Field experience with high-impedance fault detection relays Conference Paper uri icon


  • High-impedance, arcing faults (HiZ faults) are a perennial problem for distribution systems. They typically occur when overhead conductors break and fall, but fail to achieve a sufficiently low-impedance path to draw significant fault current. As a result, conventional protection cannot clear them, resulting in situations that are hazardous both to personnel and to property. Texas A&M researchers spent two decades characterizing HiZ faults and developing and testing algorithms for detecting them. In the mid 1990's, General Electric commercialized the algorithms in a relay for detecting a large percentage of these faults, while maintaining security against false operations. In an effort to mitigate problems associated with these faults, Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco) installed the HiZ relays. They evaluated the performance of these relays on 280 feeders over a period of two years and gained significant operational experience with them. Being the first utility to apply high-impedance fault detection technology on such a widespread basis makes Pepco's experience valuable to other utilities that are struggling with decisions regarding their own response to the problem of high-impedance faults. 2006 IEEE.

name of conference

  • 59th Annual Conference for Protective Relay Engineers, 2006.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Depew, A. C., Parsick, J. M., Dempsey, R. W., Benner, C. L., Russell, B. D., & Adamiak, M. G.

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Depew, Alvin C||Parsick, Jason M||Dempsey, Robert W||Benner, Carl L||Russell, B Don||Adamiak, Mark G

publication date

  • January 2006