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  • Writer's pictureCy Cates

Phaseback VSGR Protecting Power System Infrastructures from Voltage / Current Imbalances

Updated: Jan 19, 2020

for fundamental system improvement

Protect the Power Grid with Phaseback VSGR

Executive Summary

The purpose of this document is to introduce Phaseback VSGR and begin to explain how it fundamentally improves the electrical system from the source to the end user. Download printable pdf

Phaseback VSGR prevents these issues from inflicting significant damage to Power Systems by preventing those events.

Table of Contents:

· Why Prevention is Critical

· Common Power Problems, Risks, and Opportunities

- Transients

- Interruptions

- Sag / Under-voltage

- Swell / Over-voltage

- Frequency Variations

- Prevent Arc Flash / Eliminate Fault Damage

- Eliminate Electro-Magnetic Pulse / Solar Flare Damage

- Improve Energy Efficiency

· Phaseback VSGR Design

· How Phaseback VSGR Protects

Why Prevention is Critical:

For Citizens of the United States, reliance upon electrical power has never been greater. However, the Grid, its generating capability, its distribution and end user systems are all vulnerable from major imbalances and damage that can be caused by terrestrial weather events, geomagnetic disturbances, from enemy attack and everyday usage by its customers.

At present the systems offered to solve the power problems from transients and harmonics to outages are only providing limited reductions and not eliminating the problems. What is needed is a prevention solution that eliminates the problem so it never returns. A product that performs the function of preventing power disturbances without failing. It needs to be available at all voltage levels from low voltage to the High KV voltage level.

Designing prevention-based solutions is the best way to eliminate the massive costs that effect every part of America’s economy which is according to the latest studies over $150 Billion each year.

Common Power Problems:

In order to effectively protect all power systems one must first be able to identify the cause of most pervasive power problems and know how they impact power systems. While these problems are most applicable to end users at the low voltage range; they can be found in utility generation and distribution systems as well.

IEEE defines the most common issues in a power system as:



Sag / Under-voltage

Swell / Over-voltage

Frequency variations

Arc Flash

Electro-Magnetic pulse


An impulsive transient is what most people are referring to when they say they have experienced a surge or a spike. Many different terms, such as bump, glitch, power surge, and spike have been used to describe impulsive transients.

Causes of impulsive transients include lightning, poor grounding, the switching of inductive loads, utility fault clearing, and Electrostatic Discharge (ESD). The results can range from the loss (or corruption) of data to physical damage of equipment. Of these causes, lightning is probably the most damaging.


An interruption is defined as the complete loss of supply voltage or load current. The causes of interruptions can vary but are usually the result of some type of electrical supply grid damage, such as lightning strikes, animals, trees, vehicle accidents, destructive weather (high winds, heavy snow or ice on lines, etc.), equipment failure, or a basic circuit breaker tripping. While the utility infrastructure is designed to automatically compensate for many of these problems, it is not infallible.

Sag / Under-voltage:

A sag is a reduction of AC voltage at a given frequency for the duration of 0.5 cycles to 1 minute’s time. Sags are usually caused by system faults and are also often the result of switching on loads with heavy startup currents.

Swell / Over-voltage:

A swell is the reverse form of a sag, having an increase in AC voltage for a duration of 0.5 cycles to 1 minute’s time. For swells, high-impedance neutral connections, sudden (especially large) load reductions, and a single-phase fault on a three-phase system are common sources.

Frequency Variations:

There are all kinds of frequency issues from offsets, notching, harmonics, and inter- harmonics; but these are all conditions that occur largely in the end user’s power system. These variations happen because harmonics from loads are more likely in smaller wye type systems.

The high frequency variations that may lead to massive interconnected grid failure would come from the sun or enemy attack. Damage to only a few key infrastructure components could result in prolonged blackouts and collateral damage to adjoining devices.

Solar flares are natural occurrences that vary in severity and direction. This “solar weather” is sent out from the surface of the sun throughout our solar system in all directions. These flares contain large amounts of magnetic energy and depending on how they hit the earth can cause component damage on the surface or by temporarily changing the properties of the planet’s magnetic core. Either way, a direct hit of large proportion could cause equipment failure and black out entire regions.

Electromagnetic Pulses (EMP) can be used in similar fashion but directed by enemy combatants in the form of a high altitude nuclear explosion. A well-executed detonation over Cincinnati, Ohio could black out 70% of the American population. Damage to large power transformers or generators could take months to repair. The high frequency disturbance of nuclear explosions can destroy unprotected components much like an opera singer’s voice can break a glass.

The magnitude of each disturbance may depend on the source but each can be mitigated effectively through the use of a phased voltage stabilization system such as Phaseback VSGR.

Phaseback VSGR’s Design:

Phaseback VSGR is a solution that focuses on prevention. The major difference in the design of Phaseback VSGR versus traditional surge protectors is that Phaseback VSGR corrects voltage in relation to ground rather than focusing on current.

By its patented design, Phaseback VSGR continuously stabilizes voltage relative to ground within a power system without sending imbalances to ground or by using solid state technology like metal oxide varistors (MOV). Phaseback VSGR systems are built to react at the speed of the infraction or at the speed of current flow which prevents power buildup and mitigates arc flashes. There is never any voltage leak through and Phaseback VSGR will not degrade because of a transient event as do Metal Oxide Varistors (MOV’s).

Phase voltage 61% imbalance with Phaseback OFF

Single Phase Event without or with Phaseback VSGR

Voltage Phase to Ground with Phaseback VSGR

Utility company linemen will feel more secure due to the power line stability while working on them since arc flash incidents will become distant memories.

The components (matched single phase transformers) in this permanent solution are sized by voltage class and kVA in which they will be employed. The voltage specification determines the appropriate turn ratios needed to properly size each system. All three transformers are spaced from one another by IEEE standards to prevent arcing or magnetic flux between each phase. Ohm’s law explains how power reacts proportionately regardless of scope,Phaseback VSGR’s effectiveness would be the same in a 300kV system as it is on a 480V system. Phaseback VSGR systems all come in a NEMA class 3R enclosure with appropriately sized, integrated fused disconnects. Each system is wired in parallel to the power system and protects from the secondary side of a power transformer to the primary side of the downstream transformer. This also rings true from the generation source to the primary on the initial transformer.All connected components would be protected, and the Phaseback VSGR system would stabilize imbalances whether caused by downstream activity or directly on line. No power system would need to be turned off to connect Phaseback VSGR linemen could hot tap them into the system then engage using the disconnect switch.

3 phase Wave form with one phase grounded

Eliminate Arc Flash Causes:

Arc Flash is caused by unrestrained ground faults that allow copper to heat to plasma stage and after several milliseconds it becomes an unquenchable plasma fire. One cubic inch of copper will expand almost instantly into seven cubic feet of 35,000 degree F super-heated gas. The resulting pressure wave can crush a workers chest. A Department of Labor 7-year study showed that 2,576 U.S. workers died and another 32,807 sustained lost-time injuries – losing an average of 13 days away from work.

There finally is a solution to the causes of arc-flash. Adding a VSGR to the power system controls and prevents the (3) causes of an arc-flash event:

· Transient Voltage Spikes

· Arcing Ground Faults

· Phase Voltage Imbalances

With all three of these causes controlled and prevented there is no longer the insulation breakdown associated with


Prevention is the best suppression!

Power from Generator to House

How Phaseback VSGR Protects:

Focusing on voltage allows Phaseback VSGR to address each of the Common Power Issues. Let’s see how it would correct each of those issues individually. Transients are the brief voltage spikes that occur regularly and may last only a few cycles. Phaseback would take the surplus voltage in the same waveform and electromagnetically feed it back on itself with the same intensity. Even with a power analyzer one could see that disturbances placed directly on line are completely mitigated.

Interruptions have many causes but the damage occurs in the brief moments as a system loses power and motors which wind down turn into mini generators sending inappropriate voltages to connected loads. Phaseback VSGR would not prevent sustained power losses but would prevent damage to loads by allowing a softer landing should an outage occur.

The Phaseback VSGR system will also reduce the harmful effects of unstable voltage like sags and swells or under/over-voltage. The primary sides of the transformers and their adjoining secondaries constantly stabilize the voltage discrepancy.

If there is a sustained swell, the excess power is harmlessly drained off to the integrated resistor bank that is series wired on the secondary side of the system. Current TVSS or MOV systems rout power to ground which can cause an unsafe condition and surely reduces the life of the device and connected loads. Waveform and frequency variations might best be described as noise on the line from massive magnetic forces. These magnetic hits to the grid can cause damage to generators, transformers, auto tapping devices, and connected loads throughout. High frequency noise from hostile EMPs change the normal 60 Hz flow of electrons which may wreak havoc on infrastructure. Depending on the severity or proximity to such hostilities, damage could range from loss of end user electronic devices to the overheating of the stators on utility generation plants or power transformers. Phaseback VSGR will act as a gatekeeper suppressing any frequency above or below the 60 Hz range. Damage to grid components could occur in an instant without the Phaseback VSGR system but since it operates only on 60 Hz wave-forms, it routs the inappropriate waveform to the integrated resistor bank at the exact speed of the infraction. Phaseback VSGR, therefore rectifies disturbances that are out of specification and harmonizes everyday activity.

Phaseback VSGR will Save Lives and Save Money!

Give me a call to discuss your applications for AFPT (Arc Flash Preventing Transformers with VSGR)

Cy Cates (832) 647 4606

References and Further Reading

Approaches for Minimizing Risks to Power System Infrastructure due to Geomagnetic Disturbances. EPRI, Palo Alto, CA: October 2010.

Kramer, Miriam. “Scientists Work to Protect Earth’s Power Grid from Extreme Solar Storms”;, July 2, 2013.

Hinton, William. “Phaseback VSGR Scalability”; Applied Energy White Paper, December 2013. “This is Phaseback”; Applied Energy White Paper, January 2013.

Electromagnetic Pulse: Effects on the US Power Grid. Environmental & Energy News. August 8,2011.

National Research Council: Terrorism and the Electric Power Delivery System. The National Academies Press, Washington DC: 2012.

James William Nilsson and Susan A. Riedel (2008). Electric circuits. Prentice Hall.

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