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Testing Phasor Measurement Units using the IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol



Julien M. Amelot, Gerard N. Stenbakken


As the electric power grid is changing to a smarter more dynamically controlled system, there is increasing need for measurements that show the global status of the system for wide-area monitoring and control. These measurements require time synchronization across the grid. The agreed upon reference time is UTC, which is available at all locations using a GPS clock for each device or small group of devices. As the number of such synchronized devices increases there is a need to have an efficient, accurate, reliable and secure method of time distribution within power substations. The power industry is increasingly turning to the use of the IEEE 1588 protocol, also known as the Precision Time Protocol (PTP), to time-synchronize the many Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs) in next-generation substations. This paper examines this need in relation to the use of Phasor Measurement Units. It also describes the inaccuracies associated with this protocol and its application to the calibration of PMUs.
Proceedings Title
Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements
Conference Dates
July 2-6, 2012
Conference Location
Washington DC, DC


Calibration, Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Global Positioning System (GPS), Intelligent Electronic Devices (IEDs), Phasor Measurement Units (PMU), Precision Time Protocol (PTP), Smart Grid, Substations


Amelot, J. and Stenbakken, G. (2012), Testing Phasor Measurement Units using the IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol, Conference on Precision Electromagnetic Measurements, Washington DC, DC, [online], (Accessed April 15, 2024)
Created July 1, 2012, Updated February 19, 2017