On the calculation of time alignment errors in data management platforms for distribution grid data

Hans-Peter Christian Schwefel, Imad Antonios*, Lester Lipsky

*Corresponding author for this work

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The operation and planning of distribution grids require the joint processing of measurements from different grid locations. Since measurement devices in low and medium voltage grids lack
precise clock synchronization, it is important for data management platforms of distribution
system operators to be able to account for the impact of non-ideal clocks on measurement data.
This paper formally introduces a metric termed Additive Alignment Error to capture the impact of
misaligned averaging intervals of electrical measurements. A trace-driven approach for retrieval
of this metric would be computationally costly for measurement devices and therefore it
requires an online estimation procedure in the data collection platform. To overcome the
need of transmission of high-resolution measurement data, this paper proposes and assesses
an extension of a Markov-modulated process to model electrical traces, from which a closed-form
matrix analytic formula for the Additive Alignment Error is derived. A trace-driven assessment
confirms the accuracy of the model-based approach. In addition, the paper describes practical
settings where the model can be utilized in data management platforms with significant
reductions in computational demands on measurement devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6903
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number20
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021


  • Electrical distribution grids
  • measurement errors
  • clock synchronisation


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