Rural single wire earth return distribution networks - Associated problems and cost-effective solutions

N. Hosseinzadeh*, J. E. Mayer, P. J. Wolfs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) systems are used for supplying electricity at low cost, where electricity supply is required for small populations of people dispersed across wide geographical areas. It is principally used for rural electrification, but is also used for other isolated loads and light rail. The existing SWER distribution systems have been stretched with the sharp growth of their loads because of customers' change of lifestyle, which has introduced additional load of air conditioning equipment, motors driven by variable-speed drives and inverters. This paper proposes cost-effective solutions to address the problem of voltage regulation and compensation of the unbalancing effect of SWER lines on the three-phase feeder of these lines, which have been exacerbated by this load growth. To improve the voltage regulation problem, a LV switchable reactor has been designed, a prototype made and tested in the field. Also, an unbalance compensator has been designed to reduce the unbalancing effect of SWER lines. Two case networks have been used to perform simulation studies on the effectiveness of both proposed solutions. At first, a case study is used to demonstrate the impact of a switchable reactor on improving voltage regulation. Then, another case study shows that installation of a switchable reactor and an unbalance compensator simultaneously on a SWER distribution system effectively improves voltage regulation and reduces unbalancing effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Electrical Power and Energy Systems
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Access to electricity and social justice
  • Electrical power distribution
  • Power lines
  • Rural electrification
  • SWER
  • Single Wire Earth Return

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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