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Electric Power Systems Research 46 (1998) 59 – 66

Service restoration in compensated distribution networks using a

hybrid genetic algorithm
A. Augugliaro *, L. Dusonchet, E. Riva Sanseverino
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Elettrica, Uni6ersità di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, 90128 Palermo, Italy

Received 10 April 1997; received in revised form 22 January 1998; accepted 26 January 1998


In this paper a genetic algorithm (GA) based approach to the service restoration (SR) problem in automated distribution
networks is presented. Normal operation within the network comprises both automatic reconfiguration and compensation so as
to reduce power losses, allow load balancing and improve the voltage profile. In the restorative state, the reconfiguration is
performed together with compensation, taking mainly into account the load supply requirement and secondarily, the losses
reduction requirement. After a general discussion on the restoration problem together with a short review of recent papers on the
topic, a solution strategy is proposed. Then, a short account about classical GA searching mechanism is reported in order to
emphasize the difficulties arising from the application of a classical GA to the restoration problem. Therefore, the hybridization
strategy of the GA is presented in depth, with particular regard to the description of some new operators, of the objective function
and of the constraints expression. Finally, test results and concluding remarks are reported. © 1998 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights

Keywords: Service restoration; Distribution networks; Hybrid genetic algorithm

1. Introduction In the restorative state, loss reduction, such as meet-

ing other normal operating state constraints, becomes
Radial network reconfiguration allows cost-effective secondary; they can be taken into account only after
and efficient electrical systems planning and operation. having provided service to the maximum number of
Indeed, in the planning phase, network reconfiguration de-energized loads. The above-mentioned objectives can
can be undertaken to delay network reinforcement and be integrated into a unique optimization strategy which
in a normal operating state, it allows improvement of emphasizes one or the other aspect, depending on the
efficiency, reduction of power losses and provision of difference between the amount of power supply still
load balancing. A number of tie-switches must then be available at HV/MV substations and the amount of
controlled during normal operation in order to achieve power required by disconnected loads (in what follows,
the stated objectives. When a network element is out of this difference is called the ‘power margin’). Compensa-
service, reconfiguration can be performed in order to tion can still be performed during service restoration,
restore as many loads as possible. influencing the new network configuration and the new
A supervisory control system comprises and orga- load setting. Furthermore, loss reduction achieved
nizes real-time control operations in the network. Reac- through compensation and reconfiguration increases
tive load compensation, through remote capacitor bank the power margin, making it possible to supply more
control, is one of these. A suitable compensation system customers.
setting can reduce losses and helps to meet the voltage An efficient approach to the service restoration prob-
profile constraint. lem in radial distribution networks equipped with auto-
mated systems for compensation and reconfiguration is
presented here. A solution strategy of the mentioned
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +39 91 6566111; fax: + 39 91 problem should then lead to a solution consisting of:
488452; e-mail: (i) a particular radial configuration; (ii) a particular

0378-7796/98/$19.00 © 1998 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.

PII S0378-7796(98)00025-X
60 A. Augugliaro et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 46 (1998) 59–66

compensation level; and (iii) a particular set of de-ener- configuration providing service to all the customers,
gized loads pertaining to the set of low-priority cus- unless technical constraints are not met. In the latter
tomers1 (high priority customers are not considered as situation, as well as in the second case, it is necessary to
variables of the restoration problem). have power supplied from neighboring substations, at-
The problem variables are the status of the tie- tempting not to overload the nearby elements.
switches (open-closed), of capacitor banks (on-off) and In a compensated network, the restoration strategy
of loads (energized/de-energized). Since digital strings performs reconfiguration in order to reach the loads in
represent these sets of status, the faced optimization the out of service area and the compensation in order
problem is intrinsically combinatorial. Therefore, an to achieve more real power supply at HV/MV substa-
evolutionary and heuristic strategy can be a feasible tion. The service restoration problem has been widely
approach. studied in the literature; this tendency has been recently
Evolutionary strategies provide good sub-optimal so- rising, due to the spreading application of enhanced
lutions having beneficial effects on the stated objectives, automation and computation technologies in distribu-
in a reasonable computation time. In this paper, a tion system operation.
genetic algorithm (GA) whose evolutionary strategy has In Ref. [1] a large review of 38 papers, published
been adapted is presented and its implementation is between 1987 and 1994, is presented and discussed.
described in detail. Later studies [2–6] confirm the general scenario de-
This paper is organized as follows. In Section 2, a picted in [1], with regard to the solution methods. In
general discussion on the restoration problem is re- none of the cited papers is any mathematically rigid
ported together with a short review of recent papers on optimization methodology proposed. Heuristics and AI
the subject. In Section 3, a solution strategy for a techniques are widely used and the restorative solution
distribution network, where the control of reactive is provided by means of a reconfiguration of the
flows and of tie-switches can be performed automati- network.
cally, is developed. In Section 4, a short account about This paper deals with the service restoration problem
classical GA searching mechanism is reported. The when available power is less than demand. The solution
hybridization strategy of the GA is presented in Section is obtained through the alternate application of two
5, with particular regard to the description of some new reconfiguration strategies based both on maximum ser-
operators, of the objective function and of constraints vice restoration and on loss minimization. Compensa-
expression. Test results and conclusions are reported in tion is achieved through both steps. Loss reduction has
Sections 6 and 7, respectively. little importance if the power margin is greater than the
least de-energized load, but it becomes the leading
criterion if substations are no-longer capable of provid-
ing service to customers. The logical steps building up
2. The Restoration problem in distribution networks the strategy are shown in Fig. 2.
Radial network configurations have many advan-
tages in the normal operation state (protection and
alarm devices are simple and reliable), but they are not 3. Problem formulation
as reliable in outage conditions. The failure of one
element affects the areas below. Consequently, some The tested distribution system is a radial network,
branches equipped with tie-switches connecting differ- where both reconfiguration and compensation for loss
ent areas of the network have to be planned beforehand
and their insertion, in an outage operation state, allows
the restoration of supply in the areas below the faulted
point using the power available at the adjacent feeders
and substations. This process aims at transferring loads
to other supporting distribution feeders (Fig. 1).
Permanent faults in a distribution network can either
concern MV feeders or HV/MV substations. In the first
case, it is usually possible to find a new network

In the restorative state, when the available power at substations is
not sufficient to supply all the de-energized loads, it is necessary to
de-energize some of the loads. Customers whose disconnection pro-
duces risks to human life or great financial loss are excluded from this
set. Therefore, the loads that can be disconnected temporarily can be Fig. 1. The usually opened tie-switches allow transferral of loads from
called ‘low-priority’ customers. one feeder to the other and from one substation to the other.
A. Augugliaro et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 46 (1998) 59–66 61

Fig. 2. Service restoration strategy.

reduction can be performed automatically in the nor- stations rather than providing active power supply
mal operating state. The new algorithm has then been through loss reduction.
used to find a restorative solution when a permanent On the basis of the considerations above, the pro-
fault occurs. Depending on the fault location and seri- posed restorative strategy is organized into two parts.
ousness, it may be necessary simply to change the The first one is activated while some loads still remain
network configuration, relying upon the load capacity de-energized. In this phase, the main objective is to
of the surrounding network elements, or even to restore supply as many customers as possible and secondarily,
the service in the affected areas from different source to reduce losses through compensation of reactive
points. Permanent faults taking place in HV/MV sub- flows. The second part is activated when there is no
stations are usually quite serious. In this case, during more power availability at HV/MV substations. In this
the restorative state, compensation importance lies in situation, loss reduction becomes the primary objective
reducing the reactive contribution required from sub- achievable through both reconfiguration and compen-
62 A. Augugliaro et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 46 (1998) 59–66

sation. If the power contribution so obtained is large is usually composed of three genetic operators: selec-
enough to supply some other customers, the first part tion, crossover and mutation. In the selection proce-
of the strategy is again activated. dure, individual strings are copied according to their
The final solution may not provide service restora- objective function values. This means that strings with
tion in the whole affected area. Apart from that, the a high fitness value have a higher probability of con-
proposed strategy does not consider high priority cus- tributing one or more offspring in the next generation.
tomers as control variables; it is assumed that they After selection, crossover is applied. This operator aims
should never be de-energized. As a result, the restora- at mixing up genetic information coming from two
tive solution different individuals to make a new individual. Apply-
“ provides supply to the maximum number of cus- ing this operator may be of benefit, but could also
tomers; and provoke a worsening in offspring quality. In addition,
“ allows loss reduction; the results of the combination of two, even very good,
while meeting the following constraints: individuals are not predictable. What can be said about
“ network elements operate within their load capacity; crossover is that its application is not effective when
“ the voltage magnitude at each node lies within the generations are not diversified. This usually happens
permissible range; and after a number of generations and in this case, muta-
“ the network is operated with a radial topology. tion is required. This operator randomly changes one
bit in the string and it is applied with a probability,
which has been set in the initialization phase. Flatten-
4. Genetic algorithms ing of quality at a high value usually happens at the
end of the search process, but if no artificial diversifica-
Genetic algorithms (GAs) [7,8] are search techniques, tion operator, such as mutation, is used, premature
emulating species evolution through generations. The convergence to local optima is possible.
most important aspects in the genetic approach are the The potential of GAs lies in their ability to process a
following: large quantity of information through simple operators
“ GAs search from a population of points, not a single such as selection, crossover and mutation. The stopping
point; criterion can either be the execution of a given number
“ GAs use objective function’s value and information, of iterations or when a predefined heuristic ending
not derivatives or other auxiliary knowledge; and condition is met.
“ GAs work with a coding of the parameter set not the GAs are search processes, which can be applied to
parameters themselves. unconstrained problems. Constraints may be included
The main steps in the GA procedure are given below. into the fitness function as added penalty terms. The
main drawback of these search processes is that a huge
4.1. Parameter set coding computational effort is required, especially when the
fitness function is difficult to evaluate.
The decision parameters, which in the SR problem
are intrinsically digital, are coded into a finite length 5. GA hybridization for service restoration
GAs used as function optimizers behave in an effi-
4.2. Initialisation cient manner if the reproductive operators are able to
create feasible solutions themselves. Sometimes, it is not
A first set of solutions (individuals) is randomly easy to include constraints into the fitness function
generated and the GA control parameters are set (num- expression. In the SR problem, the solutions of which
ber of individuals, number of generations, crossover are different basically due to the network configuration,
percentage,…). the compensation level and the set of de-energized
loads, it is necessary to take into account the following
4.3. Objecti6e function e6aluation statements:
“ whatever is the open/close configuration of tie-
Each solution (individual) is evaluated through the switches, radiality is not guaranteed;
fitness function. This function is related to the objective “ the number of open tie-switches should be equivalent
function and to the constraints expression. to the number of independent loops in the network,
but this condition is not itself a guarantee for radial-
4.4. Population reproduction ity; and
“ whatever the compensation level and the load set-
Individuals taking part in successive generations are ting, the topological feasibility of solutions is not
obtained through the reproductive process. This process affected.
A. Augugliaro et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 46 (1998) 59–66 63

Since the radiality constraint has to be met through The form of the fitness function depends on the
the search process, genetic operators in their classical activated strategy. When the available power is suffi-
version cannot be applied to the whole solution string, cient to fulfil load demand or the power margin is less
since a part of it contains information about the current than the least de-energized load, it is expressed as:
configuration (status of the set of tie-switches in the
network). f.f.= (1)
Specific knowledge about the parameter domain and DP + Pen+ Pend − e
the optimization problem may help the definition of where DP are active power losses in the network; Pen
new operators and of some heuristic rules. In this way, are penalties for overloading of branches and HV/MV
the search process can be fruitfully addressed by some transformers and for bus voltages out of the prescribed
of these, also in order to maintain topological feasibility limits; and Pend-e is the penalty term for de-energized
of solutions. Furthermore, logical links among the three loads.
sets of parameters (status of tie-switches, capacitor Instead, if load demand is greater than available
banks and loads) can be introduced and implemented. power and power margin is greater than the least
The proposed GA hybridization consists of the alter- de-energized load, the fitness function is expressed as

: ;
ation of some genetic operators and the creation of follows:
some new ones. As it mentioned in Section 3, a fault
1 1 1
occurring at one of the HV/MV substations is certainly
one of the most serious. In the following, the proposed DP exp(Ad − e/AT) Pen+ Pend − e
f.f.= , + (2)
methodology is described with regard to this type of DPm
fault. The tested distribution network comprises: where D°P are power losses in relative values, referred
“ NSS HV/MV substations;
to the total currently supplied loads; and D°Pm are
“ NL load-buses (HV/MV transformers; MV loads),
power losses, calculated with all the tie-switches in
NLD of these are low priority customers, i.e. they can
closed position and in relative values, referred to the
be de-energized;
total amount of load (energized and de-energized).
“ NB branches, NS of these can be sectionalized; and
It is now important to notice that the use of relative
“ NQ capacitor banks connected at NC buses (more
values for power losses is of basic importance, since it
than one bank can be connected to the same node).
appropriately weights the power losses terms. If they
The proposed strategy is organized into two different
were expressed in absolute values, they would have a
parts, each of which may be activated depending on (a)
negative influence on the fitness function, bringing its
the total amount of power available at the operating
substations; and (b) the total power demand. value to zero, thus de-energizing all the loads.
If (a) is greater than (b) (positive power margin), then Ad-e is the total amount corresponding to de-ener-
the leading objective will be that of finding an optimal gized loads; AT is the total load demand, energized and
compensation setting and tie-switch configuration for de-energized; and Pen and Pend-e are the penalty terms
loss minimization, while meeting a suitable set of tech- described above. All the penalty terms taking into
nical constraints. If instead, quantity (b) is greater than account branches and HV/MV transformer overloading
quantity (a) (negative power margin), there are two and voltage profile constraints, are weighed with a
different leading objectives for reconfiguration and penalty factor of different entity for different constraint
compensation: (1) if the power margin is greater than violations, WI, WV, WA :
the least de-energized load then the strategy tries to NB NL NSS

service the maximum number of customers; (2) if the Pen=WI % DIf + WV % DVb + WA % DAt (3)
f−1 b=1 t=1
power margin is less than the least de-energized load
then the strategy tries to reduce power losses. In the same way, the penalty for not providing service
In the GA process, the population is composed of to some customers NLd − e is expressed by:
NPOP solutions, whose coding is of the binary type. The NL
first NS elements in the string refer to tie-switches, the Pend − e = WL % AI (4)
NQ elements refer to capacitor banks and finally the
last NLD elements refer to those loads which can be Once all the solutions are evaluated through the
disconnected. The initial solutions have been created, relevant fitness function, the fitness values are ‘scaled’
with regard to the network configuration, so as to meet in order to prevent premature convergence, especially if
the radiality constraint. Starting from a string relevant some elitist selection technique is applied. An altered
to a radial configuration, this part of the total string is reproductive process is then applied to the whole set of
submitted to a ‘branch exchange’ operator for a num- solutions, composing one generation. Since the radiality
ber of times equal to the population size. For each constraint must be met, the part of each selected solu-
individual, the remaining part of the string is randomly tion-string relevant to the configuration is only submit-
initialized to zero or one. ted to a ‘branch-exchange’ operator, which exchanges
64 A. Augugliaro et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 46 (1998) 59–66

the status of two tie-switches in the network, so as to probability of branch exchange in the neighbor-
maintain the radial structure. The remaining part of hood of an open tie-switch: 0.5;
each selected solution-string is then submitted to the “ Compensation
classical genetic operators, crossover and mutation. crossover probability: 0.33;
Once the population is again filled, a strong elitist mutation probability: 0.01;
mechanism is applied in order to substitute some of the link probability: 0.5;
worst individuals (lowest fitness value) of the current number of individuals submitted to link operator
generation, with some other hopefully ‘very good’ solu- per generation: 5;
tions. These solutions are obtained by applying to the “ Service restoration
best individuals two new heuristics-based operators. crossover probability: 0.33;
One of these, called ‘link’, makes compensation depen-
mutation probability: 0.03;
dent on the current network configuration, promoting
the insertion of ‘terminal’ capacitor banks within the
tree-network. The other operator, called ‘follow me’,
links the load connection to the power amount still
available at HV/MV substations, promoting load con-
nection only if there is power available.
When there is no more available power at HV/MV
substations, the objective of the strategy is power loss
minimization. In this phase, another new operator has
been used, called ‘load exchange’, which exchanges the
status connected/disconnected of two loads. This load
reconfiguration may reduce losses, setting free some
power for service restoration.
The whole procedure ends with the execution of a
given number of generations or when some heuristic
stopping criterion is met.

6. Application

The proposed restorative strategy has been imple-

mented in a software program written in FORTRAN
90, running on a MAINFRAME IBM 3090. The net-
work to be restored is depicted in Fig. 3. A network
model, based on the impedance matrix, used by the
authors in Ref. [9], was used to estimate the coefficients
appearing in the fitness function expression. The tested
system is a distribution network with six HV/MV sub-
stations and 90 nodes; from each bus a load is derived
and can eventually be disconnected. There are also 98
tie-switches on the 98 branches of the network and 14
compensated nodes with 24 capacitor banks.
The maximum current in the HV/MV substations is
175 A. The main features of the evolutionary algorithm
are the following:
“ General features
population size: 25;
generation number: 250;
linear scaling (with two expected copies desired for
the best population member);
elitist strategy choosing the best individuals of the
new and old generations;
“ Reconfiguration
branch exchange probability: 0.8; Fig. 3. Tested network with all tie switches in the closed position.
A. Augugliaro et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 46 (1998) 59–66 65

Fig. 4. Tested network after restoration. The substation S5 is out of service. Filled circles indicate supplied loads, empty circles indicate unsupplied

follow-me probability: 0.5; and all the capacitor banks are switched-on (Fig. 4). In
load-exchange probability: 0.5; this configuration, 155 kVA are still available at HV/
number of individuals submitted to load exchange MV substations, but this amount is less than the
operator per generation: 3. smallest load. Power losses are 342 kW.
The restorative solution, relevant to a permanent fault The solution has been found at the 128th generation
at the S5 HV/MV substation, has the following 13 after an elaboration time of 312 s. This amount of
opened tie-switches: calculation time is strongly influenced by the hardware
capabilities and by the adopted simulation model for
the network. The main objective of this application is
the following seven disconnected loads: to test the proposed algorithm coupled with the expres-
sion of the objective function in order to solve the
10-44-45-48-73-74-79 service restoration problem not taking into account the
66 A. Augugliaro et al. / Electric Power Systems Research 46 (1998) 59–66

possible computational optimization (network model simplifications in the network calculation, which could
and algorithm implementation). reduce the computational effort and the memory re-
It must be noted that the number of tie-switches and quirements. The effectiveness of the proposed strategy
the number of compensated buses, both excessive com- in finding high quality solutions with an easy imple-
pared to the extension of the network, are unrealistic mentation encourages testing it within some more effi-
assumptions in the optimization problem; the number cient programming environment.
of variables corresponds to a much larger system. This
makes the performed application quite a strict test for
the proposed restorative strategy. The parameter do- Acknowledgements
main is quite large compared to the extension of the
system. This work is supported by the Italian Ministry of
University and Scientific and Technological Research.

7. Conclusions
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