This paper evaluates the effect of a lightning strike directly on the 24 kV distribution lines in Thailand, where such strikes are one of the main causes of power outages. The voltage across the insulator, and the arrester energy absorbed due to the lightning, need to be analyzed for different grounding distances of the overhead ground wire, ground resistance, lightning impact positions, and lightning current waveforms. Analysis and simulations are conducted using the Alternative Transients Program/Electromagnetic Transients Program (ATP/EMTP) to find the energy absorbed by the arrester and the voltages across the insulator. The results indicate that when surge arresters are not installed, the voltage across the insulator at the end of the line is approximately 1.4 times that in the middle of the line. In addition, the ground resistance and grounding distance of the overhead ground wire affect the voltage across the insulator if the overhead ground wire is struck. When surge arresters are installed, a shorter grounding distance of the overhead ground wire and a lower ground resistance are not always desirable; this is because they reduce the back-flashover rate and the voltage across the insulator if lightning strikes the overhead ground wire. However, lightning strikes to the phase conductor result in high arrester energy and the possibility that the arrester will fail. Furthermore, the tail time of the lightning waveform is a significant variable when considering the energy absorbed by the arrester, whereas the front time is important for the voltage across the insulator. In case lightning strikes directly on the connected point between the overhead lines and the underground cables, the distribution line system is protected only by the lightning arrester at the connection point. The overvoltage at the connection point is lower than the basic impulse level at 24 kV of 125 kV, but the overvoltage at the end of the cable is still more than 125 kV in case the cable is longer than 400 m. When the distribution line system is protected by the lightning arrester at both the connection point and the end of the cable, it results in overvoltage throughout the cable is lower than the critical flashover of insulation. This method is the best way to reduce the failure rate of underground cables and equipment that are connected to the distribution line system.
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