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Distribution Transformer Monitoring

Electricity plays a very important role in our daily life. We depend on it for light to see, energy to cook, water to drink and so much more. There are many components and equipments involved in regulating distribution of electricity according to usage. The most critical of these is the transformer. Distribution Transformers (DTs) play a crucial role and act as hub in electrical distribution network, and its correct function is essential for reliable power supply to consumers. Catastrophic failure of a critical transformer would result in power outages in the downstream network and could cause significant economic and environmental challenges.

Let us review some of the factors by which Distribution Transformers’ life cycle can get adversely affected-

  1. Unplanned expansion of networks which causes overloading, resulting in additional losses and generates waste heat.
  2. Incompatible devices being run on transformers, such as a 3 phase device being connected to a single phase transformer.
  3. Stealing of power by hooking from the main supply, unbalancing the transformer or overloading it.
  4. Oil drainage, poor power factor, etc. also cause the transformer to age rapidly.

In India, there is an increase of approximately 14% in the amount of DTs in the network. However, these transformers rarely have intelligence or communication capabilities. Lack of information on the loading of the transformer is one of the main reasons for inefficient distribution network. Transformers are to be monitored very cautiously on a regular basis to avoid unexpected interruption and to anticipate upcoming problem. This has led to the advent of smart grids in India.

Smart grids enable the company to monitor the Distribution Transformer’s working, provide the facility to measure critical parameter and transmit the information to remote data center for analysis and visualization which help system operators to monitor and control the system.

Today, most utilities focus on Smart Grid technology and other aspects that are crucial for the success of their Smart Grid vision. This Internet of Things (IOT) powered Smart Grid technology will help the utilities industry to optimally utilize transformers and identify problems before any catastrophic failure occurs. This online-measuring system is used to collect and analyze temperature data over time. Thus Transformer Monitoring will help to identify or recognize unexpected situations before any serious failure which leads to a greater reliability and significant cost savings.

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