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New Phase Selection Methods for Distance Relay

Takahiro Kase, Yasutaka Sonobe *1, Tetsuo Matsushima *1 and Zexin Zhou *2
Toshiba International (Europe) Ltd.
Unit LG3 & LG4, Block 4, Mountjoy Research Centre, Stockton Road, Durham, UK, DH1 3UZ
*1 TMT&D Corporation
2-24-1 Harumi, Fuchu, Tokyo, 183-0057, Japan
*2 China Electric Power Research Institute
No.15, Xiaoying East Road Qinghe, Beijing, 100085 China


This paper proposes new faulted phase selection methods for a distance relay. It is very important to select the faulted
phase for single phase to earth faults when single phase auto-reclosing is applied, and generally speaking, phase
selection methods for normal single phase to earth faults have been established. However, it is difficult for
distance relays to select the faulted phase correctly in case of multiple faults in parallel lines or in case of high
resistance faults. This paper proposes new phase selection methods for these types of faults. The performance of the
new phase selection methods have been proven by thousands of factory tests using RTDS and by a large number of
CEPRI tests using an analogue simulator. This paper introduces the results of the tests performed by CEPRI.

Keywords: phase selection, distance protection, evolving faults, high resistance faults

1 INTRODUCTION tests using RTDS(Real Time Digital Simulator) and

Correct selection of the faulted phase is one of the using an analogue simulator of China Electric Power
most important functions of a protection relay. It is Research Institute (CEPRI). This paper introduces the
particularly important to find the faulted phase for results of the test by CEPRI.
single phase to earth faults when single phase
auto-reclosing is applied.
Generally speaking, it is not difficult to select the It is well known that the phase-to-phase distance
faulted phase for phase segregated line differential measurements between the faulted phase and a healthy
protections. On the other hand, it is less straightforward phase can operate for single phase to earth faults.
for a distance protection to select the faulted phase Fig.2.1 shows the typical vector diagram of
because single phase to earth faults can affect impedances in the case of an A-phase to earth fault.
phase-to-phase distance measurements including the
faulted phase and could cause operation, depending on
relay settings. Hence, it is usual that an independent
faulted phase selection method is implemented in a R P
distance protection. However, the faulted phase ZAB ZA
selection method may not be effective for some kinds of ZCA Q
faults, such as multiple faults in parallel lines and for
very high resistance faults, even though it can perform Z’AB Z’CA
adequately for normal faults.
This paper proposes new phase selection methods
for multiple faults in parallel lines and for very highly
resistive faults. The performance of the proposed new Fig,2,1 Typical vector diagram in case of single phase to
methods have been proven by thousands of dynamic earth faults
Fig.2.1 shows impedance plane, in which S is the undervoltage element for phase-A. Therefore, Z1-AB
source at a point behind the relay and P is the fault can not issue a trip command for an A-phase to earth
point. The angles of PSQ and PSR are approximately fault because the undervoltage element of the B-phase
30 degrees. OQ is the C-phase to A-phase impedance doesn’t operate in this case.
as seen by the distance protection (Zca), while OR is
the A-phase to B-phase impedance (Zab). It can 3 MULTIPLE FAULTS IN PARALLEL LINES
normally be expected that the distance relay’s right The theory behind the phase selection method
side blinder element will prevent operation for Zca and described in the previous section is not based on the
that its directional element will prevent operation for condition that the multiple faults can occur in parallel
Zab. However, it is possible that the phase-to-phase lines. Consequently, there are some cases in which the
elements could operate depending on the relay settings, described phase selection method can not operate
and this possibility generally becomes greater when correctly for multiple faults in parallel lines.
the source impedance is small and the fault point is
near to the relay. If the zone 1 phase-to-phase element 3.1 Impedance in the case of typical multiple faults
operates for a single phase to earth fault, then the in parallel lines
distance protection would perform 3 phase tripping Fig.3.1 shows a general parallel line system.
instead of single phase tripping, which would be Multiple faults which are an C-phase to earth fault in
undesirable in cases where single phase auto-reclosing the adjacent line and a A-phase to earth fault in the
is applied. protected line are assumed as shown in Fig.3.1. The left
figure (a) and the right figure (b) in Fig.3.2 show the
It is necessary to prevent phase-to-phase elements
vectors of voltage and current, and the impedance
from operating by detecting the faulted phase correctly
during the fault respectively. The A-phase and C-phase
in this case. Therefore, independent phase selection is
voltages are small because of the fault. A-phase fault
necessary for distance protection. It is common to use
current is generally larger than the C-phase fault current
a residual current overcurrent element to distinguish
because the line impedance restricts the C-phase fault
single phase-to-earth faults from phase-to-phase faults
current. From this relationship between voltages and
and to use a phase overcurrent element or
currents, impedances can be drawn as in Fig.3.2 (b).
undervoltage element for selecting the faulted phase. It
The C-to-A phase impedance is much smaller than in
is also quite common to use a combination of
the case of the simple single phase to earth fault shown
overcurrent element and undervoltage element in order
in Fig.2.1, although the directions of the impedances
to increase sensitivity for detection of the faulted
are not greatly different, because the C phase voltage is
phase. This is because the fault current may be small
very small. Therefore the phase-to-phase distance
in cases where the source impedance is large, or the
element is more likely to operate in the case of multiple
faulted phase voltage may not be small enough to be
faults, especially when the fault point is close to the
detected by an undervoltage element if the fault point
is far from the relay and the fault current is large.
In this case the phase selection logic introduced in
Fig.2.2 shows simple phase selection logic for a
phase-to-phase element using undervoltage elements. C to G fault
In Fig.2.2, Z1-AB is the zone 1 element for A-phase to G1 G2

B-phase distance measurement. UV-A is the

A to G fault
Z1-AB &
Fig.3.1 Multiple faults
3 phase
Z1-BC & Trip X
Z1-CA &
UV-A &
UV-C &
Phase Selection (a) Voltages and currents (b) Impedances
Fig.2.2 Simple phase selection logic Fig.3.2 Vectors during multiple faults
previous section can not prevent unwanted tripping by B-phase to earth fault occurs in protected line as shown
the phase-to-phase distance element because two of the in Fig.3.1, Z1-CA, UV-A and UV-C would operate, but,
phase voltages are small. This situation is basically the 3-phase tripping is prevented by the operation of
same for the relay in the adjacent line. Therefore both RevD-C. As a result, zone 1 A-phase to earth distance
relays would trip all three phases instead of just a single element would trip a single phase successfully.
phase in each line. This unwanted 3 phase trip could
This logic is quite simple but very effective. The
cause major problems such as an instability in the
performance of this logic has been proven by many
power system, especially if the affected transmission
tests using an analogue simulator of CEPRI, the results
line was carrying a large amount power.
of which are shown in the following section.
3.2 New phase selection method for multiple faults in
parallel lines
The unwanted 3-phase tripping explained in the RESISTANCE FAULTS
previous section would also occur if overcurrent 4.1 Directional earth fault element
elements or a combination of overcurrent and To detect a very high resistance fault up to 300
undervoltage elements were used for phase selection ohms is very difficult for a distance protection,
instead of undervoltage elements only, because all of especially when the fault is double end fed, because the
those methods would detect two faulted phases and resistance of the fault seen by the distance relay is
would allow the phase-to-phase distance element to increased by the fault current from the other end. In
operate. addition to that, it is difficult to distinguish high
resistance faults from heavy load conditions. Therefore,
It is important to note that one of the faults occurs in
a directional element using zero sequence current is
the reverse direction in the described case. Fig.3.3
commonly used to detect high resistance faults.
shows the principle of the proposed new phase selection
Recently, the zero-sequence directional element has
method. RevD is the reverse directional element which
been integrated as one of the functions within digital
detects the phase-to-earth faults in reverse direction.
distance relays.
According to this logic, it can be seen that the operation
It is possible to apply very sensitive settings to the
of the RevD elements block the tripping by the zone 1
zero-sequence directional element because the
phase-to-phase element. Hence, the zone 1
zero-sequence current is not affected by load current.
phase-to-phase element cannot issue tripping
Although a zero-sequence directional element does not
commands even when 2 phase undervoltage elements
have the ability to selectively identify faults on
operate if a reverse phase-to-earth fault is detected at
protected line, by using the zero-sequence directional
the same time. For example, in the case where an
element only, in combination with a tele-
A-phase to earth fault occurs in the adjacent line and a
communication scheme, it is possible to distinguish
between internal and external faults. Fig.4.1 shows an
& example of the directional element called Directional
Earth Fault element (DEF). The direction of the fault
3 phase
can be identified by the angular relationship between
Z1-BC & Trip
zero-sequence current and zero-sequence voltage as
shown in Fig.4.1. For example, when a fault is in the
& forward direction, zero-sequence current lags relative to
the direction of –V0.
UV-A &

UV-B & Reverse

UV-C &

RevD-A > 1 RevD:Reverse Direction

RevD-B > 1
= Forward
RevD-C > 1
= Phase Selection 3I0

Fig.3.3 Proposed phase selection Fig.4.1 Directional Earth Fault element (DEF)
4.2 Phase selection for directional earth fault Phase A
element VA
It is apparent that a DEF element cannot select the
faulted phase. In the case of a high resistance fault, the θ
shock of the fault to the power system is not very
Phase C
severe, while the effect of 3-phase tripping may
actually be worse than the high resistance fault itself. VB
Therefore single phase tripping is preferable and an
independent phase selection method is necessary to Phase B
provide single phase tripping.

Fig.4.2 is a single line diagram showing a high Fig.4.4 Phase selection element (PSEL)
resistance fault. Fig.4.3 shows the equivalent circuit in
case of an A-phase to earth fault, using sequential PSEL-A t 0
components. In the figures, subscripts A and B show
the terminals and 1, 2, 0 show positive sequence, PSEL-B
t 0 Trip-B
negative sequence, zero sequence respectively. RF is
the fault resistance. It is clear from Fig.4.3 that the &
t 0 Trip-C
angular difference between the faulted phase voltage, Phase selection

which is given by V1F+V2F+V0F, and the fault current DEF-F

(IF) becomes small when the fault resistance is very
high. The factors causing the difference are the line Fig. 4.5 Phase selection for high resistance fault
impedance between the relay’s measuring point and
the fault point, and the angular difference of the two and θ are the sensitivities for the magnitude and
sources. It is also clear that the directions of I0 and IF direction of 3I0 respectively. The faulted phase can be
are almost same. Hence, it can be said that the identified by determining which zone 3I0 is in, as
direction of I0 is close to the direction of the voltage of shown in Fig.4.4. Fig.4.5 shows the phase selection
the faulted phase when fault resistance is very high. logic for high resistance faults using DEF and PSEL.
Fig.4.4 shows a new phase selection element named DEF-F is the forward direction of the DEF in Fig.4.5.
PSEL using the theory described above. In Fig.4.4, Ik It has become possible to trip a single phase even for a
very highly resistive fault by using these methods.
ZA xZL (1-x)ZL ZB


The performance of these new phase selection
methods has been proven by thousands of factory tests
using RTDS and by a large number of CEPRI’s tests
using analogue simulator. This paper introduces the
Fig.4.2 High resistance fault result of CEPRI’s tests.

ZA1 xZ1 (1-x)Z1 ZB1 Fig.5.1 shows CEPRI’s analogue simulator model
EA EB used for the tests. A large number of tests were executed
~ V1F ~ changing the various parameters shown in Table 5.1.

positive-sequence circuit IF The variation of line length and source capacities brings
significant differences of fault conditions, which are
ZA2 xZ2 (1-x)Z2 ZB2 very severe to distance protection.

Relay V2F 5.1 Multiple faults in parallel lines
negative-sequence circuit
A typical impedance condition in the case of
ZA0 I0 xZ0 (1-x)Z0 ZB0 multiple close-up faults in parallel lines has been shown
in the previous sections (Fig.3.2). Actually, the
V0F impedance conditions can vary with following
zero-sequence circuit conditions.
- Load current (i.e. magnitude, sending or receiving)
- The angular relationship between the faulted phase of
Fig. 4.3 Equivalent circuit using sequential components
Table. 5.1 Parameters for tests at the L-term side, and the faulted phase is the leading
Parameters Values phase in this case. (c) shows the case of a 200km model.
The faults occur at the N-term side and the faulted
Line length [km] 400, 200, 45
phase is the lagging phase. The evolving time of this
Source L capacity [MVA] 3000, 10000, 20000
case is shorter than the others. (d) shows the case of
Fault point 0 %, 50 %, 100 % 45km. The faults occur at the N-term side and the
(From N-term ) (0%, 100%: in adjacent line) faulted phase is the lagging phase. The fault current of
N-term L-term reverse fault is larger than that of other cases because
the line is short.
F4(0%) F5(100%)

Source N Source L It can be seen from these figures that the relay is
able to select the faulted phase in the forward direction
F1(0%) F2(50%) F3(100%) and trips single phase successfully in all cases.

N-term Relay L-term Relay

Fig.5.1 Power system simulated by analogue simulator

a forward fault and a reverse fault. (i.e. The phase of a

forward fault is leading or lagging to the phase of a
reverse fault)
- The relationship of magnitude between a forward fault
and a reverse fault. (This is dependent on line length
and on source impedance)
Hence, the validity of the phase selection method for
various conditions can be checked by changing the
parameters shown in Table 5.1 and by varying the
faulted phases, as was done during the CEPRI tests.
Fig. 5.2 shows the results for multiple faults in
parallel lines. In the figures, 3-phase voltages and 3 (a) 400km Sending terminal (b) 400km Receiving terminal
phase currents and internal logic signals are shown.
CEPRI demonstrated multiple faults as evolving faults,
so there is a time difference between the fault inception
of the two faults. Fig.5.2 (a) and (b) show the case of a
400km model. In (a), the forward fault occurs in phase
B and the reverse fault occurs in phase A, which can be
identified by looking at fault current because the
magnitude of the forward fault is much larger than that
of the reverse fault. Hence, the faulted phase is the
lagging phase in this case. This fault occurs at the
N-term side which is the power sending terminal,
although it is difficult to identify that only from this
figure. It is found that following elements operate,
which are shown by bold lines.
1. Z1-AB, Z1-BC (Zone 1 phase-to-phase)
2. Z1-BG (Zone 1 phase-to-earth)
3. UV-A and UV-B (Undervoltage element)
4. Z4 (Reverse fault detection) (c) 200km Sending terminal (d) 45km Sending terminal
5. TRIP-B (Trip signal for the B phase) Fig. 5.2 Test results of multiple faults in parallel lines
It can be seen that the phase selection logic shown in
Fig.3.3 works as expected from these internal logic 5.2 High resistance faults
signals and as result of that the distance relay In the CEPRI tests, the highest resistance is defined
successfully trips only B phase. In (b), the faults occur as 300 ohms. Fig.5.3 shows waveforms of the N-term
side relay the in case where the fault point is F1. The auto reclosing of transmission lines IEEE committee
following can be seen from Fig.5.3. report,” IEEE Trans. Power Delivery, Vol.7, No.1,
- The A-phase current is increased by the fault. pp.182-192, 1992
- The A-phase voltage doesn’t drop.
- DEF in forward direction named DEF-F operates.
- The Relay selects and trips the faulted phase
correctly after the timer (200ms).
Fig.5.4 shows the vectors of the voltages and currents
during the fault as measured by the N-term relay. The
figure on the left shows the relationship between
zero-sequence current (I0) and the phase voltages, and
shows that the direction of I0 is close to the direction
of the A-phase voltage. The right-hand figure shows
the relationship between zero-sequence voltage(V0)
and I0, and shows that the fault is in the forward
direction. Fig.5.3 High resistance fault (F1, N-term)
Fig.5.5 shows the waveforms of the voltages and
currents during the fault as measured by the L-term
relay in the case of a fault at F1. In this case, the
A-phase current is decreased by the fault, because the
L-term is the receiving terminal. Fig.5.6 shows vectors
of currents and voltages. The left-hand figure shows
that the direction of 3I0 is close to the A-phase voltage
which is the faulted phase. It can be seen that the fault
is in forward direction from the right-hand figure. As a
result of that, the relay selects the faulted phase
(a) I0 and phase voltages (b) I0 and V0
Fig.5.4 Vectors in case of the high resistance fault (N-term)

This paper proposes new phase selection methods
for multiple faults in parallel lines and for high
resistance faults. The proposed new methods are based
on careful analysis of the phenomena occurring under
fault conditions. The method is applicable for various
conditions and that has been proven by thousands of
factory tests and CEPRI tests. A sample of the results
of the CEPRI tests are also introduced in this paper.
These new phase selection methods enable distance
relays to be more reliable and easier to apply.
Fig.5.5 High resistance fault (F3, L-term)

[1] Y.Ohura, T.Matsuda, M.Suzuki, F.Andow, Y.Kurosawa,
A.Takeuchi, "A digital distance relay using negative
sequence current," IEEE Trans. Power Delivery, Vol.5,
No.1, pp.79-84, 1990
[2] M.S.Jones, D.W.P.Thoms, C.Christopoulos, "A
non-pilot phase selector based on superimposed
components for protection of double circuit lines," IEEE
Trans. Power Delivery, Vol.12, No.4, pp.1439-1444, 1997 (a) I0 and phase voltages (b) I0 and V0
[3] IEEE PSRC working group, “Single phase tripping and Fig.5.6 Vectors in case of the high resistance fault (L-term)