PMU-Based Detection of Imbalance in Three-Phase Power Systems

Tirza Routtenberg, Yao Xie, Rebecca M. Willett, Lang Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The problem of imbalance detection in a three-phase power system using a phasor measurement unit (PMU) is considered. A general model for the zero, positive, and negative sequences from a PMU measurement at off-nominal frequencies is presented and a hypothesis testing framework is formulated. The new formulation takes into account the fact that minor degree of imbalance in the system is acceptable and does not indicate subsequent interruptions, failures, or degradation of physical components. A generalized likelihood ratio test (GLRT) is developed and shown to be a function of the negative-sequence phasor estimator and the acceptable level of imbalances for nominal system operations. As a by-product to the proposed detection method, a constrained estimation of the positive and negative phasors and the frequency deviation is obtained for both balanced and unbalanced situations. The theoretical and numerical performance analyses show improved performance over benchmark techniques and robustness to the presence of additional harmonics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6915768
Pages (from-to)1966-1976
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Power Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Generalized likelihood ratio test (GLRT)
  • off-nominal frequencies
  • phasor measurement unit (PMU)
  • symmetrical components
  • synchrophasor
  • unbalanced power system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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