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Determining an Optimal Number of Spares for

Hydro One 230/115 kv Auto-transformers

G. A. Hamoud, SMIEEE P. Zhao, SMIEEE
Hydro One Inc. Hydro One Inc.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada Toronto Ontario, Canada
gomaa.hamoud@HydroOne.com peter.zhao@HydroOne.com

Abstract – A reliability study has been performed recently at based on Markov models for determining the optimal number
Hydro One to evaluate the optimal numbers of spare of spare units for a given population of transformers used in
transformers required for 250 MVA and 125 MVA, 230/115 kv, transmission stations.
3 phase auto-transformers of the Hydro One’s transmission
system. In this study, a probabilistic method based on a Markov
A reliability study was performed in 2003 [10] to determine
model and a bulk power reliability program was developed in
determining the number of spare units for each group of auto- the numbers of spare auto-transformers required for 250
transformers. The purpose of this paper is to describe the MVA and 125 MVA, 230/115 kv, 3 phase auto-transformers
assessment approach used in the study and to present the study of the Hydro One transmission system. The study used a
findings and its recommendations. benefit/cost analysis approach in determining the required
numbers of spares. The following assumptions were made in
Index Terms- Auto-transformer, spare units, Markov model, the study:
reliability assessment of bulk power system, probability of
failure, failure consequences, system availability, benefit/cost - No power flow models were used in the assessment of
the failure consequences.
- Approximate load duration curves were used to estimate
potential load cuts for multi-unit stations.
- All generators connected to the 115 kV transmission
High voltage auto-transformer stations in bulk transmission
network were not considered.
systems are normally designed to withstand the failure of one
- Power transfers between 115 kv areas through normally
unit or two units without shedding customer’s loads.
open lines were allowed before cutting any loads.
Therefore, the loss of one auto-transformer at any transformer
station may not be a concern to utilities from the reliability
The study findings suggested that two spare auto-
point of view. On the other hand, the loss of one unit at a
transformers are required for each group of the auto-
transformer station may result in generation rescheduling and
therefore an increase in the system energy production costs.
In other situations, the loss of two units at the same station
At present, there are 53, 250 MVA auto-transformers and
may result not only in generation rescheduling but also in
31, 125 MVA auto-transformers on the Hydro One’s bulk
load shedding.
transmission system. In terms of spare units, there are 2
spare units for the 250 MVA group and one spare unit for the
The failure of auto-transformers can be of two types: minor
125 MVA group. Since 2003, there have been many changes
(or Class II failures) and major (Class I failures). Class II
to the transmission system network, system generation,
failures are of short duration and are repaired on site and are
system load and the number of auto-transformers on the
covered by system planning criteria. On the other hand,
system. The purpose of this study is to review the adequacy
Class I failures are of long duration and can not be easily
of the current spare policy for the two groups of auto-
repaired on site and failed units may be repaired or replaced
transformers following the various system changes.
depending on unit conditions resulted from the failure. It has
been a practice in the utility industry to carry spare units for a
group of similar auto-transformers in service to avoid
extended customer interruption or impaired system operating
Two criteria are used in the current study to determine the
conditions. Determining how many spare units are needed
number of spare transformers for each group of auto-
has been a big challenge for transmission companies.
transformers. The 1st criterion assumes that spare units are
added to the population, one at a time, until a pre-determined
More work has been done in the area of the spare
level of group availability is reached or the group availability
transformer requirements for distribution stations [1]-[7]. On
saturates. The 2nd criterion is based on the minimization of
the other hand, some work has been reported in the area of
the total system cost (cost of carrying spares and outage costs
spare transformer requirements for transmission stations.
resulting from transformer failures). The required number of
References [8] and [9] presented some probabilistic methods

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spare transformers (optimal number) is determined when the Nj = Number of units in Group 2.
total system cost is minimum.
B. Complicated Method (both Failure Probabilities and
Depending on the assessment criterion used, the method of Failure Consequences are Required)
assessment can be simple or complicated. The simple method
involves only the calculation of the probability of Class I This method requires the calculations of both the
transformer failures while the complicated method involves probability of failures and the failure consequences. The
the calculations of both the probability of failures and the probability of failures is evaluated by the simple method. The
failure consequences. The two methods are discussed in brief failure consequences are calculated with the help of the
as follows: Hydro One’s PROCOSE program [11] (Probabilistic
Composite System Evaluation program). The calculation is
A. Simple Method (only Failure Probabilities are Required)) done on a monthly basis and involves the following steps:

This method requires the calculation of probabilities of 1. Establish a system base case using PROCOSE. In this
Class I transformer failures. These failure probabilities are base case, generation is dispatched economically and all
obtained using the Markov model of [8]. 250 MVA and 125 MVA, 3 phase auto-transformers are
assumed to be in service and all critical transmission
A transformer station with more than one unit is normally network interfaces including the auto-transformer ratings
designed to withstand the loss of one unit at any time without are observed.
overloading the remaining units. However, the loss of the 2. Obtain from the base case results, the system expected
second unit at the same station could result in overloads at the MW cut and the system average hourly production cost.
same station or in nearby stations. Therefore, remedial These system quantities are computed under the
actions such as generation rescheduling and/or load shedding assumptions that the transmission system remains intact
are taken to alleviate overloads. and system generators can fail. In addition, the computed
system quantities can change under different generation
The probabilities of having one Class I failure (T1) and two dispatches.
Class I failures (T2) at one station are given by: 3. Select one transformer station and run PROCOSE cases
with one transformer and two transformers out of service
T1 = (m/N/) P1 (1) to compute the system expected MW cut and the system
average hourly production cost.
T2 = (mc2 /Nc2) P2 (2) 4. Use the results in Steps 2 and 3 to obtain the changes
Where: (only increases) in the system expected MW cut and in
the system average hourly production cost.
P1= Probability of having N-1 units in service 5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for other transformer stations
P2= Probability of having N-2 in service 6. Repeat the above steps for some overlap outages of two
m =Number of units at the station transformers at different stations in the same local area.
N =Number of units at all stations
c2 = Number of ways a pair of units can be formed from a It should be mentioned that in most cases, the loss of one
population of m units and is equal to m (m-1)/2. auto-transformer at any multi-unit station would have no
c2 = Number of ways a pair of units can be formed from a impacts on customers. On the other hand, the loss of two
population of N units and is equal to N (N-1)/2. auto-transformers at one station or the loss of two at two
stations supplying one 115 kv local area could result in an
The probability of the overlap of two Class I failures at overload of the remaining units or in an island. The overload
Stations i and j, T2ij, in the same transformer group is given problems can be solved by rescheduling generation in the 115
by: kv local area if any exists or by cutting loads. In case of
islanding, the entire 115 kv local area load will be lost if it
T2ij = (1 /Nc2) P2 (3) can not be transferred to neighbouring areas. On the other
hand, if transmission ties exist between the 115 kv affected
The probability of the overlap of two Class I failures at area and its neighbouring areas, the entire area load or portion
Stations i and j, T2ij, in two different transformer groups is of it can be transferred. The amount of load cuts computed by
given by: PROCOSE under a given contingency should be adjusted to
reflect the amount of load transfer.
T2ij = P1i P1j/Ni Nj (4)

P1i = Probability of having one Class I failure in Group 1 In this study, both assessment criteria are used in
P1j = Probability of having one Class I failure in Group 2 determining the optimal number of spare units for each group
Ni = Number of units in Group 1

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of auto-transformers. The assessment procedure associated APC1i = Increase in system average hourly production
with each criterion is now described. cost with one failure at Station i
T2i = Probability of having two failures at Station i
A. Using the Group Availability Criterion T2ij = Probability of losing two units one at Station i and
one Station j
The group availability used in this study is defined as the MWC2i = Increase in system expected MW cut with two
probability of having all units up and running. The option of failures at Station i
saturating the group availability is selected. The assessment APC2i = Increase in system average hourly production
procedure involves the following steps: cost with two failures at Station i
APC2ij = Increase in system average hourly production
1. Use the Markov model of [8] with no spares to compute cost with two failures at Station i and Station j
the group availability. MWC2ij = Increase in system expected MW cut with two
2. Add one spare unit to the group and calculate the group failures at Station i and Station j
availability. Check the group availability to see whether k = Number of transformer stations in the population
the calculated availability saturates or not. If it saturates N = Number of units in the group
(i.e. the group availability remains almost unchanged as CIC = Customer interruption cost in $/MWh
the number of spare units increases), stop the process
because the addition of more spare units would not help. with i and j in the 3rd term of Equation (5) belonging to
The number of optimal spare will be equal to the number different stations.
of spares at this particular stage. If it does not saturate,
add more spare units. 5. Estimate the annual cost of carrying spare units for each
group using the following expression:
B. Using a Total Cost Optimization Criterion
ACCS = M *C* RCC (6)
In this case, the required number of spare units is
determined using a cost optimization method. The cost Where:
involved has two components: the cost of carrying spare units
and the outage cost resulting from transformer outages. ACCS = Annual cost of carrying spares
M = Number of spare units
The assessment process involves the following steps: C = Cost of one spare unit
RCC = Rate of carrying charge.
1. Calculate, for each station in each group, the
consequences of the loss of one transformer and two 6. Calculate the total cost by adding (5) and (6).
transformers. 7. Repeat Steps 3 to 8 with a different number of spares.
2. Calculate, for some selected stations, the consequences 8. Use the above results for each group to obtain the
of the loss of two transformers at two different stations in number of spares that has the minimal total cost.
the same local area whether the two transformers belong
to one group or both. The 1st term in Equation (5) represents the outage cost due
3. Calculate T1, T2 and T2ij using Equations (1), (2), (3) to the loss of any single unit. The 2nd term represents the
and (4) assuming no spare units. outage cost due to the loss of two units at the same station.
4. Calculate the annual risk cost (customer interruption The 3rd term represents the outage cost due to the loss of two
cost) for each group using the following expression: units at two different stations.

N In Equation (5), if unit outages belong to two transformer

ARC = Σ D T1i [MWC1i *CIC + APC1i ] + groups, the outage cost is split equally between the two
i=1 groups.
Σ D T2i [MWC2i *CIC + APC2i ] + Equation (6) can be modified to include other costs such as
i the cost of maintaining spare transformers if necessary.
j≠i i=1
Where: A. Generation System

ARC = Annual risk cost in dollars The current generation system with no coal-fired plants was
T1i = Probability of having one failure at Station i used in the study. Some generating units were modelled
D = Length of study period in hours (8760 hours) deterministically and others were modeled probabilistically.
MWC1i = Increase in system expected MW cut with one
failure at Station i

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B. Transmission System The criterion of saturating the group availability,
probability of no failures, was used in the assessment. Tables
The present Hydro One’s transmission system with all III and IV show the probabilities of no failures, one failure
elements in service was used in the study as a base case. The and two failures for two transformer groups with 0, 1, 2 and 3
115 kv transmission network was divided into pockets (local spares. Table III shows that the probability of no failures for
areas) and each pocket is interconnected to the 230 kv the 250 MVA group saturates at .98 when the number of
transmission network by one or more auto-transformer spare units is 2. For the 125 MVA group, the group
stations. The pockets may be interconnected by lines that are availability with no failures saturates at .94 as seen from
operated open under normal system conditions. Under some Table IV when the number of spare unit is two.
system outage conditions, the lines can be closed so that
some pocket loads can be transferred between the pockets. In It should be mentioned that the impact of transformer
addition, some pockets may contain local generators which outages at various stations on the system expected MW cut
supply part of the pocket load.
and the system average hourly production cost can vary
The 250 MVA group has 53 units while the 125 MVA significantly among the various stations under a given
group has 31 units. generation dispatch. In this assessment, it was assumed that
only one generation dispatch (most likely one) is used and a
C. System load spare unit is used at any one of the stations regardless of the
value of the outage impact. The results of outage
A system annual peak load of 25,000 MW with a load consequences assessment at various stations were not
factor around 70 % was assumed. The load is distributed at
reported in this paper due the paper limited space.
various buses in the base case power flow. The hourly load
profile for the city of Toronto was assumed for the entire
The results of the benefit/cost analysis approach for the 250
MVA group with 0, 1, 2 and 3 spare units are shown in Table
V. As seen from Table V, the annual increase in system
V. Study Assumptions and Data Used
production costing is much smaller than the annual increase
in customer interruption costs. It is seen from Table V that
The system operating costs are influenced by a number of
the minimum total annual cost occurs when the number of
factors such as the system load, system generators and their
spare units is two.
costs and network conditions. The study has made the

1. A summary of unit reliability indices used in the study is 250 MVA 125 MVA
provided in Table I (Based on Hydro One’s experience Group Group
No. of units 53 31
over the last 14 years).
Class I annual unit failure rate .00292 .005044
2. Single and double outages of auto-transformers are Unit repair or lead time in years 1.5 1.5
considered in the assessment. Spare unit installation time in days 35 130
3. Spare transformer units are used at any one of the
stations considered in the study even if there are no TABLE II OTHER RELEAVANT DATA
outage consequences. The outage consequences at a
Cost of one 250 MVA spare unit $ 2.5 million
particular station are unknown until the consequences Cost of one 125 MVA spare unit $ 1.8 million
assessment is done. If transformer outages at a station are Annual discount rate in % 5
known in advance to have no impact on the computed Average customer interruption cost 10 $/KWh
quantities, then the station should be excluded in the No. of repair teams More than 1
spare assessment. No. of installation teams 1
4. Study period of one year is considered in the assessment.
5. In case of islanding, 50 % of the area or pocket load will MVA GROUP
be transferred to neghbouring pockets if normally open
lines exist between them. Case Probability Probability of Probability of
of no One Failure Two Failures
Failures (P1) (P2)
Table II provides information about other relevant data 0 spare .783077917 .193404584 .023517499
used in the assessment. 1 spare .962728836 .035173341 .002097823
2 spares .983495686 .016178589 .000325725
VI. STUDY RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 3 spares .98507467 .014707156 .000218174

The results for the two criteria used in the assessment are
now discussed. Table VI provides a summary of the benefit/cost analysis
for the 125 MVA group with 0, 1, 2 and 3 spare units. It is

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seen from Table VI that the minimum total annual cost occurs The study uses a probabilistic method based on a Markov
when the number of spare units is one. model for computing the probability of transformer failures
and utilizes the Hydro One’s PROCOSE program for
evaluating the failure consequences.
Based on the study assumptions and data used in the
Case Probability of Probability of Probability of assessment, the following conclusions and recommendations
no Failures One Failure Two Failures can be drawn from the study findings:
(P1) (P2)
0 spare .750470061 .217814395 .031715544
1 spare .924054752 .070681696 .005263553 1. It is justified, based on the availability criterion
2 spares .943208812 .053381755 .0029736 (availability saturates) to carry two spares for the 250
3 spares .944499382 .0526598 .00284079 MVA group and two spares for the 125 MVA group.
2. It is justifiled, based on the minimum cost criterion to
carry two spares for the 250 MVA group and one for the
Number Annual Annual Annual Increase Total
3. The sensitivity analysis results show that the number of
of Carrying Increase in in Customer Annual spare units could be two for each group for most of the
Spares Cost in $k Production Interruption cost in cases studied.
Cost in $k Cost in $k $k 4. Due to uncertainties in the system parameters used and
0 0 5.37 2351.26 2356.63
1 125 .32 329.83 455.15
the amounts of power that can be transferred between the
2 250 .11 123.97 374.08 stations, it is recommended to carry two spare units for
3 375 .10 109.42 484.42 each group of the auto-transformers.

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Number Annual Annual Annual Total
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The results also show that the number of spare units for the [8] G. Hamoud,” Assessment of spare transformer requirements for high
125 MVA using both criteria is two for most of the cases voltage load stations,” PES General Meeting, 2012.
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voltage auto-transformer spare requirements in bulk transmission
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In summary, the two criteria should be used to complement June 6 – 10, pages 434 – 439.
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The paper describes the reliability study that has been System Evaluation”, 14th Inter-RAM Conference for the Electric
performed at Hydro One to review the adequacy of the Power Industry, Toronto, May 26-29, 1987.
current spare numbers for the 230/115 kv, 3 phase auto-
transformers of the Hydro One’s bulk transmission system.

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