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Lecture 9 &10
Gnen, Turan. Electric power distribution system engineering. Second edition,
New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008.
Basic Definitions
Voltage Regulation :
The percent voltage drop of a line (e.g., a feeder) with respect to the receiving-end
voltage. Therefore,

Voltage Drop. The difference between the sending-end and the receiving-end voltages of a
Nominal Voltage. The nominal value assigned to a line or apparatus or a system of a given
voltage class.
Rated Voltage. The voltage at which performance and operating characteristics of the
apparatus are referred.
Service Voltage. The voltage measured at the ends of the service entrance apparatus.
Utilization Voltage. The voltage measured at the ends of an apparatus.
Base Voltage. The reference voltage, usually 120 V.
Maximum Voltage. The largest 5-min average voltage.
Minimum Voltage. The smallest 5-min voltage.
System voltage classes
low voltage:
A class of nominal system voltages less than 1000 V.
medium voltage:
A class of nominal system voltages equal to or greater than 1000 V and less than
100 000 V.
high voltage:
A class of nominal system voltages equal from 100 000 V to 230 000 V.

In general, performance of distribution systems and quality of the service provided

are measured in terms of freedom from interruptions and maintenance of
satisfactory voltage levels at the customer's premises that is within limits
appropriate for this type of service.
Due to economic considerations, an electric utility company cannot provide each
customer with a constant voltage matching exactly the nameplate voltage on the
customer's utilization apparatus.
Therefore, a common practice among the utilities is to stay with preferred voltage
levels and ranges of variation for satisfactory operation of apparatus as set forth by
the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ANSI C84.1-1989.
In many states, the ANSI standard is the basis for the state regulatory commission
rulings on setting forth voltage requirements and limits for various classes of
electric service.
In general, based on experience, too high steady-state voltage causes reduced light
bulb life, reduced life of electronic devices, and premature failure of some types of
On the other hand, too low steady-state voltage causes lowered illumination levels,
shrinking of TV pictures, slow heating of heating devices, difficulties in motor
starting, and overheating and/or burning out of motors.
However, most equipment and appliances operate satisfactorily over some range of
voltage so that a reasonable tolerance is allowable.
The nominal voltage standards for a majority of the electric utilities in the United
States to serve residential and commercial customers are:
120/240-V three-wire single-phase
240/120-V four-wire three-phase delta
208Y/120-V four-wire three-phase wye
480Y/277-V four-wire three-phase wye
Voltage systems outside of the United States
Voltage systems in other countries generally differ from those in the United States.
For example,
415Y/240 V and 380Y/220 V are widely used as utilization voltages even for
residential service.
Also, the frequency in many countries is 50 Hz instead of 60 Hz, which affects the
operation of some equipment such as motors.
Motors on 50 Hz systems run approximately17% slower than in the United States.
Plugs and receptacles are generally different, and this helps to prevent utilization
equipment from the United States from being connected to the wrong voltage.
Equipment rated for use with one voltage and frequency often cannot be used or
may not give adequate performance on another voltage or frequency
If the difference is only in the voltage, transformers are generally available to
convert the available supply voltage to match the equipment voltage.
Voltage control in electric power systems
Most utility generating stations are located near sources of water, often a
considerable distance from major load areas.
Generated power, except for station requirements, is transformed in a transmission
substation located at the generating station to voltage generally 69 000 V or higher
for transmission to major load areas.
These transmission lines are usually interconnected in large free flowing networks.
For example, most transmission lines in the eastern half of the United States are
interconnected to form one network.
Utilities are constantly adjusting generation to match the load.
They adjust generation to regulate the 60 Hz frequency, keeping clocks on time
within a few seconds.
Voltage control is applied when necessary for the purpose of supplying satisfactory
voltage to the terminals of utilization equipment.
Transformers stepping the transmission voltage down to the primary distribution
voltage are generally equipped with automatic tap-changing under load equipment
which changes the turns ratio of the transformer under load.
This regulates the primary distribution voltage within a specific range of values
regardless of fluctuations in the transmission voltage or load.
Separate step or induction regulators may also be used.
If the load is remote from the substation, the regulator controls are equipped with
compensators that raise the voltage as the load increases and lower the voltage as
the load decreases to compensate for the voltage drop in the primary distribution
system that extends radially from the substation.
This effectively regulates the voltage at a point of the primary distribution system
some distance from the substation.
This is illustrated in figure.
Note that plants close to the substation will receive voltages which, on the average,
will be higher than those received by plants at a distance from the distribution
Switched or fixed capacitors are also used to improve the voltage on primary
As shown in Figure 9.1, the voltage on a distribution circuit varies from a
maximum value at the customer nearest to the source (first customer) to a minimum
value at the end of the circuit (last customer).
For the purpose of illustration, Table 9.1 gives typical secondary voltage standards
applicable to residential and commercial customers.
These voltage limits may be set by the state regulatory commission as a guide to be
followed by the utility.
This range bas been segmented into three zones, namely:
the favorable zone or preferred zone,
the tolerable zone, and
the extreme zone.
The favorable zone includes
The majority of the existing operating voltages and the voltages within this zone
(i.e., range A) to produce satisfactory operation of the customer's equipment.
The distribution engineer tries to keep the voltage of every customer on a given
distribution circuit within the favorable zone.
The tolerable zone
contains a band of operating voltages slightly above and below the favorable zone.
The operating voltages in the tolerable zone (i.e., range B) are usually acceptable
for most purposes.
For example, in this zone the customer's apparatus may be expected to operate
satisfactorily, although its performance may perhaps be less than warranted by the
However, if the voltage in the tolerable zone results in unsatisfactory service of the
customer's apparatus, the voltage should be improved.
The extreme or emergency zone
Includes voltages on the fringes of the tolerable zone, usually within 2 or 3% above or
below the tolerable zone.
They may or may not be acceptable depending on the type of application.
At times, the voltage that usually stays within the tolerable zone may infrequently exceed
the limits because of some extraordinary conditions.
For example, failure of the principal supply line, which necessitates the use of alternative
routes or voltage regulators being out of service, can cause the voltages to reach the
emergency limits.
if the operating voltage is held within the extreme zone under these conditions, the
customer's apparatus may still be expected to provide dependable operation, although not
the standard performance.
However, voltages outside the extreme zone should not be tolerated under any conditions
and should be improved right away.
Usually, the maximum voltage drop in the customer's wiring between the point of delivery
and the point of utilization is accepted as 4 V based on 120 V.
To keep distribution circuit voltages within permissible limits, means must be provided to control the
voltage, that is, to increase the circuit voltage when it is too low and to reduce it when it is too high.
There are numerous ways to improve the distribution system's overall voltage regulation.
The complete list is given by Lokay Pl as:
1. Use of generator voltage regulators
2. Application of voltage-regulating equipment in the distribution substations
3. Application of capacitors in the distribution substation
4. Balancing of the loads on the primary feeders
5. Increasing of feeder conductor size
6. Changing of feeder sections from single-phase to multiphase
7. Transferring of loads to new feeders
8. Installing of new substations and primary feeders
9. Increase of primary voltage level
10. Application of voltage regulators on the primary feeders
11. Application of shunt capacitors on the primary feeders
12. Application of series capacitors on the primary feeders
The selection of a technique or techniques depends on the particular system

However, automatic voltage regulation is always provided by:

i. bus regulation at the substation,

ii. individual feeder regulation in the substation, and

iii. supplementary regulation along the main by regulators mounted on poles.

Distribution substations are equipped with load-tap changing (LTC) transformers

that operate automatically under load or with separate voltage regulators that
provide bus regulation.
Voltage-regulating apparatus are designed to maintain automatically a predetermined
level of voltage that would otherwise vary with the load.
As the load increases, the regulating apparatus boosts the voltage at the substation to
compensate for the increased voltage drop in the distribution feeder.
In cases where customers are located at long distances from the substation or where
voltage drop along the primary circuit is excessive, additional regulators or
capacitors, located at selected points on the feeder, provide supplementary regulation.
Many utilities have experienced that the most economical way of regulating the
voltage within the required limits is to apply
both step voltage regulators and shunt capacitors.
Capacitors are installed out on the feeders and on the substation bus in adequate
quantities to accomplish the economic power factor.
Many of these installations have sophisticated controls designed to perform
automatic switching.
A fixed capacitor is not a voltage regulator and cannot be directly compared with
regulators, but, in some cases, automatically switched capacitors can replace
conventional step-type voltage regulators for voltage control on distribution feeders.
Feeder voltage regulators are used extensively to regulate the voltage of each
feeder separately to maintain a reasonable constant voltage at the point of
They are either the induction-type or the step-type.
However, since today's modern step-type voltage regulators have practically
replaced induction-type regulators, only step-type voltage regulators will be
Step-type voltage regulators can be either:
i. Station-type, which can be single- or three-phase, and which can be used in
substations for bus voltage regulation (BVR) or individual feeder voltage
ii. Distribution-type, which can be only single-phase and used pole-mounted on
overhead primary feeders.
Single-phase step-type voltage regulators are available in sizes from 25 to 833
whereas three-phase step-type voltage regulators are available in sizes from 500 to
2000 kVA.
For some units, the standard capacity ratings can be increased by 25-33% by forced
air cooling.
Standard voltage ratings are available from 2400 to 19,920 V, allowing regulators
to be used on distribution circuits from 2400 to 34,500 V grounded-wye/19,920 V
Station-type step voltage regulators for BVR can be up to 69 kV.
A step-type voltage regulator is fundamentally an autotransformer with many taps
(or steps) in the series winding.
Most regulators are designed to correct the line voltage from 10% boost to 10%
buck (i.e .. 10%) in 32 steps, with a % voltage change per step.
(Note that the full voltage regulation range is 20%, and therefore if the 20%
regulation range is divided by the 32 steps, a percent regulation per step is found.)
Figure 9.2 shows a typical single-phase 32-step pole-type voltage regulator;
Figure 9.4 shows typical platform-mounted voltage regulators.
Individual feeder regulation for a large utility can be provided at the substation by a
bank of distribution voltage regulators, as shown in Figure 9.5.
In addition to its autotransformer component, a step-type regulator also has two other
major components, namely, the tap-changing and the control mechanisms, as shown in
Figure 9.2.
Each voltage regulator ordinarily is equipped with the necessary controls and accessories
so that the taps are changed automatically under load by a tap changer which responds to a
voltage-sensing control to maintain a predetermined output voltage. By receiving its inputs
from potential and current transformers, the control mechanism provides control of voltage
level and bandwidth (BW).
One such control mechanism is a voltage-regulating relay (VRR) which controls tap
changes. As illustrated in Figure 9.6, this relay has the following three basic settings that
control tap changes:
1. Set voltage: It is the desired output of the regulator. It is also called the set point or
2. BW: Voltage regulator controls monitor the difference between the measured and the
set voltages. Only when the difference exceeds one-half of the BW will a tap change
3. Time delay (TD): It is the waiting time between the time when the voltage goes out
of the band and when the controller initiates the tap change. Longer TDs reduce the
number of tap changes. Typical TDs are 10-120 sec.
Furthermore, the control mechanism also provides the ability to adjust line-drop
compensation by selecting the resistance and reactance settings, as shown in Figure
FIGURE 9.7 Features of the control mechanism of a single-phase 32-step voltage regulator.
(McGrawEdison Company.)
Voltage regulators located in the substation or on a feeder are used to keep the
voltage constant at a fictitious regulation or regulating point (RP) without regard to
the magnitude or power factor of the load.
The regulation point is usually selected to be somewhere between the regulator and
the end of the feeder.
This automatic voltage maintenance is achieved by dial settings of the adjustable
resistance and reactance elements of a unit called the line-drop compensator (LDC)
located on the control panel of the voltage regulator.
Figure 9.10 shows a simple schematic diagram and phasor diagram of the control
circuit and line-drop compensator circuit of a step or induction voltage regulator.
Determination of the appropriate dial settings depends on whether or not any load
is tapped off the feeder between the regulator and the regulation point.
If no load is tapped off the feeder between the regulator and the regulation point, the R dial
setting of the line-drop compensator can be determined from

where CTP is the rating of the current transformer's primary,

PTN is the potential transformer's turns ratio = Vpri/Vsec
and Reff is the effective resistance of a feeder conductor from regulator station to regulation
point (Q).

ra is the resistance of a feeder conductor from regulator station to regulation point (/mi per
s1 is the length of three-phase feeder between regulator station and substation (mi) (multiply
length by 2 if feeder is in single-phase), and
l is the primary feeder length (mi).
Also, the X dial setting of the LDC can be determined from

where Xeff is the effective reactance of a feeder conductor from regulator to regulation point,


xa is the inductive reactance of individual phase conductor of feeder at 12-in spacing (/mi),
xd is the inductive reactance spacing factor ( /mi), and
xL is the inductive reactance of the feeder conductor ( /mi).
Note that since the R and X settings are determined for the total connected load,
rather than for a small group of customers, the resistance and reactance values of
the transformers are not included in the effective resistance and reactance

If load is tapped off the feeder between the regulator station and the regulation
point, the R dial setting of the LDC can still be determined from Equation 9.2, but
the determination of the Reff is somewhat more involved.

Lokay [I] gives the following equations to calculate the effective resistance:
|VDR |i is the voltage drop due to line resistance of the ith section of feeder between
regulator station and regulation point (V/section),
|VDR |i is the total voltage drop due to line resistance of feeder between regulator
station and regulation point (V),
|IL| is the magnitude of load current at regulator location (A),
|IL,i| is the magnitude of load current in the ith feeder section (A),
ra,i is the resistance of a feeder conductor in the ith section of the feeder (/mi), and
l is the length of the ith feeder section (mi).
Also, the X dial setting of the LDC can still be determined from
but the determination of the Xeff is again somewhat more involved.
Lokay [I] gives the following equations to calculate the effective reactance:

|VDx |i is the voltage drop due to line reactance of the ith section of feeder between
regulator station and regulation point (V/section),
|VDx |i is the total voltage drop due to line reactance of feeder between regulator
station and regulation point (V),
and XL.I is the inductive reactance (as defined ) of the ith
section of the feeder (Q/mi).
Since the methods just described to determine the effective Rand X are rather
Lokay [1] suggests an alternative and practical method to measure the current IL
and voltage at the regulator location and the voltage at the RP.
The difference between the two voltage values is the total voltage drop between the
regulator and the regulation point, which can also be defined as:

from which the Reff and X eff values can be determined easily if the load power
factor of the feeder and
the average R/X ratio of the feeder conductors between the regulator and the RP are
Figure 9.11 gives an example for determining the voltage profiles for the peak and
light loads.
Note that the primary-feeder voltage values are based on a 120-V base.
One-line diagram and voltage profiles of a feeder with distributed load beyond a
voltage regulator location:
(a) one-line diagram, and
(b) peak- and light load profile showing fictitious RP for LDC settings.
It is assumed that the conductor size between the regulator and the first distribution
transformer is #2/0 copper conductor with 44-inch flat spacing with resistance and
reactance of 0.481 and 0.718 /mi, respectively.
The PT and CT ratios of the voltage regulator are 7960:120 and 200:5, respectively
Distance to fictitious RP is 3.9 mi. LDC settings are
Numerical series on voltage regulation