Distribution Management Systems

7.1 Introduction

Electricity distribution networks connect the high-voltage transmission system to users. Conventional distribution networks have been developed over the past 70 years to accept bulk power from the transmission system and distribute it to customers; generally they have unidirectional power flows. The Smart Grid is a radical reappraisal of the function of distribution networks to include:

  • integration of Distributed Energy Resources;
  • active control of load demand;
  • more effective use of distribution network assets.

Distribution systems are extensive and complex and so they are difficult to monitor, control, analyse and manage. Table 7.1 shows some of the factors that contribute to the complexity of distribution systems.

Real-time monitoring and remote control are very limited in today's electricity distribution systems and so there is a need for intervention by the system operators particularly during widespread faults and system emergencies. However, it is difficult to deal with such a complex system through manual procedures.

A Distribution Management System (DMS) is a collection of Applications used by the Distribution Network Operators (DNO) to monitor, control and optimise the performance of the distribution system and is an attempt to manage its complexity. The ultimate goal of a DMS is to enable a smart, self-healing distribution system and to provide improvements in: supply reliability and quality, efficiency and effectiveness ...

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