Investigation on Pollution-Induced Flashovers of In-Service Insulators in Ethiopian Power Transmission Lines
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2024

Power transmission lines in Ethiopia are experiencing an alarmingly high frequency of unexplained outages triggered by environmental factors, which significantly undermine the reliability of the country’s power system. This paper presents investigations aiming to identify those among the unexplained fault records that have been caused by pollution induced flashovers. An identification method is developed, which associates the contextual fault features, such as information about the characteristics of the fault, fault location, and time of day, as well as month of its occurrence with local meteorological/climatic and environmental conditions. A total number of 4231 unexplained faults, recorded between 2015 and 2022, were analyzed. Among them, 1045 faults (24.7%) were identified as being most likely caused by pollution induced flashovers. The entire network suffered from more than 130 pollution-induced flashovers annually with a frequency of about 0.8 faults/100 km/year. The fault frequency strongly differed among the grid regions, being highest in the Northeast and lowest in the Southwest region. Moreover, the performed analyses also concentrated on the evaluation of the pollution performance of various insulator types employed in the network. The results indicate that porcelain insulators have the highest pollution-induced flashover intensity of 1.47 faults/year/1000 units, followed by silicone rubber polymeric composite insulators and glass insulators with the respective intensities of 1.21 and 0.83 faults/year/1000 units. These results indicate that despite the high expectations towards the pollution performance of silicone rubber polymeric insulators, their use in the Ethiopian climatic and environmental conditions appears to be unsatisfactory.

unexplained outages

site pollution severity

outdoor insulators

pollution flashover

silicone rubber polymeric insulators

Ethiopian power transmission system


Berhanu Zelalem Desta

Bahir Dar Institute of Technology,

Mengesha M. Wogari

Addis Ababa Institute of Technology

Stanislaw Gubanski

Chalmers, Elektroteknik, Elkraftteknik


1996-1073 (ISSN) 19961073 (eISSN)

Vol. 17 9 2007


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Annan elektroteknik och elektronik



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