A practical evaluation of surge arrester placement for transmission line lightning protection

Karthik Munukutla, Vijay Vittal, Gerald T. Heydt, Daryl Chipman, Brian Keel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The use of metaloxide varistor surge arresters (MOVs) in lightning protection of overhead transmission lines to improve reliability is of great interest to electric utilities. However due to economic reasons, it is not possible to completely equip an overhead transmission line with surge arresters at each transmission structure. In this paper, an evaluation of lightning protection design on a 115 kV transmission line using surge arresters, utilizing a model based on field data, is presented. The model developed is used for computer simulation using the Alternative Transients Program. Various design procedures aimed at maximizing the reliability of service on the transmission line using a minimal number of surge arresters are analyzed. Different designs considered for transmission line lightning protection using MOV arresters include: the use of a different number of surge arresters per tower, distance between towers with surge arresters and the dependence of these configurations on tower footing resistance. The lightning protection designs are analyzed using lightning flashover charts, proposed in this paper. Also, an analytical model of two 115 kV transmission lines in Southwest U.S. has been developed and different surge arrester location strategies used on these transmission lines have been analyzed. Practical experiences and effectiveness of various lightning protection designs used on these transmission lines are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5443552
Pages (from-to)1742-1748
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Delivery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Backflashover
  • lightning protection
  • overhead transmission lines
  • surge arrester location
  • surge arresters
  • transmission engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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