance can significantly reduce the voltage drop at
phase-angle jumps zero, -13.9° and +13.9°. the de bus. For a drive with large capacitance, the de bus
voltage does not drop below 80%, even for the deepest
.. ,

.g0.4 ...................... ........ t :': ::.~ .-.:.~ .7.."":..:. :~·:: - - ·~ ·'":: , ~ ~..-
.§ ..: 5.0.8

00 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 .c
Olarac:teristic magnitude in po .g0.4
Fig. 10. Minimum dc bus voltage as a function of the
characteristic magnitude of three-phase unbalanced
sags of type C. Solid line: large capacitance; dashed
line: small capacitance; dotted line: no capacitance
0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8
connected to the de bus. OlaracIeristie magnitude in pu

Fig. 12. Minimum de bus voltage for three-phase un-

/... . • •• ••.~.~.~ .....
balanced sags of type C, for three capacitor sizes: large
(top); small (middle); and none (bottom) and three
values of the minimum PN-factol": 1.0 (solid line); 0.95
~ _... -_...... ...... (dashed line); 0.90 (dotted line).
~0.6 .
;; ---_... - .
.go... ....
§ .•...•.....•....
~0.2 ........................
0 ·····
o 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8
Charadetislic magnilude in po

Fig. 11. Minimum dc bus voltage as a function of the

characteristic magnitude of three-phase unbalanced
sags of type D. Solid line: large capacitance; dashed
line: small capacitance; dotted line: no capacitance.

unbalanced sag.

C. Effect of the PN-Factor

To assess the effect of the PN-factor, as introduced

before, the calculations were repeated for non-unity PN-
factor. Note that a smaller value of the PN-factor indi-
cates the presence of a serious amount of induction motor
load near the place where the sag is measured. Fig.
12 and 13 show the minimum de bus voltage for sags
of type C and type D. The results are given for three Fig. 13. Minimum dc bus voltage fOl" three-phase un-
capacitor sizes (no capacitor, small capacitor and large balanced sags of type D, fOl" three capacitor sizes (top:
large; middle: small; bottom: DOne) and three values
capacitor, like before) and for three values of the PN- of the minimum PN-factor (solid : 1.0; dashed: 0.95;
factor. It is assumed that the PN-factor gets closer to dotted: 0.90) .
one when the characteristic magnitude gets closer to one.
For the solid curves it was assumed that F = I; for the
dashed curve the minimum PN-factor was 0.95, so that
F = 0.95 + 0.05Vj the relation used for the dotted curve
is: F = 0.90 + O.10V.
From the figures it follows that a non-unity PN-factor
makes the sag more severe as far as the minimum de bus
voltage is concerned. For the no capacitor case the PN-
factor does not affect the minimum de bus voltage. Fur-
ther calculations have shown that the same holds for the
average and rms de bus voltage. The de voltage ripple
becomes less for non-unity PN-factor. It was concluded
before that by connecting a large capacitance to the de
bus, the de bus voltage could be prevented from drop- 20
ping below 80% during unbalanced sags. Considering the 10
effect of the PN-factor the dc bus voltage drops some-
200 400 600
what more, but it still does not become less than 77%. sag durationin ms
To make the electrical part of the drive tolerate all un-
Fig. 14. Voltage-tolerance curves for ac drives where
balanced sags, the dc bus undervoltage protection should the slip increase is the limiting factor.
be set at a value less than 77%. Of course the dimen-
sioning of the rest of the electronics equipment should be
electrical torque supplied to the motor, Tmech is the me-
such that no damage occurs for de bus voltages down to
chanical load torque. Assume that the motor is running
77%. Alternatively a larger capacitance may be chosen,
at steady state for a voltage of 1 pu and that the electrical
to bring the voltage back above 80%.
torque Tel is proportional to the square of the voltage.
The inertia constant H of the motor-load combination
D. Motor Deceleration is introduced as the ratio of the kinetic energy and the
mechanical output power:
1) Balanced Sags: Most ac adjustable-speed drives trip
on de bus undervoltage. After the tripping of the drive,
the induction motor will simply continue to slow down H= lJw
until its speed gets out of the range acceptable for the (11)
process. In case the electrical part of the drive is able to
tolerate the sag, the drop in system voltage will cause a The slip is defined as follows:
drop in voltage at the motor terminals. In this section
it will be considered that the electrical part of the drive
continues to operate during the sag. This is a somewhat s=---
hypothetical case for most existing drives, but may be a
useful exercise when deciding about a drive with improved From (10), (11) and (12) an expression is obtained
ridethrough. for the increase in slip due to a sag of duration at and
For balanced sags all three phase voltages drop the same magnitude V:
amount. Assume that the voltages at the motor terminals
are equal to the supply voltages (in p.u.], thus that the
ds I-V
sag at the motor terminals is exactly the same as the
sag at the rectifier terminals. The de bus capacitor will
~s = -~t
= --~t
somewhat delay the drop in voltage at the de bus and
Based on this expression, contours have been plotted in
thus at the motor terminals, but saw that this effect is
the magnitude-duration (V,at) plane connecting points
relatively small.
with the same increase in slip. These curves are voltage-
The voltage drop at the motor terminals causes a drop
tolerance curves for drives in which the slip increase is the
in torque and thus a drop in speed. This drop in speed can
limiting factor. The result in shown in Fig. 14 for an
disrupt the production process requiring an intervention
intertia constant of H = 0.96s. These curves should be
by the process control. The speed of a motor is governed
read like any other voltage-tolerance curve, i.e. the drive
by the energy balance:
will trip for any sag for which magnitude and duration
are below the curve in the magnitude-duration plane.

~ (~Jw2)
2) Unbalanced Sags: The effect of three-phase unbal-
=W(Td-Tmec:hl (10) anced sags on the motor speed has been calculated under
the assumption that the positive sequence voltage at the
where J is the mechanical moment of motor plus load, motor terminals is equal to the lIDS voltage at the de bus.
w is the motor speed (in radians per second), Tel is the The de bus rms voltages have been used to calculate the
drop in motor speed according to (13) . Voltage-tolerance
~ ....,---_. -
~ 70
./ :

& ! :

.5 60
.5 60
g' 4O ..
~ 40

' E
030 .

'" 20 "'20


200 400 600 200 400 600 800 1000

Sag dutation in ms Sag durationin ms

Fig. 15. Voltage tolerance curves for sag type C, no Fig. 17. Voltage tolerance curves for sag type C,
capacitance connected to the dc bus. maximum-pennissible slip increase: 1%, large (solid
line), small (dashed) , and no (dotted) capacitance.

--- ---------
ceo ..." ....
..~ _eo
,~ _ .
.5 60
.g s
~ .~

....... • -:
g,40 ..
.5 60

.... .. " ",./

E §.4Q H /'
o os ~:
"'20 :':.

200 400 600
sag duralicn i\ ms
eoo 1000
o 200 400 600 800 1000
Sag dUI2lion i\ ms
Fig. 16. Voltage tolerance curves for sag type C, small
capacitance connected to the dc bus. Fig. 18. Voltage tolerance curves for sag type D,
maximum-permissible slip increase: 1% and 10%,
large (solid line), small (dashed), and no (dotted) ca-
curves wereobtained like in Fig. 14 . The results for type
pacitance connected to the dc bus.
C sags are shown in Fig. 15,16 and 17 . Fig. 15 and 16
present voltage-tolerance curves for different values of the
10% increase. The improvement for the 1% load might
maximum drop in speed which the load can tolerate, for
look marginal, but one should realise that the majority
no capacitance and for a small capacitance, respectively,
of deep voltage sags has a duration around 100 ms. The
present at the de bus. Even the small capacitor clear~y
large capacitance increases the voltage tolerance from 50
improves the drive's voltage tolerance. Below a certain
to 95 ms for a 50% sag magnitude. This will give a serious
characteristic magnitude of the sag, the rms value of the
reduction in the number of equipment trips.
de bus voltage remains constant. This shows up as a ver-
3) Effect of the PN-Factor: Voltage-tolerance curves have
tical line in Fig. 16. Fig . 17 compares drives with
been determined as well for different values of the PN-
large, small and no de bus capacitance for.a l<>a:d with a
factor. For type D sags the effect turned out to be very
1% permissible increase in slip . The capacitor SIZe has a
small. Fig. 19 shows the effect of the PN-factor on the
very significant influence on the drive performance.
voltage tolerance for type C sags. The case with a large
The large improvement in drive performance with ca-
capacitor and 1% slip increase was chosen: the solid line
pacitor size, for type C sags is obviously related to the one
in Fig. 17 . Solid, dashed and dotted lines again refer
phase of the ac supply which does not drop in voltage. For
to minimum PN-factor values of 1.0, 0.95 and 0.9, re-
a large capacitance, this phase keeps up the supply vol~
spectively. The PN-factor significantly affects the voltage
age as if almost nothing happened. For type D sags, this
tolerance curve.
effect is much smaller, as even the least-affected phases
show a drop in voltage magnitude. Fig. 18 shows
E. Overview of Mitigation Methods for AC Drives
the influence of the capacitor size on the voltage toler-
ance for type D sags. The three curves on the left are • Automatic Restart The most-commonly used mit-
for an increase in slip of 1%, the ones on the right for a igation method is to enable the operation of the in-
......-;.;,... ..__... fier consisting of thyristors, like used in de drives,
gives some control of the de bus voltage. When
_ 80
c: the ac bus voltage drops, the firing angle of the
thyristors can be decreased to maintain the de bus
voltage. For unbalanced sags different firing-angles
~ 40
. are needed for the three phases which could make
the control rather complicated. The disadvantage is

that the control system takes a few cycles to react,
and the firing-angle control makes the drive sensi-
tive to phase-angle jumps.
200 400 600 800 1000 Another option is to usesome additional powerelec-
Sag dura1ion in IllS
tronics to draw additional current from the supply
Fig. 19. Voltage tolerance curve for sag type C, large during the sag. A kind of power electronic current
capacitance, 1% slip increase, three values of the min- source is installed between the diode rectifier and
imum PN-factor: 1.0 (solid line); 0.95 (dashed line); the de bus capacitor. This current can be controlled
0.90 (dotted line).
in such a way that it keepsthe voltage at the de bus
constant during a voltage sag [11, 12].
verter, so that the motor no longer loads the drive.
This prevents damage due to overeurrents, overvolt- By using an IGBT front-end, complete control of
ages and torque oscillations. After the voltage re- the dc voltage is possible. Algorithms have been
covers the drive is automatically restart. The dis- proposed to keep the dc voltage constant for any
advantage of this method is that the motor load unbalance, drop, or change in phase-angle in the
slows down more than needed. When synchronous ac voltages [13, 14, 15]. An additional advantage
restart is used the drop in speed can be somewhat is that these IGBT inverters enable a sinusoidal in-
limited, but non-synchronous restart leads to very put current, solving a lot of the harmonic problems
large drops in speed or even stand-still of the motor. caused by adjustable-speed drive.
An important requirement for this type of drives The main limitation of all these methods is that
is that the controller remain on-line. Powering of they have a minimum operating voltage and will
the controllers during the sag can be from the de certainly not operate for an interruption.
capacitor or from separate capacitors or batteries.
Alternatively, one can use the kinetical energy of • Improving the Inverter Instead of controlling the
the mechanical load to power the de bus capacitor de bus voltage, it is also possible to control the mo-
during a sag or interruption [9, 10, 11]. tor terminal voltage. Normally the speed controller
assumes a constant de bus voltage and calculates the
• Installing Additional Energy Storage The volt- switching instants of the inverter from this. Wesaw
age tolerance problem of drives is ultimately an en- earlier that the effect of this is that the de bus volt-
ergy problem. In many applications the motor will age is amplitude modulated on the desired motor
slowdown too much to maintain the process. This terminal voltages. This effect can be compensated
can be solved by adding additional capacitors or a by considering the de bus voltage in the algorithms
battery block to the dc bus. Also the installation of used to calculate the switching instants.
a motor generator set feeding into the dc bus will
give the required energy. A large amount of stored V. OTHER SENSITIVE LOAD
energy is needed to ensure tolerance against three-
phase sags and short interruptions. For sags due to A. Adjustable-Speed DC Drives
single-phase and phase-to-phase faults, which are
the most common ones, only a limited amount of DC drives have traditionally been much better suited
stored energy is needed as at least one phase of the for adjustable-speed operation than ac drives. The speed
supply voltage remains at a high value. of ac motors is, in first approximation, proportional to the
frequency of the voltage. The speed of de motors is pro-
• Improving the Rectifier The use of a diode rec- portional to the magnitude of the voltage. Magnitude has
tifier is cheap but makes control of the de bus volt- been much easier to vary than frequency. Even for mod-
age impossible. The moment the ac voltage maxi- em drives, de motors are used when very precise speed or
mum drops below the de bus voltage, the rectifier position control is needed.
stops supplying energy and it 's up to the capaci-
tor to power the motor. Using a controlled recti-
Modem de drives consist of a three-phase controlled withstand the speed drop due to a sag. As deep
rectifier powering the armature winding, and the single- sags are rare it can take a long time before such a
phase controlled or non-controlled rectifier for the field problem is discovered.
winding. The armature circuit seldom contains any ca-
pacitance, as the inductance of the armature is high enough • When the voltage recovers, the motor takes a high
to keep the current constant. The field circuit is more inrush current: first to build up the airgap field
resistive and thus needs some capacitance to prevent ex- (the electrical inrush), next to reaccelerate the mo-
cessive current and torque ripples. tor (the mechanical inrush). This inrush can cause a
The most sensitive part of the de drive is the three- post-fault sag with a duration of one second or more,
phase controlled rectifier. Most sags are unbalanced and and lead to tripping of undervoltage and overcur-
thus associated with a phase-angle jump in at least one rent relays. Again this problem is more severe for a
of the phases. The firing-angle control of the rectifier will weak supply, and can thus become a problem when
be affected by this, and might even notice it as a missing the amount of motor load increases.
pulse. The most likely reaction of the rectifier is to simply • For unbalanced sags the motor is subjected to a pos-
trip the drive. itive sequence as well as to a negative sequence volt-
If the rectifier does not trip, the drop in armature volt- age at the terminals. The negative sequence volt-
age will cause a fast drop in armature current and thus in age causes a torque ripple and a large negative se-
torque. Even a small drop in armature voltage can bring quence current. The phase currents are however still
the torque down to zero, leading to a reduction in speed. smaller than the starting currents, thus should not
As de drives are often used for speed-sensitive processes, lead to process interruption.
this will in most cases not be tolerated.
During three-phase unbalanced sags, the drop in arma- • Many induction motors are protected by contactors.
ture voltage will differ from the drop in field voltage. This These tend to drop out when the voltage drops be-
can lead to strange drive behaviour, including overspeed. low 50% for more than one or two cycles. If no
Regenerative drives suffer commutation failures when a automatic reclosing is used, the motor load will be
sag occurs during regeneration. lost. Most reported induction motor trips are ac-
tually due to tripping of the contactor. Using de
B. Directly Fed Induction Motors contactors will solve this problem.

A directly-fed induction motor is normally rather in- C.. Directly Fed Synchronous Motors
sensitive to voltage sags, but there are a few phenomena
that could lead to process interruption due to a sag. A synchronous motor has similar problems with voltage
sags as an induction motor: overcurrents, torque oscilla-
• Deep sags lead to severe torque oscillations at sag tions and drop in speed. But a synchronous motor can
commencement and when the voltage recovers. These actually loose synchronism with the supply. An induc-
could lead to damage to the motor or to process in- tion motor is very likely able to reaccelerate again after
terruptions. The recovery torque gets more severe the fault: it might take too long for the process, the cur-
when the internal flux is out of phase with the sup- rent might be too high for the motor (or its protection), or
ply voltage, thus when the sag is associated with a the supply might be too weak, but at least it is in theory
phase-angle jump. possible. When a synchronous motor loses synchronism it
has to be stopped and the load has to be removed before
• At ~ commencement the magnetic field will be
it can be brought back to nominal speed again.
driven out of the airgap. The associated transient
causes an additional drop in speed for deep sags.
D. Lighting
During this period the motor contributes to the
short-circuit current and somewhat mitigates the Most lamps just flicker when a voltage sags occur. Some-
fault. body using the lamp will probably notice it, but it will
not be considered as something serious. It is different
• When the voltage recovers, the airgap field has to
be build up again. In weaker systems this can last when the lamp completely extinguishes and takes sev-
up to 100 IDS, during which the motor continues to eral minutes to recover. In industrial environments, in
slow down. This could become a problem in sys- places where a large number of people are gathered, or
tems where the motor load has grown over the years. with street lighting, this can lead to dangerous situations.
Where in the past a voltage sag would not be a
problem, now"suddenly" the process can no longer
VI. REFERENCES [14] E.P. Wiechmann, J.R. Espinoza, J.L. Rodriguez, Com-
pensated carrier PWM synchronization: A novel method
[1] Cigre Working Group 34.01, Reliable fault clearance and to achieve self-regulation and AC unbalance compensa-
back-up protection, Final report August 1997. tion in AC fed converters, IEEE Transactions on Power
Electronics, vo1.7, no.2, April 1992, pp.342-348.
[2] T .S.Key, Diagnosing power-quality related computer
problems, IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, [15] P. Rioual, H. Pouliquen, J.-P. Louis, Regulation of a
Vol.15 (1979), p.381-393. PWM rectifier in the unbalanced network state using
a generalized model, IEEE Transactions on Power Elec-
[3] IEEE Recommended Practice for evaluating electric
tronics, vol.11, no.3, May 1996. pp.495-502.
power system compatibility with electronic process equip-
ment, IEEE Std 1346-1998.

[4] Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), Part 4. Testing

and measurement techniques, Section 11. Voltage dips,
short interruptions and voltage variations immunity tests.
IEC Std.610OQ-4..11, lEe standards can be obtained from
rsc, P.O. Box 131, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
[5] E.R. Collins, RL. Morgan, A three-phase sag generator
for testing industrial equipment, IEEE Transactions on
Power Delivery, vol.Ll, no.I, January 1996, pp.526-532.

[6] IEEE Recommended. practice for emergency and standby

power systems for industrial and commercial applications
(IEEE Orange Book), IEEE Std.446-1995.
[7] E. Camm, Preventing nuisance tripping during overvolt-
ages caused by capacitor switching, in: P.Pilay (editor)
" Motor drive f power systems interactions", IEEE indus-
try Applications Society Tutorial Course, October 1997.

[8] R.A. Epperley, F.L. Hoadley, R.W. Piefer, Consider-

atioDS when applying ASD's in continuous processes,
IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol.33,
no.2, MarCh/April 1997, pp.389-396.

[9] J. Holtz, W. Lotzhat, Controlled AC drives with

ride-through capacity at power interruption, IEEE-
Transactions on Industry Applications, vol.30, no.5;
September/October 1994; p.1275-1283.

[10] C. Pumar, J. Amantegui, J.R. Torrealday, C. Ugarte, A

comparison between DC and AC drives as regards their
behaviour in the presence of voltage dips: new techniques
for reducing the susceptibility of AC drives, Int Conf on
Electricity Distribution (CIRED), 2-5 June 1997, Birm-
ingham, UK, p.9/I-5. Institution of Electrical Engineers,
London, UK,1997.

[11] K.Benson, J.R.Chapman, Boost converters provide

power dip ride-through for ac drives, Power Quality As-
surance Magazine, July I August 1997.
[12] PQTN Brief No.34, Performance of an ASD ride-through
device during voltage sags, EPRI Peac, Knoxville, TN,
May 1996.

[13] L. Moran, P.D. Ziogas, G. Joos, Design aspects of syn-

chronous PWM rectifier-inverter systems under unbal-
ances input voltage conditions, IEEE Transactions on
Industry Applications, vol.28, no.6, November/December
1992, pp.1286-1293.
3. Stochastic Assessment of Voltage Sags

Math H J Bollen, Senior Member, IEEE

Department of Electric Power Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden



Stochastic assessment of voltage sags is needed to find I

out whether a piece of equipment is compatible with the >-

supply. A study of the worst-case scenario is not feasi- &100

ble as the worst case voltage disturbance is a very-long :80
interruption. In some cases, a kind of "likely-worst-case- "0 I

scenario" is chosen, e.g. a fault close to the equipment ~ 60 '\

E "- I

terminals, cleared by the primary protection, not leading :! 40 "

to an interruption. But that will not give any informa- ......
20 I

tion about the likelihood of an equipment trip. To obtain ---- --~------------------

information like that, a "stochastic compatibilityassess- ~o 20 30 40 so 60 70 80 90
Severity of the sag
ment" is required. Such a study typically consists of three
steps: Fig. 1. Comparison of two supply alternatives (solid
curve: supply I, dashed curve: supply n) and two
1. Obtain system performance. Information must equipment tolerances (solid vertical line: device A,
be obtained on the expected number of voltage sags dashed line: device B).
with different characteristics for the supply point.
There are various ways to obtain this information: tolerances. The two supply alternatives are indicated in
contacting the utility, monitoring the supply for sev- Fig. 1 through the expected number of sags as a function
eral months or years, or doing a stochastic pre- of the sag severity: supply I is indicated through a solid
diction study. Both voltage sag monitoring and line; supply II through a dashed line. We further assume
stochastic prediction will de discussed in detail in the following costs to be associated with the two supply
this chapter. alternatives and the two devices (in arbitrary units):

2. Obtain equipment voltage tolerance. Informa- supply I 200 units

tion has to be obtained on the behaviour of the piece supply II 500 units
of equipment for various voltage sags. This informa- device A 100 units
tion can be obtained from the equipment manufac- device B 200 units
turer, by doing equipment tests, or simply by taking
We also assume that the costs of an equipment trip are
typical values for the voltage tolerance.
10 units.
3. Determine expected impact. IT the two types From Fig. 1, one can read the number of spurious
of information are available in an appropriate for- trips per year, for each of the four design options, at the
mat, it is possible to estimate how often the piece intersection between the supply curve and the device (ver-
of equipment is expected to trip per year, and what tical) line. For device A and supply I we find 72.6 spurious
the (e.g. financial) impact of that will be. Based equipment trips per year, etc. The results are shown in
on the outcome of this study one can decide to opt Table I .
for a better supply, for better equipment or to be Knowing the number of trips per year, the annual costs
satisfied with the situation. of each of the four design options, and the costs per spu-
rious trip, it is easy to calculate the total annual costs.
An example of a stochastic compatibility assessment For the combination of device A and supply I these costs
will be given, based. on Fig. 1. The aim of the study are:
of to compare two supply alternatives and two equipment 72.6 x 10 + 100+ 200 1026 =

supply I supply II
device A 72.6 29.1
device B 14.6 7.9

The results for the four design options are shown in

Table II . From this table it follows that the combination
of supply I and device B has the lowest annual costs.

supply I supply II
device A 1026 891
device B 546 779

In practical cases, two additional problems have to be Fig. 3. Two-dimensional bar-ehart of the sag density
solved before the actual comparison can be made. At function for the data shown in Tablem.
first one needs to obtain the data, both about the supply
performance and about the equipment voltage tolerance . This is done in Table III for data obtained from a large
Methods for obtaining the equipment voltage tolerance power quality survey [1]. Each element in the table gives
have been discussed in part 2 of this tutorial. Meth- the number of events with magnitude and duration within
ods for obtaining the system performance are discussed a certain range; e.g. magnitude between 40 and 50% and
further on in this part. For obtaining the data, a cus- duration between 400 and 600 IDS. Each element gives
tomer often needs co-operation from the utility and from the density of sags in that magnitude and duration range,
the equipment manufacturer. The second problem which hence the terms "sag density table" and "sag density func-
has to be solved, is the presentation of the data. System tion" .
performance and equipment immunity are normally not The sag density function is typically presented as a bar-
one-dimensional, as suggested in the above example. We chart. This is done in Fig. 3 for the data shown in Table
already saw that for voltage sags both magnitude and du- III . The length of each bar is now proportional to the
ration playa role, and possibly also unbalance and phase- number of sags in the corresponding range. The bar chart
angle jump. The data has to be presented in such a way is easier to get an impression of the distribution of the sag
that a compatibility study can be made. Some sugges- characteristics, but it is less useful to get numerical values.
tions for this are given in the next section. In this case we see from Fig. 3 that the .m ajority of sags
has a magnitude above 80% and a duration less than 200
II. PRESENTATION OF RESULTS: VOLTAGE SAG ms. There is also a concentration of short interruptions
Co-ORDINATION CHART with durations of 800 ms and over.

A. The SaJtter Diagram C. The Cumulative Table

When the supply is monitored for a certain period of Of interest to the customer is not so much the number
time, a number of sags will occur. Each sag can be char- of sags in a given magnitude and duration range, but the
acterised with its own magnitude and duration and be number of times that a certain piece of equipment will
plotted as a point in the magnitude duration plane . An trip due to a sag. It therefore makes sense to show the
example of a resulting scatter diagram is shown in Fig. 2 . number of sags worse than a given magnitude and dura-
The scatter diagram is obtained from one year of monitor- tion. For this a so-called "cumulative sag table" can be
ing at an industrial site. For a large power quality survey,to be calculated.
the scatter diagrams of all the sites can be merged. The cumulative table obtained from the density table
in Table m is shown in Table IV . The table shows e.g.
B. The Sag Density Table that the RMS voltage drops below 60% for longer than
A straightforward way of quantifying the number of 200 ms, on average 4.5 times per year . If the equipment
sags is through a table with magnitude and duration ranges. can only tolerate a sag below 60% for 200 ms it will thus
0.9 . .•
: . • .

0.7 .
t'l:l 0,"




0 10 1S 20 2S 30 3S 40 4S
lkrBtion in cyc:l~

Fig. 2: Scatter d iagram obtained by one year of monitoring at an indust rial site.

magnitude 0-200ms 200-400ms 40o-600ms 60o-S00ms >soOms
S0-90% IS.0 2.S 1.2 0.5 2.1
70-80% 7.7 0.7 0.4 0.2 0.5
60-70% 3.9 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.2
50-60% 2.3 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.1
40-50% 1.4 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1
3G-40% 1.0 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.1
20-30% 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0
10-20% 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.1
0-10% 1.0 0.3 0.1 0.0 2.1
~ IO ags p<r"f'C'" 90li
r:-1-'J . ,,/
----r- llOIi
~/ J ./ 7Oli g'
/ d--s sagsp<r"f'C'"
- '"3
f 5OIO,g
) :>

'/ e

~ 0.25 0.45 0.65 "'"


Fig. 5. Contour chart of the cumulative sag function,

based on Table IV .

~ 'f./j
---- ~

Fig . 4. Bar chart of the cumulative voltage sag table

shown in Table IV .

trip on average 4.5 times per year. From such a table the •
number of equipment trips per year can be obtained very
... -
o.4s 0.50$ ....


Fig . 6. Voltage chart co-ordination chart, reproduced
from Fig. 5 • with two equipment voltage tolerance
magnitude 0 200ms 400IDS 600ms 800ms curves.
90% 49.9 13.9 8.4 6.1 5.2
80% 25.4 7.4 4.7 3.6 3.1 chart the contour chart of the supply is combined with the
70% 15.8 5.5 3.6 2.9 2.6 equipment voltage tolerance curve to estimate the number
60% 10.9 4.5 3.1 2.6 2.4 of times the equipment will trip. Fig. 5 has been repro-
50% 8.0 3.8 2.9 2.5 2.3 duced in Fig. 6 . Drawn in the chart are two equipment
40% 6.2 3.4 2.7 2.3 2.3 voltage-tolerance curves. Both curves are rectangular; i.e.
30% 4.9 3.1 2.6 2.3 2.2 the equipment trips when the voltage drops below a cer-
20% 4.2 2.8 2.4 2.2 2.2 tain voltage for longer than a given duration. Device A
10% 3.5 2.5 2.2 2.1 2.1 trips when the voltage drops below 65% of nominal for
longer than 200 ms, According to the definition given
before, the number of voltage sags below 65% for longer
D. The Voltage Sag Co-ordination Chart than 200 IDS, is equal to the element of the cumulative
table for 65%, 200 IDS. These values are the underlying
Table IV is shown as a bar-chart in Fig. 4 . The values function of the contour chart in Fig. 5 and 6 . In short:
in the cumulative table belong to a continuous monotone the number of spurious trips is equal to the function value
function: the value increases towards the left-rear comer at the knee of the voltage tolerance curve, indicated as a
in Fig. 4. The values shown in Table IV can thus circle in Fig. 6 . For device A this point is located exactly
be seen as a two-dimensional function of number of sags on the 5 sags per year contour. Thus device A will trip 5
versus magnitude and duration. A common way of pre- times per year. For device B, the knee is located between
senting a two-dimensional function is through a contour the 15 and 20 sags per year contours. Now we use the
chart. This was done by Conrad for the two-dimensional knowledge that the underlying function is continuous and
cumulative sag function, resulting in Fig. 5 [1]. monotone. The number of trips will thus be between 15
The contour chart is recommended as a "voltage sag and 20 per year; using interpolation gives an estimated
co-ordination chart" in IEEE Standard 493 [1, 2] and in value of 16 trips per year.
IEEE Standard 1346 [3]. In a voltage sag co-ordination
number of samples of raw data: time domain as well as
RMS values . This could result in an enormous amount of
data, but in the end only magnitude and duration of in-
dividual events are used for quantifying the performance
of the supply.

··..... Two types of power quality monitoring need to be dis-


"",gnitude tinguis
. e :
rang e
o· • monitoring the supply at a (large) number of po-
sitions at the same time, aimed at estimating an
z• "average power quality" : a so-called power quality
z survey.
~~~~~ • monitoring the supply at one site, aimed at estimat-
$<19duration ing the power quality at that specific site.

Both will be discussed in more detail below.

A . Large Power Quality Surveys

Fig. 7. Voltage sag co-ordination chart, reproduced Large power quality surveys have been performed in
from Fig. 5 , with non-rectangular equipment voltage several countries. Typically several tens up to a few hun-
tolerance curve.
dred monitors are connected at one or two voltage levels
spread over a whole country or the service territory of
For a non-rectangular equipment voltage tolerance curve,
a utility. The chosen sites have to be representative for
as shown in Fig. 7 the procedure becomes somewhat
the whole country or system. Choosing the sites is often
more complicated. Consider this device as consisting of
more lead by accessibility of the site and willingness to
two components, each with a rectangular voltage toler-
ance curve. co-operate of local utilities, than by other considerations.
But even without that it would be difficult to make a truly
• Component A trips when the voltage drops below random choice of sites. Sites come in different types, but
50% for longer than 100 ms, according to the con- it is hard to decide which sites are different from a sag
tour chart this happens 6 times per year. viewpoint without first doing the survey. A further anal-
ysis of data from this generation of surveys will teach us
• Component B trips when the voltage drops below more about the differences between sites . This knowledge
85% for longer than 200 ms, which happens 12 times can be used for choosing sites in future surveys.
per year .
B. Magnitude Versus Duration: EFI Survey
Adding these two numbers (6+12=18) would count dou-
ble those voltage sags for which both components trip. The Norwegian Electric Power Research Institute (EFI,
Both components trip when the voltage drops below 50% recently renamed" SINTEF Energy Research") has mea-
for longer than 200 ms; about 4 times per year. This cor- sured voltage sags and other voltage disturbances at over
responds to point C in the cliart. The number of equip- 400 sites in Norway. The majority (379) of the sites were
ment trips is thus equal to: at low-voltage (230 and 4OOV) , 39 of them were at dis-
tribution voltages and the rest at various voltage levels
FA + FB - Fe = 6 + 12 - 4 = 14 (1)
Note that making the equipment voltage tolerance curve The sag density functions, as obtained by the EFI sur-
rectangular (100 ms, 85%) would have resulted in the in- vey, are presented in Fig. 8 .
correct value of 20 trips per year. Fig. 9 give the 95% percentile of the sag distribution
over the various sites. A stochastic distribution function
III. POWER QUALITY MONITORING was created for the total number of sags measured at one
single site. The 95% percentile of this distribution was
A common way of obtaining an estimate of the perfor- chosen as a reference site. The number of sags at this site
mance of the supply is by recording the disturbance events is thus exceeded by only 5% of the sites .
by using a so-called power quality monitor. For each event Note that other surveys give similar results as the Nor-
the monitor records a magnitude and a duration plus pos- wegian survey. Other surveys are described in, among
sibly a few other characteristics and often also a certain others, [5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10].
c. Variation in Time

A large fraction of the voltage sags is due to lightning

strokes to overhead lines. Two phenomena play a role
here. First there are the short-circuit faults due to the
lightning stroke, which cause voltage sags. But not all
lightning strokes lead to short circuits . The first effect of
the stroke is a large overvoltage on the line. If this volt-
age exceeds the insulation withstand it results in a short
circuit , otherwise the voltage peak will start to propa-
gate through the system. If the maximum voltage is high
enough it will trigger an overvoltage protection, like a
spark gap of a ZnO varistor. These eliminate the over-
voltage by creating a temporary short circuit, which in
its turn causes a sag of one or two cycles. A conclusion
from one of the first power quality surveys [10] was that
the number of voltage transients did not increase in areas
with more lightning, instead the number of voltage sags
For a few sites in the EPRI-survey, the sag frequency
was compared with the lightning flash density [9]. This
comparison showed that the correlation between sags and
Fig. 8. Sag density for EFI low-voltage networks.
lightning was much stronger than expected. Plotting the
sag frequency against the flash density (number of light-
ningflashes per km2 per year) for 5 sites resulted in almost
a straight line. This justifies the conclusion that lightning
is the main cause of voltage sags in distribution systems.
As sags are correlated with lightning and lightning ac-
tivity varies with time, we expect the number of sags to
vary with time. This is shown in Fig. 10 for the NPL sur-
vey [11]. The sag frequency is at its maximum in summer,
when also the lightning activity is highest. This effect has
been confirmed in other countries. Also the distribution
of sags through the days follows the lightning activity,
, with its peak in the evening.

D. Individual Sites
Monitoring is not only used for large power quality sur-
veys, it is also used for assessing the power quality of
individual sites . For harmonics and voltage transients,
reliable results can be obtained in a relatively short pe-
riod of time. Voltage sags and interruptions of interest
for compatibility assessment have occurrence frequencies
,- - - - - of once a month or less. Much longer monitoring periods
are needed for those events.
To estimate how long the monitoring period needs to
be, we assume that the time-between-events is exponen-
tially distributed. This means that the probability of ob-
serving an event, in let's say the next minute, is indepen-
Fig. 9. Sag density for 95% percentile of EFI low- dent of the time elapsed since the last event. Thus events
voltage networks.
occur completely independent from each other. Under
that condition the number of events captured within a
certain period is a stochastic variable with a so-called
Poisson distribution.
• !
• i

C 1%
~ I
C 10 I-- - I--

. I-- ~ I--
E i
... ....- ....-
~ I-- i- ~ I--

I-- - i-- i-- - I-- t-- I-- I-- i- t--

f-- - - - - ~
I-- - ~ - - f-!
- - - -
~ ~ ~ -
~ ~.
- ~
- - ~ ~
Monlh 01 tM yell<

Fig . 10: Variation of voltage sag frequency through the year, data obtained from Dorr [11].

Let p. be the expected number of events per year, then

the observed number of events K, over a monitoring pe- 4
riod of n years is a discrete stochastic variable with the n >- 2 (5)
following distribution:
Table V gives the minimum monitoring period for var-
ious event frequencies and accuracies. Note that sag fre-
Pr(K = k) = e-n/J (np.)k (2) quencies are ultimately used to predict equipment trip
k! frequencies. It now shows that site monitoring can only
give accurate results for very sensitive equipment (high
This Poisson distribution has an expected value np. and
frequency of tripping events) . When equipment becomes
a standard deviation..;np.. The result of monitoring is
more compatible with the supply (and thus trips less of-
an estimate of the expected number of events per year,
ten) site monitoring can no longer be used to predict the
obtained as follows:
number of trips.
One should not get the impression from this discussion
p.e.t =-Kn (3) that site surveys are useless. A reasonable monitoring pe-
This estimate has an expected value p. (it is thus a riod, one or two years, can still give an impression about
true estimate) and a standard deviation ~. For a large the quality of supply at that site. For decision making
enough value of np. [i ,e, for a sufficient number of ob- in stochastic processes, a small error is often not needed.
served events) the Poisson distribution can be approxi- As long as one realises that there can be a serious error
mated by a normal distribution with expected value p. in the results, there is nothing wrong with using site sur-
ana standard deviation ~. For a normal distribution veys. But a site survey should not be used to quickly draw
with expected value p. andnstandard deviation a the so- conclusions about events happening only once or twice a
called 95% confidence interval is between p. - 1.960- and year.
p. + 1.96u , with a the standard deviation. The relative The above reasoning assumes a stationary system with
error in the estimate of p. after n samples is thus: exponentially distributed times between events, thus where
events appear completely at random. For a stationary
system it is possible to obtain the event frequency with
1.96u 1.96 2 any required accuracy by applying a long-enough moni-
-p.- = ..;np. ';::f, ..fN (4)
toring period. In the actual situation there are two more
with N = np. the expected number of events in n years, effects which make that monitoring results have a limited
i.e. in the whole observation period. To limit the rela- predictive value:
tive error to e the monitoring period n should fulfill the • A large fraction of voltage sags is due to bad weather:
following inequality: lightning, heavy wind, snow. The sag frequency is
event frequency 50% accuracy 10% accuracy 2% accuracy
1 per day 2 weeks 1 year 25 years
1 per week 4 months 7 years 200 years
1 per month 1 year 30 years 800 years
1 per year 16 years 400 years 10,000 years

therefore not at all constant but follows the annual • By using the electric circuit model of the power sys-
weather patterns. But the amount of weather activ- tem, the sag characteristics are calculated for each
ity also varies significantly from year to year. Due fault position. Any power system model, and any
to the relation between voltage sags and adverse calculation method can be used. The choice will
weather, the sags come in clusters. To get a certain depend on the availability of tools' and on the char-
accuracy in the estimate, one needs to observe more acteristics which need to be calculated.
than a minimum number of clusters. It is obvious
that this will increase the required monitoring pe- • The results from the two previous steps (sag charac-
riod. To get a long-term average a long monitoring teristics and frequency of occurrence) are combined
period is needed. to obtain stochastical information about the number
of sags with characteristics within certain ranges.
• Power systems themselves are not static but change
from year to year. This especially holds for distri- Below we will first give an example of the processing
bution networks. The number of feeders connected needed, followed by a discussion about the choice of the
to a substation can change; or another protective fault positions.
relay can be used. Also component failure rates
can change, e.g. due to ageing; increased loading of B. Hypothetical Example
components; different maintenance policies; or be-
Consider, as an example, a 100 Ian line as shown in Fig.
cause the amount of squirrels in the area suddenly
11 . Short circuits in this part of the system are repre-
sented through 8 fault positions. The choice of the fault
Despite these disadvantages, site monitoring can be positions depends on the sag characteristics which are of
very helpful in finding and solving power quality prob- interest. In this example we consider magnitude and du-
lems, as some things are simply very hard to predict. In ration. Fault position 1 (representing busbar faults in
addition, stochastic assessment requires a certain level of the local substation) and fault position 2 (faults close to
understanding of voltage disturbances and their origIn. the local substation) will result in the same sag magni-
This understanding can only be achieved through moni- tude. But the fault-clearing time is different in this case,
toring. therefore two fault positions have been chosen. The fault
positions along the line (2, 3, 4 and 5) have similar fault-
IV. THE METHOD OF FAULT POSITIONS clearing time but different sag magnitude. Fault positions
6, 7 and 8 result in the same sag magnitude but different
A. Outline of the Method duration.
For each fault position a frequency, a magnitude and a
The method of fault positions proceeds, schematically,
duration are determined, as shown in Table VI . Failure
as follows:
rates of 8 faults per 100 Ian of line per year and 10 faults
• Determine the area of the system in which short per 100 substations per year, have been used. It should
circuits will be considered. be realised here that not all fault positions along the line
represent an equal fraction of the line; e.g. position 5
• Split this area into small parts. Short circuits within
represents 25km (between 5/8th and 7/8th of the line)
one part should lead to voltage sags with similar
but position 6 only 12.51an (between 7/8th and 1).
characteristics. Each small part is represented by
The resulting sags (1 through 8 in Table VI ) are
one fault position in an electric circuit model of the
placed, either in bins or immediately in a cumulative form.
power system.
Table vn shows how the various sags fit in the bins. Fill-
• For each fault position, the short-circuit frequency ing in the frequencies (failure rates) leads to Table VIn
is determined. The short-circuit frequency is the and its cumulative equivalent shown in Table IX . Alter-
number of short-circuit faults per year in the small natively it is possible to update the cumulative table after
part of the system represented by a fault position. each fault position. Please note that this is a completely
fault position frequency magnitude duration
1 busbar fault in local substation O.l/yr 0% 180 ms
2 fault on a line close to local substation 4/yr 0% 80 ms
3 fault at 25% of the line 2/yr 32% 90 ms
4 fault at 50% of the line 2/yr 49% 105 ms
5 fault at 75% of the line 2/yr 57% 110 IDS
6 fault at 100% of local line l/yr 64% 250ms
7 fault at 0% of remote line 2/yr 64% 90 InS
8 busbar fault in remote substation O.l/yr 64% 180 ms

fictitious example. No calculation at all has been used to

obtain the magnitude and durations in Table VI .


0-100 IDS 100-200 ms 200-300 IDS

60-80% 2.0 0.1 1.0
40-60% 4.0
20-40% 2.0
0-20% 4.0 0.1


Oms 100 IDS 200ms

Fig. 11. Part of power system with fault positions. 80% 13.2 5.2 1.0
60% 10.1 4.1 0.0
40% 6.1 0.1 0.0
20% 4.1 0.1 0.0

c. Choosing the Fault Positions

The first step in applying the method of fault positions

is the choice of the actual fault positions. It will be 01>-
vious that to obtain more accurate results, more fault
TABLE VII positions are needed. But a random choice of new fault
FAULT POSITIONS SORTED FOR MAGNITUDE AND DURA- positions will probably not increase the accuracy, only
increase the computational effort.
0-100 IDS 100-200 InS 200-300 ms Three decisions have to be made when choosing fault
60-80% 7 8 6 positions:
40-60% 4 and 5 1. In which part of the power system do faults
20-40% 3 need to be applied?
0-20% 2 1 Only applying faults to one feeder is certainly not
enough; applying faults to all feeders in the whole
country is certainly too much. Some kind of com-
promise is needed. This question needs to be" ad-
dressed for each voltage level.
2. Which distance between fault positions is neededicc. An expression for the critical distance can easily be
? obtained from (7), resulting in:
Do we only need fault positions in the substations,
or also each kilometre along the lines ? Again this
Zs V
question needs to be addressed for each voltage level. =-
x --
1- V
3. Which events need to be considered?
Here it is assumed that both.source and feeder impedance
For each fault position, different events can be con-
are purely reactive (a rather common assumption in power
sidered. One can decide to only study three-phase
system analysis), or more precise: that the angle in the
faults, only single-phase faults, or all types of faults.
complex plane between these two impedances is zero.
One can consider different fault impedances, differ-
Equation (8) can be used to estimate the exposed
ent fault-clearing times or different scheduling of
area at every voltage level in the supply to a sensitive
generators, each with its own frequency of occur..
load. The exposed area contains all fault positions that
renee and resulting sag characteristics.
lead to a voltage sag causing a spurious equipment trip.
The main criterion in choosing fault positions is: a The expected number of spurious trips is found by sim-
fault position should represent short-circuit faults leading ply adding the failure rates of all equipment within the
to sags with similar characteristics. This criterion has exposed area.
been applied in choosing the fault positions in Fig. 11 Transformer impedances are a large part of the source
and Table VI . impedance at any point in the system. Therefore, faults
on the secondary side do not cause a deep sag on the pri-
V. THE METHOD OF CRITICAL DISTANCES mary side. To estimate the number of sags below a certain
magnitude it is sufficient to add all lengths of lines and
The method of critical distances does not calculate the cables within the critical distance from the pee. The re-
voltage at a given fault position, but the fault position sulting exposed length has to be multiplied by the failure
for a given voltage. By using some simple expressions, rate per unit length. The total length of lines and cables
it is possible to find out where in the network a fault within the exposed area, is called the "exposed length" .
would lead to a voltage sag down to a given value. Each
fault closer to the load will cause a deeper sag. Thus B. Example - Three Phase Faults
the number of sags below the given value is simply the
number of short-circuit faults closer to the load than the Consider the 11kV network in Fig. 12. The fault
indicated positions. level at the main 11kV bus is 151 MVA (source impedance
O.663pu at a lOOMVA base), the feeder impedance is
A. Basic Theory 0.336 !l/km (O.278pu/km at the lOOMVA base).
The critical distance for different critical voltages, cal-
The method of critical distances is based on the voltage culated from (8), is given in Table X . The next-to-last
divider model, as was shown in before. Neglecting load column (labelled "exposed length") gives the total feeder
currents and assuming the pre-event voltage to be one, length within the exposed area (the "exposed length").
we get for the voltage at the pee during the fault: Fig. 12 gives the contours of the exposed area for vari-
ous critical voltages. Each fault between the main 11 kV
ZF bus (the pec) and the 50% contour will lead to a voltage
tr.09 ZF + Zs (6) sag at the pee with a magnitude below 50%. All points
with Zi the impedance between the pee and the fault, in the 50% contour are at a distance of 2.4km (see Table
and Zs the source impedance at the pee. Let ZF = z£, X ) of the main 11kV bus. The last column in Table X
with z the feeder impedance per unit length and £, the gives the expected number of equipment trips per year.
distance between the pee and the fault. This results in A value of 0.645 faults per year per km has been used.
the following expression for the sag magnitude:
c. Comparison with the Method of Fault Positions
z£ The transmission system study performed by Qader [12]
~Gg = z£'+Zs resulted in number of sags as a function of magnitude for
all substations in the UK 40o-kV transmission system.
The "critical distance" is introduced as follows: the
The method of fault positions has been used for this study.
magnitude at the .pcc drops below a critical voltage V
For a number of substations those results have been com-
whenever a fault occurs within a distance [,crit from the
pared with the results obtained by using the method of
critical voltage critical distance exposed length number of trips per year
90% 21.4km 24.0km 15.5
80% 9.6km 21.6km 13.9
70% 5.6km 17.2km ILl
60% 3.6km 12.6km 8.1
50% 2.4km 8.6km 5.5
40% 1.6km 6.2km 4.0
30% 1.0km 3.0km 1.9
20% 0.6km 1.8km i .i
10% 0.3km O.9km 0.6

critical distances. For a transmission substations the crit-

ical distance can be calculated as a function of the sag
magnitude V by using the approximated expression:

Zs V
.ccrit =71 _V (9)
where Zs is the source impedance and z the feeder
impedance per unit length. All the lines originating at
the substation are assumed infinitely long; the exposed
length is simply the critical distance times the number of
11 kV, 151 MVA
The source impedance Zs is calculated by assuming
that all lines contribute equally to the short circuit current
_+----t-- --t-"--=--,. 30$
"40$ for a busbar fault . During a fault on one of these lines,
0" i-_ _--'
""t--_ _
only (N - 1) out of N lines contribute to the short circuit
50% current. Thus the source impedance in p.u . equals:

// /~ 70% Zs = ~ SblUe
N -1 S!ault

~- /
with N the number of lines originating at the substa-
_ - - _ 80% tion, Sbase the base power, and S!ault the short circuit
power for a substation fault . The exposed length is found


The exposed length for four substations is shown in

Fig. 13, where the crosses indicate the results of the
Fig . 12. 11 kV network used as an example for the
method of fault positions. There are obviously differences
method of critical distances. between the results of the two methods, with the method
offault positions viewed as the most accurate one. But for
the method of fault positions a large part of the national
grid needs to be modelled. All the data needed for the
method of critical distances is, from equation (11) :
• number of lines originating from the substation;
• fault level of the substation;
• feeder impedance per unit length.
1al :all
X x
12JI zm
~mJ 1I
~:mJ !


a x
d I
! SIl

a 21 Cl III lEI GI D 21 Cl III lEI GI
JIg.ogrftJOo .. poo-.t Iog . . . . . . . . . ponont

:all 1al
i 12JI x


~2m sUI!
~GJ If

D 21


a 21
/. x·x

Iog ......... poo-.t Iog . . . . . . . . . ponont

Fig . 13: Exposed length for four 400-k V substations : comparison between the method of fault positions (stars) and the method of critical
distances (c:ircles).
All this data can be obtained without much difficulty. [12] M.R. Qader, M.H.J. Bollen, R.N. Allan, Stochastic pre-
Another interesting observation from equation (11) is diction of voltage sags in a large transmission system,
about the variation of sag frequency among different sub- IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, Vol.35,
stations. The main variations can apparently be brought no.I, Jan. 1999, pp.152-162.
back to fault level, number of lines originating at the sub-
station, and fault frequency. Information about the first
two is easy to obtain. The latter might need to be esti-


[1] L.E. Conrad, M.H.J. Bollen, Voltage sag coordination for

reliable plant operation, IEEE Transactions on Industry
Applications, November/December 1997, in print.

[2] IEEE Recommended Practice for the Design of Reli-

able Industrial and. Commercial Power Systems, IEEE
Std.493-1997, in print.

[3] IEEE Recommended Practice for evaluating electric

power system compatibility with electronic process equip-
ment, IEEE Std 1346, in preparation.

[4] H. Se1jeseth, A. Pleym, Spenningskvalitetsmealinger

1992 til 1996 (voltage quality measurements, 1992 to
1996, in Norwegian), report EFI TR A4460 published
by EFI, 7034 Trondheim, Norway.

[5] D.S.Dorr, T.M. Grozs, M.B. Hughes, R.E. Jurewicz, G.

Dang, J.L. McClaine, Interpreting recent power quality
surveys to define the electrical environment, IEEE Indus-
try Applications Society Annual Meeting, October 1996,

[6] M.B. Hughes, J.S. Chan, Early experiences with the

Canadian national power quality survey, Transmission
and Distribution International, Vol.4, no.3, Sept. 1993,

[7] D.O. Koval, R.A. Bocancea, M.B. Hughes, Canadian na-

tional power quality survey: frequency of industrial and
commercial voltage sags, IEEE Transactions on Industry
Applications, VoL35, no.5, Sept. 1998, p.904-910.

[8] R.E. Jurewicz, Power quality study - 1990 to 1995,

Int. Telecommunications Energy Con!. (INTELEC), Oct.
1990; Orlando, FL . p.443-450.

[9] E.W. Gunther, H. Mehta, A survey of distribution system

power quality - preliminary results, IEEE Transactions
on Power Delivery, Vol.10, no.I, January 1995, pp.322-

[10] M. Goldstein, P.D. Speranza, The quality of US commer-

cial AC power, Int. Telecommunications Energy Conf.
(INTELEC), 3-6 Oct. 1982; Washington, DC, USA, p.28-

[11] D.5. DOlT, Point of utilization power quality study

results, IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications,
vo1.31, no.4, July/August 1995, p.658-666.
4. Mitigation of Voltage Sags

Math H J Bollen, Senior Member, IEEE

Department of Electric Power Engineering
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden


To understand the various ways of mitigation, the mech-

anism leading to an equipment trip needs to be under-
stood. Fig. 1 shows how a short circuit leads to an
equipment trip. The equipment trip is what makes the
event a problem; if there where no equipment trips, there
would be no voltage quality problem. The underlying
event of the equipment trip is a short-circuit fault: a low-
impedance connection between two or more phases, or be-
tween one or more phases and ground. At the fault posi-
tion the voltage drops to zero, or to a very low value. This
zero voltage is changed into an event of a certain magni- Reducenumber
tude and duration at the interface between the equipment of faults
and the power system. The short-circuit fault will always
cause a voltage sag for some customers. If the fault takes
place in a radial part of the system, the protection inter- Improve system
vention clearing the fault will also lead to an interruption. design
IT there is sufficient redundancy present, the short circuit
will only lead to a voltage sag. If the resulting event ex-
ceeds a certain severity, it will cause an equipment trip.
Fig. 1 enables us' to distinguish between the various
mitigation methods:

• reducing the number of short-circuit faults.

• reducing the fault-clearing time.

• changing the system such that short-circuit faults

result in less severe events at the equipment termi-
nals or at the customer interface.
• connecting mitigation equipment between the sen-
sitive equipment and the supply. Fig. 1. The voltage quality problem and ways of mit-
• improving the immunity of the equipment.


Reducing the number of short-circuit faults in a system,

not only reduces the sag frequency but also the frequency
of sustained interruptions. This is thus a very effective
way of improving the quality of supply and many cus-
tomers suggest this as the obvioussolution when a voltage
sag or short interruption problem occurs. The solution is This type of protection is commonly used in overhead sys-
unfortunately most of the time not that obvious. A short tems. Reducing the fault-clearing time mainly requires a
circuit not only leads to a voltage sag or interruption at faster breaker. The static circuit breaker or several of the
the customer interface but also causes damage to utility other current limiters would be good options for these sys-
equipment and plant. Therefore most utilities will already tems. A current-limiting fuse to protect the whole feeder
have reduced the fault frequency as far as economically is not suitable as it makes fast reclosing more complicated.
feasible. In individual cases there could still be room for Current-limiting fuses can also not be used for the protec-
improvement, e.g. when the majority of trips is due to tion of the laterals because they would start arcing before
faults on one or two distribution lines. Some examples of the main breaker opens. Using a faster clearing with the
fault mitigation are: main breaker enables faster clearing in the laterals as well.
The network in the bottom drawing of Fig. 2 consists
• replace overhead lines by underground cables; of a number of distribution substations in cascade. To
~chieve selectivity, time-grading of the overcurrent relays
• use special wires for overhead lines;
IS used. The relays furthest away from the source trip
• implement a strict policy of tree trimming; instantaneously on overcurrent. When moving closer to
the source, the tripping delay increases each time with
• install additional shielding wires; typically 500 UlS. In the example in Fig. 2 the delay
• increase the insulation level; times would be 1000ms, 500ms and zero (from left to
right). Close to the source, fault-clearing times can be
• increase maintenance and inspection frequencies. up to several seconds. These kind of systems are used
in underground networks and in industrial distribution
One has to keep in mind however that these measures systems.
can be very expensive and that its costs have to be weighted The fault-clearing time can be somewhat reduced by
against the consequences of the equipment trips. using inverse-time overcurrent protection where the delay
time decreases for increasing fault current. But even with
III. REDUCING THE FAULT-CLEARING TIME these schemes, fault-clearing times above one second are
possible. The various techniques for reducing the fault-
Reducing the fault-clearing time does not reduce the
clearing time without loosing selectivity are discussed in
number of events but only their duration. The ultimate
various publications on power system protection, e.g. [1]
reduction offault-clearing time is achieved by using current-
and [2].
limiting fuses (a proven techology) or static circuit break-
To achieve a serious reduction in fault-clearing time
ers (an emerging technology). These devices are able to
one needs to reduce the grading margin, thereby allowing
clear a fault within one half-cycle, thus ensuring that no
a certain loss of selectivity. The setting rules described
voltage sag last longer. Additionally several types of fault-
in most publications are based on preventing incorrect
current limiters have been proposed which not so much
trips. Future protection settings need to be based on
clear the fault, but significantly reduce the fault current
a maximum fault-clearing time. A method of translat-
magnitude within one or two cycles.
ing a voltage-tolerance curve into a time-current curve is
But the fault-clearing time is not only the time needed
described in [3]. The latter curve can be used in com-
to open the breaker, also the time needed for the pro-
bination with relay curves to obtain the various settings.
tection to make a decision. Here we need to consider two
The opening time of the downstream breaker is an impor-
significantly different types of distribution networks, both
tant term in the expression for the grading margin. By
shown in Fig. 2 .
using faster breakers the grading margin can be signifi-
The top drawing in Fig. 2 shows a system with one
cantly reduced, thus leading to a significant reduction in
circuit breaker protecting the whole feeder. The protec-
fault-clearing time. The impact of static circuit breakers
tion relay with the breaker has a certain current setting.
might be bigger in these systems that in the ones with
This setting is such that it will be exceeded for any fault
one breaker protecting the whole feeder.
on the feeder, but Dot exceeded for any fault elsewhere
In transmission systems the fault-clearing time is al-
in the system nor for any loading situation. The moment
ready short, so further reduction is much more difficult.
the current value exceeds the setting the relay gives a
The fault-clearing time is often limited by transient-stability
trip signal to the breaker and the breaker opens within
constraints. Some remaining options are:
a few cycles. Typical fault-clearing times in these sys-
tems are around 100 milliseconds. To limit the number • In some cases faster circuit breakers could be of help.
of long interruptions for the customers, reclosing is used This again not only limits the fault-clearing time di-
in combination with (slow) expulsion fuses in the later- rectly, but it also limits the grading margin for dis-
als or in combination with interruptors along the feeder.
Fig. 2: Distribution system with one circuit breaker protecting the whole feeder (top) and with a number of substations (bottom).

tance protection. One should realise however that • Split busses or substations in the supply path to
faster circuit breakers could be very expensive. limit the number of feeders in the exposed area.

• A certain reduction in grading margin is probably • Install current-limiting coils at strategic places in
possible. This will not so much reduce the fault- the system to increase the "electrical distance" to
clearing time in normal situations, but in case the the fault. One should realise that this can make the
protection fails and a backup relay has to intervene. sag worse for other customers.
When reducing the grading margin one should re-
alise that loss of selectivity is unacceptable in most • Feed the bus with the sensitive equipment from two
transmission systems as it leads to the loss of two or more substations. A voltage sag in one substation
or more components at the same time. will be mitigated by the infeed from the other sub-
stations. The more independent the substations are
• Faster back-up protection is one of the few effec- the more the mitigation effect. The best mitigation
tive means of reducing fault-clearing time in trans- effect is by feeding from two different transmission
mission systems. Possible options are to use inter- substations. Introducing the second infeed increases
tripping for dist·ance protection, and breaker-failure the number of sags, but reduces their severity.
The number of short interruptions can be prevented
IV. CHANGING THE POWER SYSTEM by conrrecting less customers to one recloser (thus by in-
stalling more reclosers), or by getting rid of the reclosure
By implementing changes in the supply system, the scheme altogether. Short as well as long interruptions are
severity of the event can be reduced. Here again the costs considerably reduced in frequency by installing additional
can become very high, especially for transmission and sub- redundancy in the system. The costs for this are only jus-
stransmission voltage levels. Some examples of mitigation tified for large industrial and commercial customers. In-
methods especially directed towards voltage sags are: termediate solutions reduce the duration of (long) inter-
ruptions by having a level of redundancy available within
• Install a generator near the sensitive load. The gen- a certain time.
erators will keep up the voltage during a remote sag.
The reduction in voltage drop is equal to the per- V. INSTALLING MITIGATION EQUIPMENT
centage contribution of the generator station to the
fault current. In case a combined-heat-and-power The most commonly applied method of mitigation is
station is planned, it is worth to consider the posi- the installation of additional equipment at the system-
tion of its electrical connection to the supply. equipment interface. Also recent developments point to-
wards a continued interest in this way of mitigation. The
popularity of mitigation equipment is explained by it be- VI. IMPROVING EQUIPMENT IMMUNITY
ing the only place where the customer has control over the
situation. Both changes in the supply as well as improve- Improvement of equipment immunity is probably the
ment of the equipment are often completely outside of most effective solution against equipment trips due to
the control of the end-user. Some examples of mitigation voltage sags. But as a short-time solution it is often not
equipment are: suitable. A customer often only finds out about equip-
ment immunity after the equipment has been installed.
• Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). The most com- For consumer electronics it is very hard for a customer
monly used device to protect low-power equipment to find out about immunity of the equipment as he is
(computers, etc.) against voltage sags and interrup- not in direct contact with the manufacturer. Even most
tions. During the sag or interruptions, the power adjustable-speed drives have become off-the-shelf equip-
supply is taken over by an internal battery. The ment where the customer has no influence on the specifi-
battery can supply the load for, typically, between cations. Only large industrial equipment is custom-made
15 and 30 minutes. for a certain application, which enables the incorporation
• • e • • of voltage-tolerance requirements.
• Static transfer SWItch. A static transfer SWItch SWItches A t from i . I . t (d .
·h h
h I ad f rom the supp1y Wit t e sag to ano er
th par rom Improving arge equipmen rives, process-
teo ) . . f. .
ithi ~ ·11· ds Thi ld limit control computers a thorough inspection 0 the immunity
SUPPIy WI In a lew mi iseconcs, IS wou I fall 1 1 ignifi I
the d urat Ion f t 1 th h If 1 0 contactors, re ays, sensors, etc. can a so 81 eant y
0 a sag 0 ess an one a r-cyc e as-. th id th h
. . .. Improve e process rl e- roug.
summg. that a SUitable. alternate
. supply 15 available. Wh en new equipmen
. t is i talle,
IS Ins
d mrorma
. E. - tiIon aboU t it
I s
Static transfer SWitches for . . medium voltage levels. it
Immunl y s ou h ld b btai
e 0 aJ.D ed fr th
om e manulac r. t
urer b e-
are a new but very promismg technology, they are .. . . h ld
-I bi ~ It I Is 25 kV forehand. Where possible, Immumty requirements S ou
avai a e lor vo age eve Up t o . be iIDC1uded iIn the equipmen
. t speerificat·Ion.
• Dynamic Voltage Restorer (DVR). This device uses For short interruptions equipment immunity is very
modem power electronic components to insert a se- hard to achieve; for long interruptions it is impossible
ries voltage source between the supply and the load. to achieve. The equipment should in so far be immune
The voltage source compensates for the voltage drop to interruptions, that no damage is caused. and no dan-
due to the sag. Some devices use internal energy gerous situation arises. This is especially important when
storage to make up for the drop in active power considering a complete installation.
supplied by the system. They can only mitigate
sags up to a maximum duration. Other devices take VII. DIFFERENT EVENTS AND MITIGATION METH'ODS
the same amount of active power from the supply
by increasing the current. These can only mitiga.te Fig. 3 shows the magnitude and duration of volt-
sags down to a minimum magnitude. This is also a
age sags and interruptions resulting from various system
rather new and promising technology, availa.ble both events. For different events different mitigation strategies
for medium voltage and low voltage levels. Also a
number of alternative configurations have been sug- • Sags due to short-circuit faults in the transmission
gested, some more promising than others. For low- and sub-transmission system are characterised by a
voltage equipment this new technology may not add short duration, typically up to 100 ms. These sags
much above a UPS, for medium voltage load, this are very hard to mitigate at the source and also im-
may prove a very expensive but the only feasible provements in the system are seldom feasible. The
solution. only way of mitigating these sags is by improve-
• Motor-generator sets. MG-sets are the classical ~ ment of the equipment or, where this turns out to
be unfeasible, installing mitigation equipment. For
lution for sag and interruption mitigation with large
equipment. They are obviously not suitable for an low-power equipment a UPS is a straightforward s0-
lution, for high-power equipment and for complete
office environment but the noise and the mainte-
installations several competing tools are emerging.
nance requirements are often no objection in an in-
dustrial environment. Some manufacturers combine • As we saw before the duration of sags due to dis-
the MG-set with a backup generator, others com- tribution system faults depends on the type of pro-
bine it with power-electronic converters to obtain a tection used. Ranging from less than a cycle for
longer ride-through time. current-limiting fuses up to several seconds for over-
current relays in underground or industrial distri-
bution systems. The long sag duration makes that
i 100$

0% ''----+---............- - - - - - - - -
0.1 s 1 sec Duration

Fig. 3. Overview of sags and interruptions.

equipment can also trip due to faults on distribu-

tion feeders fed from another HV/MV substation.
For deep long-duration sags, equipment improve-
ment becomes more difficult and system improve-
ment easier. The latter could well become the pre-
ferred solution, although a critical assessment of the
various options is certainly needed.

• Sags due to faults in remote distribution systems

and sags due to motor starting should not lead to
equipment tripping for sags down to 85%. If there
are problems the equipment needs to be improved.
If equipment trips occur for long-duration sags in
the 70% - 80% magnitude range, changes in the sys-
tem have to be considered as an option.

• For interruptions, especially the longer ones, equip-

ment improvement is no longer feasible. System im-
provements or a UPS in combination with an emer-
gency generator are possible solutions here.

[1] Power System Protection, Institution of Electrical Engi-
neers, London, 1995.

[2] Protective relays application guide. GEe Alsthom Pro-

tection & Control, Stafford, UK.

[3] T.H. Ortmeyer, T. Hiyama, Coordination of time over-

current devices with voltage sag capability curves, IEEE
Int Con! on Harmonics and Quality of