Power System Studies for Commercial and Industrial Facilities

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Course Overview

There are many commercial software tools available to assist engineers and design professionals in performing power system studies for buildings and facilities. However, engineers and designers still need to fully understand and take ownership of the software results and reports they produce. And, in turn, facility engineers and end-users need to be able to clearly understand how power studies results can impact facility planning, operations, and safety.

This course will present the fundamental concepts for facility power system studies. We will review, in depth, the characteristics of the electrical equipment and protective components that make up a system model. The student will then learn how to pull these components together to perform short circuit, load-flow, motor starting/stability, and protection/overcurrent coordination studies.  Once the fundamental concepts are presented, the class will use case studies and class exercises to investigate best practices for performing and presenting studies for different types of facilities.

We will also present an introduction to arc flash analysis studies. For more information on arc flash, see our in-depth companion course: "Arc Flash Analysis".

Who Should Attend?

  • Electrical engineers
  • Electrical designers
  • Others responsible for performing, managing, or applying commercial or industrial electrical system studies

Course Outline


  • Intro to Study Types, Applications, and Objectives
  • What is a TCC and why is it important
  • Course participants’ sharing of objectives, questions, and problems


  • Types and Characteristics of Electrical System Faults
  • Fault Current:  Sources and Methods for Reduction
  • Per-Unit Method
  • Symmetrical Components
  • Class Hand Calculation Exercises

Power System (Impedance) Components

  • Intro to Component Modeling
  • Insulated Cables
  • Transformers
  • Motors
  • Capacitors
  • Generators
  • Utility Sources (Source Impedance)

Protective Device Types and Characteristics

  • Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breakers
  • Insulated Case Circuit Breakers
  • MV and LV Power Circuit Breakers
  • Relays and Current Transformers
  • Fuses

Distribution Equipment Characteristics

  • Panelboards
  • Switchboards
  • MV and LV Switchgear
  • Motor Control Centers (MCC)
  • Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) / Motor Starters
  • Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
  • Automatic Transfer Switches (ATS)

Power System Studies

  • Short Circuit
  • Load Flow
  • Motor Starting, Generator Stability
  • Overcurrent Coordination
  • Arc Flash

Standard Circuit Designs

  • Transformer Circuits
  • Panel / MCC / Switchboard / Switchgear
  • Motor Circuits / VFD / Starter

One-Lines and Distribution System Characteristics

  • Radial / Main-Tie(Tie)-Main / Generation
  • Grounding: Solidly / High-Resistance / Ungrounded
  • Fuses / Thermal Magnetic Breakers / LSIG Breakers
  • Cost vs. Reliability Comparisons

Protection and Overcurrent Coordination

  • System protection objectives and philosophies
  • Time Current Curve (TCC) Fundamentals
  • TCC Equipment Operation and Damage Landmarks
  • Selectivity vs. Sensitivity (and Arc Flash Mitigation)
  • Advanced Protection Options

Case Studies, Examples, and Exercises

  • Commercial – Campus (Multiple Building)
  • Commercial – Single Building (with Generation)
  • Industrial - New Facility (with Large Motors)
  • Industrial – Modifications to Legacy Facilities

Study Deliverables / Report Best Practices

  • Assumptions / Boundary Conditions / Criteria
  • Background Material / Utility Service
  • Short Circuit Reports
  • Load Flow Reports
  • Motor Starting Reports
  • Protection / Overcurrent Coordination Reports
  • Arc Flash Hazard Reports

Final Adjournment (Evaluations and Wrap-Up)


Kevin Rogers

Rogers is an electrical engineer with a background in electrical power systems. He is a registered professional engineer, and his 18 years of industry experience spans across electric utility, government, commercial, and industrial applications. His technical responsibilities have included design and commissioning of mission-critical facilities, underground medium voltage distribution planning, design, and operations, high-voltage substation design, and relaying protection and control for complex interconnections. Prior to joining EPD, Rogers spent his previous 5 years as the Engineering Manager for an electrical engineering consulting firm where he and his colleagues provided diverse engineering services across the electrical construction industry.

Tom P. Smith

THOMAS P. SMITH, P.E.received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1982, and his B.S. in Education in 1981 from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Mr. Smith has over 30 years of electric power systems design and analysis experience. Mr.  Smith  began  his career at the Omaha District offices of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1983 as a design engineer. In 1988 Mr. Smith joined the Reading offices of Gilbert/Commonwealth where he performed a wide variety of power system studies for industrial and utility clients. He has served as an independent consultant since  1995. He annually prepares and teaches  several seminars covering electric power systems design and analysis. Mr. Smith is a registered Professional Engineer  in Pennsylvania and Nebraska, and a member of the I.E.E.E.

Upcoming dates (0)

Take this course when it’s offered next!

Program Director

Kevin Rogers