Phasor Measurement Units Optimal Placement and Performance Limits for Fault Localization

Mahdi Jamei, Raksha Ramakrishna, Teklemariam Tesfay, Reinhard Gentz, Ciaran Roberts, Anna Scaglione, Sean Peisert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


In this paper, the performance limits of faults localization are investigated using synchrophasor data. The focus is on a non-trivial operating regime where the number of Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) sensors available is insufficient to have full observability of the grid state. Proposed analysis uses the Kullback Leibler (KL) divergence between the distributions corresponding to different fault location hypotheses associated with the observation model. This analysis shows that the most likely locations are concentrated in clusters of buses more tightly connected to the actual fault site akin to graph communities. Consequently, a PMU placement strategy is derived that achieves a near-optimal resolution for localizing faults for a given number of sensors. The problem is also analyzed from the perspective of sampling a graph signal, and how the placement of the PMUs i.e. the spatial sampling pattern and the topological characteristic of the grid affect the ability to successfully localize faults. To highlight the superior performance of presented fault localization and placement algorithms, the proposed strategy is applied to a modified IEEE 34, IEEE-123 bus test cases and to data from a real distribution grid. Additionally, the detection of cyber-physical attacks is also examined where PMU data and relevant Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network traffic information are compared to determine if a network breach has affected the integrity of the system information and/or operations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8892526
Pages (from-to)180-192
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Cluster detection
  • cyber-physical security
  • fault location
  • identification
  • intrusion detection
  • optimal PMU placement
  • phasor measurement units

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Phasor Measurement Units Optimal Placement and Performance Limits for Fault Localization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this