Dec 2011
Electricity Distribution
Low Voltage Current Sensor Technology Evaluation
Dec 2011
Jun 2013
Western Power Distribution
UKPN Innovation Team
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LCN Fund Tier 1
Network Monitoring
As GB's distribution networks migrate to a smarter grid, there is an increasing requirement to improve the visibility of the Low Voltage (LV) network. There is currently limited monitoring of the low voltage distribution network and as customers change their usage habits and more renewable generation connects to the network it is imperative that we are aware of and understand the impact it will have.

The project direction from Ofgem for Western Power Distribution's Tier 2 Network Templates project resulted in a consultation with the other DNOs to see if there were alternative methods of obtaining current measurements without the need for customer interruption. The responses to this consultation were all very constructive, but there were no products identified which could adequately replace the use of fixed ring current transformers in the timescales of the project. The alternatives were either too costly, or were not available in the quantities required for this project.

UK Power Networks was separately investigating commercially available LV monitoring solutions that do not require customers to be interrupted during installation. The two DNOs decided to collaborate to evaluate a range of LV monitoring solutions under laboratory conditions at the National Physical Laboratory and in the field on their low voltage networks, equipping at total of 28 substations with sensors from 7 different manufacturers.

The project aims to:

  • Evaluate innovative current sensor technologies in a controlled laboratory environment and field situations

  • Evaluate sensors from 7 manufacturers and the field trials will last for 12 months

  • The objective is to generate knowledge of LV monitoring techniques enabling wider roll-outs to facilitate a low carbon future and minimising disruption to customers

  • A full report detailing the results of individual tests, and a comparative assessment will be produced.