Trial installation of Auguste switch in Northern Power Grid, UK

An early English morning in the autumn, in view of the spectacular Durham Cathedral, a heavy truck carrying an Auguste switch and a film crew pulling up at the base of stout wooden pole. Auguste switchgear is an overhead load break disconnecting switch designed to allow a load interruption up to 630 A for a medium voltage (up to 36 kV) electrical overhead line.

We are making the first installation of the updated version of Auguste switch with integrated surge arrester bracket at the Northern Power Grid training school. After a trial run, we have secured the Auguste bracket, and prepared the jumper leads. The film crew can then make a short video: “Plug and Play Installation of the Ensto Auguste switch”.

This is the latest step in the Ensto Network Automation development in UK. With approaching 2000 Auguste switches installed in the UK and Ireland, we have today a strong foothold. However, the future capacity is for many more installations. Many UK distribution network owners (DNO) have installed reclosers as their main solution for network automation. Though there is a definite limit to the number of reclosers, which can effectively operate on the network, before they begin to interfere with each other. As the DNOs search for the next network automation device, other than expulsion fuses and manual intervention, the load break switches such as the Auguste are attracting increasing interest.

The Auguste switch can interface directly with the industry standard GE “Power-On” network management system, or operate intelligently and autonomously. The inevitable and imperative drive to improve SAIDI  makes the Auguste solution increasingly attractive in a market, which is increasingly driven towards improved power quality and smart grids.

The “Plug and Play” Auguste with integrated voltage transformer and surge arresters is the fastest installed load break switch in the market today. Its long service history makes it the industry standard for load break switches. The trial installation showed the speed and ease of installation, and Northern Power Grid will now investigate the possibility of live line installation, NO point control and remote switching, in order to address both SAIDI and SAIFI for improved reliability.

Text: Iain Strachan, Sales Manager, Ensto in UK,

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