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In general, there are key differences between radial, spot network and grid network distribution systems.

Issue/Description

Radial Systems

Spot Networks

Grid Networks

No. of  Primary Feeders (Typical)

1

2-4

4-8

Voltages

4000 volts to 35,000 volts

480 volts

208 volts

Locations

Urban, Suburban or Rural

Urban and Suburban

Urban

Area Served (Typical)

Up to 30 to 40 miles.  5-10 miles for main feeder

One Building Complex, High Rise or Single Customer

Several City Blocks; Sometimes Larger

Length of Secondary Circuits

Typically less than 300 feet to meter.

Typically less than 100’ to customer switchgear

Individual sections can be up to 500’ to 600’ feet

Construction Type

Overhead or Underground

Almost Always Underground

Almost Always Underground

Level of reliability

Typically 1 to 3 interruptions per yr

Reliability improved by a factor of 5-10

Reliability improved by a factor of 5-10

Relative Cost

Base-Urban systems typically higher than rural/suburban

High, due to redundancy and high cost equipment

Very high, due redundancy and urban location

Circuit loadings

All load served by a single circuit

Loads balanced equally on network transformers

Relative loadings may vary on network transformers

Radial versus Network Distribution Systems    Key Differences

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