Critical Power Utility Equipment Used in Electrical Power Systems

  • 04 Feb, 2020

Electrical power system is basically a complete network of electrical components and helps in transmitting, supplying, and using electrical power. In simple words, an electrical power system is a grid that supplies power to an extended area and can be divided into generation, transmission, and distribution. Equipment used in such a system to perform these functions (generation, transmission, and distribution) are referred to as power utility equipment.

There is a whole wide range of power utility equipment and some of them are mentioned below:

1. Electrical Substations: They are like the heart of an electrical power system and contain critical components that require protection and constant monitoring. They are crucial to withstand transient voltage and provide critical information. Their primary purpose is to step down voltage so that it can easily supply it from transmission systems to homes and businesses.

2. Electrical Power Transformers: Power transformer is power utility equipment used for mains power interfacing. They are used in distribution systems to interface between step-up and step-down voltages. Power transformers are different from other types of transformers as they are designed to meet regulatory requirements and work at mains voltages and relatively high currents.

3. Lightning Arrestors: Also called a lightning diverter, it is a device installed for electrical power systems and telecommunication devices to protect insulation and conductors against the lightning effects. It redirects or diverts the abnormal high voltage to the ground without making any impact on the power supply.

4. Capacitor Banks: The main function of capacitor banks is to store and smooth out the electrical energy. Their scope of usage has been expanded hugely. While they were only used in public power substations before, now they are used in various applications right from nano-sized MEMS devices to ocean-based wind-farm substations.

5. Electrical Reactors: The primary purpose of installing switchyard reactors is to make the whole power system stable. There is a broad range of electrical reactors available in the market to suit different applications and requirements. Shunt Reactor, Line reactor, Load reactor, Dampening Reactor, Tuning Reactor, and Smoothing reactor are a few examples of electrical reactors used in electrical utilities.

6. Electrical Isolators: They are widely used in power grids and substations in order to isolate high voltage apparatuses such as transformers and circuit breakers so that maintenance work can be performed with ease. Sometimes, they are also used as switches.

7. Electrical Relays: They are low-powered devices and can be used to start/activate high-powered systems. Besides, they are also used to trigger circuit breakers and other switches present in substations or electrical distribution systems.

8. Bus Bars: These are metallic bars housed within switchgear, panels, and busway enclosures to distribute local high current power. In short, their main application is electrical power distribution systems.

9. Circuit Breakers: They are meant for providing protection to electrical circuits or systems against the damages caused by excess current either from overload or short-circuit.

10. Insulators: Insulators are mainly used for transmission and overhead power lines. In case overhead power lines are not insulated properly from the support poles or towers, the current will be directed towards ground via poles/towers which is extremely dangerous. Therefore, power lines are supported on insulators mounted on poles/towers.

11. Conductors: Overhead power lines are used for transmitting electrical energy across large distances and widely implemented for electrical power transmission and distribution. These lines are made up of one or more conductors (generally a multiple of three) that are suspended from towers or poles.

Each of them plays a critical role in power generation, transmission, and distribution systems.