Density-based clustering algorithm for associating transformers with smart meters via GPS-AMI data

Elizabeth Cook, Muhammad Bilal Saleem, Yang Weng, Stephen Abate, Katrina Kelly-Pitou, Brandon Grainger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The ongoing deployment of Distributed Energy Resources, while bringing benefits, introduces significant challenges to the electric utility industry, especially in the distribution grid. These challenges call for closer monitoring through state estimation, where real-time topology recovery is the basis for accurate modeling. Previous methods either ignore geographical information, which is important in connectivity identification or are based on an ideal assumption of an isolated sub-network for topology recovery, e.g., within one transformer. This requires field engineers to identify the association, which is costly and may contain errors. To solve these problems, we propose a density-based topology clustering method that leverages both voltage domain data and the geographical space information to segment datasets from a large utility customer pool, after which other topology reconstruction methods can carry over. Specifically, we show how to use voltage and GPS information to infer associations within one transformer area, i.e., to identify the meter-transformer connectivity. To give a guarantee, we show a theoretic bound for our clustering method, providing the ability to explain the performance of the machine learning method. The proposed algorithm has been validated by IEEE test systems and Duquesne Light Company in Pittsburgh, showing outstanding performance. A utility implementation is also demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108291
JournalInternational Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Density-based clustering
  • Meter-transformer mapping
  • Topology clustering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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