Protective Relays could be characterized as circuit managers with varying degrees of supervisory and control capabilities depending on the complexity and criticality of the circuit. They are designed to recognize abnormal or fault conditions, and to isolate the affected portion or the electrical system. Not only does this allow the unfaulted portion of the electrical system to continue to function normally, but it diminishes the impact of the faulted portion of the system. Changes to power system circuits and the coordination of protective devices can change due to age, loading, environmental impacts, new construction, etc. It is therefore critical that these devices function properly and are appropriately coordinated when they are called into action.
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