Top 6 Factors of Designing Electrical Distribution System

by Engineering Geek Expert in industrial engineering including piping,
The electrical distribution system is an essential part of the electrical power system which distributes power for local use. Some distribution network is developed to transfer electrical power from an alternating current (AC) or a direct current (DC) source to where it will be used. Multiple power distribution systems help transfer electrical power from the transmission channels to industries, residential, and commercial buildings.

There are many significant factors to consider in the design of an electrical power distribution system. Every electrical engineer should follow the essentials and find design approaches to meet the overall goals of the electrical distribution system.

  1. Safety: The primary goal of designing any electrical distribution system is to provide a safe and energy-efficient operation. It must implement the practices to eliminate or reduce the risk of exposure to electrical hazards to the people who use the facilities. The electrical distribution system should be inherently safe for the people responsible for maintenance and up keeping of the electrical equipment.
  2. Compliance Standards: Over the past century, various electrical safety and performance standards have been developed. The electrical design engineer has to be familiar with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Electrical Code (NEC) set of regulatory standards. These codes provide rules and regulations to meet the minimum requirements to protect life and assets. Additionally, the Internal Building Code (IBC), local municipality, state, and federal requirements must also be considered by design professionals.
  3. Minimal Investment: The owner’s overall project budget for the first cost purchase and installation of the electrical distribution system will be vital criteria in deciding which of the various alternate electrical system designs should be selected. The electrical design engineers should consider the factors responsible for the total cost of the installation to minimize initial investment for electrical equipment. Consider reducing on-site assembly time and expense by assembling various electrical equipment into a single delivery system and possible additional cooling requirements.
  4. Increased Flexibility and Expandability: In the industrial manufacturing plants, electrical utility loads are rearranged or altered periodically based on the changing requirement of the electrical distribution system. The electrical designer must consider the design layout of the electrical distribution system by accommodating these changes. Moreover, the electrical distribution system should be designed, keeping in mind the future expandability of the facility and increased load requirements based on the utility of the equipment. 
  5. Minimize Maintenance Cost: It is recommended to keep the electrical system design and equipment uncomplicated. It ensures lower associated maintenance costs and operational errors. Complex electrical systems and equipment enable to provide better service continuity, which results in higher maintenance costs and chances for operational error increases. However, when designing such complex systems, an electrical engineer must consider adding an alternative power circuit for periodic maintenance of electrical equipment without dropping critical loads. You can consider using protective devices such as breakers and combination starters to minimize overall maintenance costs.
  6. Service Availability: It is essential to consider that the degree of service continuity and reliability will differ based on the type and utility of the facilities. It will also depend on the loads or processes supplied by the electrical distribution system. For instance, A smaller commercial office building may accept the power outage of considerable time, say several hours. In contrast, a large commercial building or industrial plant may take it for a few minutes. Moreover, in other facilities such as hospitals, many critical loads allows outage for a maximum fraction of seconds. There are few practices to increase service continuity and reliability:

    • Supplying multiple power services
    • Loads must be served across multiple connection paths.
    • Consider selecting high-quality electrical equipment and conductors.
    • Choose the best installation methods and consider including an adequately designed grounding system. 
    • Design an appropriate system with alarms and diagnostics features. 
    • Identify preventive maintenance practices that send alarm notifications before any power outage occurs.
    • Consider providing alternate custom power sources during blackout periods. The sources include backup generators, flywheel generators, battery/inverter systems, or by supplying uninterruptable electric power.


With this, we hope that we were able to guide you on how to consider essential factors in designing an electrical distribution system. The goals mentioned above are interrelated and, in some ways, bizarre. Hence, the electrical designer must consider each element based on the type of facility, loads, and such different criteria. If you’re looking for an electrical system design for your next engineering project, consider hiring electrical systems engineering company that provides smarter engineering solutions to manage your power system requirements.

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About Engineering Geek Junior   Expert in industrial engineering including piping,

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Joined APSense since, November 20th, 2019, From Seattle, United States.

Created on Mar 17th 2020 09:02. Viewed 341 times.


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