Power distribution utilities often use impedance-based methods for locating faults along their feeders. For feeders with laterals, these techniques may identify different possible locations for the same fault. This leads to higher costs and longer restoration time. In order to improve impedance-based methods, faulted-circuit indicators (FCI) can be allocated along the feeder to reduce, or even eliminate, the uncertainty about the fault location. This paper proposes a technique for optimally allocating a given number of FCIs along distribution feeders using the Chu-Beasley genetic algorithm to solve the optimization problem. The proposed objective functions measure the number of locations that are suspected to be the actual fault location or the distance among them. Additionally, it is possible to consider the presence of priority areas. We present results for the IEEE 34-bus system and for a 475-bus actual system. The results show the effectiveness of the proposed technique in improving impedance-based fault location methods. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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