Wildfire 5

SCE's Approach to Isolating Ground Faults

Jan. 11, 2021
Webinar about SCE's approach to isolating ground faults to reduce wildfire risk.

In recent years, Southern California Edison (SCE) has focused most of its wildfire mitigation projects around the prevention of electrical faults by such measures as installing covered conductor and insulating spacers between phase conductors. These methods are highly effective at reducing the probability of ignition by fault avoidance, particularly for contact-related faults and those involving two or more phase conductors. These measures prevent the majority of but not all incidents, particularly equipment-failure-related faults.

SCE needed additional transformative measures to minimize the chance of a fire when an unforeseen event occurs, such as a car hitting a pole, a transformer failing from a manufacturing defect or a large tree falling into a power line. This session will share how SCE benchmarked itself with utilities in the Australian state of Victoria, one of the most fire-prone areas in the world, to learn how rapid earth fault current limiters (REFCLs) can reduce the risk of ignition by faults involving a single phase conductor.


Thuan Tran is the Principal Manager for T/D Apparatus & Linear Asset and Engineering Strategies at Southern California Edison. He has been instrumental in developing the wildfire mitigation plan to combat the wildfire risks in California. He has held various positions in Distribution, Substation and System Protection Engineering groups. He was instrumental in the development of the distribution automation system for control and monitor pole-mounted switches, capacitors and automatic reclosers in the early 1990’s. As an engineer, Thuan successfully developed the specifications and commissioned a number of major projects, including Static VAR Compensators, 500 kV series capacitors, 500-220 kV Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS).Thuan received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering the from the University of California, Irvine, Master’s degree in Engineering with the emphasis in Electrical Power from the University of Idaho and MBA from University of Laverne, California. He's a registered electrical engineer at the state of California. Thuan enjoys playing sports and travel.

Jesse Rorabaugh ([email protected]), P.E., is a senior engineer at Southern California Edison (SCE). He received his bachelor’s degree at California State University, Fresno with a triple major in physics, chemistry and biology followed by a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Cornell University and a professional engineer license as an electrical engineer in California. He is an active IEEE member and serves as chair for the G4 working group responsible for IEEE Std 1246 Guide for Temporary Protective Grounding Systems Used in Substations and Std 1268 Guide for Safety in the Installation of Mobile Substation Equipment as well as vice chair for the G9 working group responsible for IEEE Std 837 Standard for Qualifying Permanent Connections Used in Substation Grounding.

Andrew Swisher ([email protected]), P.E., is a consulting engineer at SCE. He received his bachelor’s degree from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona in electrical and computer engineering with a certification in power engineering followed by a master’s degree from the University of Idaho, Moscow with a certification in power system protection and relaying. Swisher is a licensed professional engineer registered as an electrical engineer in California.

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