Secondary Low-Voltage Circuit Models - How Good is Good Enough?

Jouni Peppanen, Celso Rocha, Jason A. Taylor, Roger C. Dugan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Utility power distribution system analysis has traditionally been performed considering only the primary or medium-voltage system. Distributed energy resources are increasingly being located on the secondary, or low voltage, side of the distribution transformer, requiring the low-voltage system to be included in the analysis. However, most distribution system models do not include secondary circuits or they are modeled with limited detail. In the absence of the appropriate model data, secondary circuits models commonly rely on simplifications such as single-phase models, constant power factor, etc. This paper highlights the implications of some of these assumptions and provides guidance in terms of how more accurate secondary models are needed. This paper shows that split-phase secondary circuits can be modeled accurately with single-phase equivalents under perfectly balanced conditions. It also shows that assuming constant power factor or using smart meter measurements with practical 15 min, or larger, time granularity can lead to considerable errors in simulated secondary circuit losses or voltages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8070370
Pages (from-to)150-159
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Power distribution
  • power distribution planning
  • power system measurements
  • power system modeling
  • power system simulation


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