A Cost-Effective Solution for Clearing High-Impedance Ground Faults in Overhead Low-Voltage Lines

Rossano Musca, Gaetano Zizzo, Massimo Mitolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Downed distribution conductors in overhead distribution systems may not be a concern for equipment but greatly challenge the safety of persons, as well as the integrity of properties. Standard overcurrent protective devices may not be able to detect the magnitudes of currents resulting from high-impedance ground faults. Sophisticated relays able to detect high-impedance ground faults have been available to electric utilities. However, their implementation is rather uncommon, especially in developing countries, most likely due to their costs. In this paper, the authors formalize the problem, and propose a possible cost-effective solution for low-voltage overhead lines with neutral wire. This solution consists of a metal hook underneath the line conductors, attached to the pole and connected to the neutral wire. In the case of a falling line, the hook would be contacted and a line-to-neutral short circuit would occur; this would positively activate existing standard overcurrent devices, which can therefore disconnect the supply. Costs related to the installation of the device to existing overhead lines are herein analyzed. The effectiveness of the proposed solutions for two different voltage levels (400 V in European countries and 240 V in the USA) is also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1208-1213
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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