Electric Power Distribution - Modern Distribution Systems - International Differences

International Differences

In many areas, "delta" three phase service is common. Delta service has no distributed neutral wire and is therefore less expensive. In North America and Latin America, three phase service is often a Y (wye) in which the neutral is directly connected to the center of the generator rotor. The neutral provides a low-resistance metallic return to the distribution transformer. Wye service is recognizable when a line has four conductors, one of which is lightly insulated. Three-phase wye service is excellent for motors and heavy power use.

Many areas in the world use single-phase 220 V or 230 V residential and light industrial service. In this system, the high voltage distribution network supplies a few substations per area, and the 230 V power from each substation is directly distributed. A live (hot) wire and neutral are connected to the building from one phase of three phase service. Single-phase distribution is used where motor loads are small.

North America

In the U.S. and parts of Canada and other countries, split phase service is the most common. Split phase provides both 120 V and 240 V service with only three wires. The house voltages are provided by local transformers. The neutral is directly connected to the three-phase neutral. Socket voltages are only 120 V, but 240 V is available for heavy appliances because the two halves of a phase oppose each other.

Europe

In Europe, electricity is normally distributed for industry and domestic use by the three-phase, four wire system. This gives a three-phase voltage of 400 volts and a single-phase voltage of 230 volts. For industrial customers, 3-phase 690 / 400 volt is also available.

Japan

Japan has a large number of small industrial manufacturers, and therefore supplies standard low-voltage three phase-service in many suburbs. Also, Japan normally supplies residential service as two phases of a three phase service, with a neutral. These work well for both lighting and motors.

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