Falling Conductor Mitigation

Increase safety with advanced, scalable protection for distribution systems

When an overhead power line breaks and falls to the ground, it can create a high-impedance fault that is difficult to detect with traditional protective elements, causing a hazardous situation. The SEL falling conductor mitigation solution detects a break and de-energizes a falling conductor in midair. This solution mitigates hazards like wildfires, improving public safety and maintaining environmental health.

Simple Configuration and Expansion

With easy-to-use template-based settings, system configuration is simple and does not require any coordination or load flow studies. After initial setup, settings can be easily modified using the intuitive interface in acSELerator RTAC SEL-5033 Software, allowing you to adapt and expand your system for additional feeders and PMUs.

Solution Components

Falling Conductor Detection Algorithms

Synchrophasor measurements from PMUs in the field are sent to the RTAC for time alignment and analysis. The time-aligned data are monitored in real time for specific behavior patterns associated with broken conductors. The system uses multiple methods for detecting falling conductors including analysis of: voltage change over time, magnitude of voltage sequence components, and angle of voltage sequence components. The system can be deployed in supervisory or live mode and can be customized to trip after a set number of detection methods.


The RTAC acts as both the phasor data concentrator and the central logic processor in this solution. Deployed in substation environments, the RTAC pulls data from PMUs, analyzes the data to identify broken conductors, and issues control commands to protective devices in the field. The easy-to-use RTAC HMI provides comprehensive data visualization, and its variety of hardware options offers the flexibility to choose the form factor and processing power that best suits your application. In distribution systems where an RTAC is already implemented, the falling conductor detection algorithms can be added with a software upgrade.

Synchrophasor Data

A wide range of SEL devices offer PMU functionality, including the SEL-351 Protection System, the SEL-651R Advanced Recloser Control, and the SEL-751 Feeder Protection Relay. In addition, this solution is interoperable with PMUs from other manufacturers. 

PMUs throughout the distribution system stream synchrophasor measurements to the RTAC at a rate of 30-60 messages per second using available high-speed communications path, such as Ethernet radio or fiber. Each RTAC can supprot up to 100 PMUs. 

Synchrowave Operations

For continuous monitoring and analysis, synchrophasor measurements can be streamed from the RTAC to a centralized engineering or grid operations environment running Synchrowave Operations. This software provides quick and easy access to real-time and historic time-series data via a web client user interface.

Partnership and Innovation

SDG&E and SEL partner to mitigate wildfire risk in California
Read the story

Engineering Services

Let Engineering Services partner with you to create an SEL solution for your system. From engineering studies and system design through commissioning and training, SEL engineers bring inventiveness and a deep understanding of the fundamental principles of electric power systems to every project. No matter how complex or sophisticated the system, we can help you protect, simplify, and control it.

Products and Services You Can Rely On

SEL products are designed and manufactured for the world’s most challenging environments, exceeding all industry standards for temperature, shock, and electric stress. An optional conformal coating for circuit boards adds an extra level of protection against contaminants in extreme environments.

Every SEL product comes with a ten-year warranty—the best in the industry. If any product fails under warranty, we’ll repair or replace it for free.

Questions? Contact Us!

An SEL representative will follow up with you directly. We’re happy to answer all your questions and help you find the best solution for your needs.