What’s New in Version 17

The following is a list of many of the most noticeable changes in Simulator Version 17, which builds on PowerWorld Corporation’s dedication to creating powerful, easy-to-use analysis software. Version 17 contains several new features and enhancements to improve the performance and convenience of the package.

New Help File Location

New Add-ons

Auxiliary Files and Display Auxiliary Files

  • New objecttype POWERWORLDSESSION is now available that will provide access to the Simulator executable currently being used. Use variablename VERSION to return just the executable version, VERSION:1 to return a string listing the add-ons, BUSSLACK to return a string containing bus numbers and names of all system slack buses, and BUSSLACK:1 to return a string containing the system slack buses along with MW and Mvar output values and minimum and maximum limits.
  • Added new objecttype DEFDRAWONELINE that will allow changing the default font, option to use the default font size for all new text fields, and the default background color for oneline diagrams.
  • When saving out an entire case as an auxiliary file, the field “AllLabels” is included for each object type that allows labels and has some labels defined.
  • Can now refer to Expressions by name rather than number location of the field. Instead of using CustomExpression:location can now use “CustomExpresion:my expression name”. Using this option for expressions requires that a name be specified for the expression.
  • Can now refer to custom fields (integers, singles, and strings) and calculated fields by name rather than number location of the field. Instead of using variablename:location can now use variablename:name. “BGCalcField:My calculated field name” and “CustomInteger:My custom integer name” are examples. Using this option for custom fields requires that field names be specified using the Custom Field Descriptions.

Auxiliary File SCRIPT and SimAuto

  • New and modified script commands for case data (AUX):
    • New ATCSetAsReference script command.Allow the SaveCase script command to take special keywords as part of the filename. Simulator will replace these special strings as desired when creating the filename to save. @DATETIME will replace the keyword with the actual date and time in the format yyyymmdd_hhnnss-hhmm with the UTC offset included on the end of the time. The other special keywords @DATE, @TIME, @BUILDDATE,and @VERSION can also be used but are not as useful as the @DATETIME.
    • The text field for script command WriteTextToFile and the Header_Value_List for script command SaveDataWithExtra will now allow special keywords to specify date, time, and version. @BUILDDATE, @DATETIME, @DATE, @TIME, and @VERSION will be replaced with the appropriate values.
    • When using the CloseWithBreakers script command, devices will now have their status set to closed if they are open in addition to closing breakers to close the device. Previously if the status of the device was open, the device couldn’t be closed by closing breakers.
    • The OpenOneline script command can be now be used to open onelines and associate them with a case even though the onelines cannot be viewed while running SimAuto. When a case is saved using SimAuto after onelines have been opened, the onelines will also be opened along with the case when the case is opened through the GUI.
  • New and modified script commands for display data (AXD):
    • Added new script command FixFlowArrowLineEnds(“OnelineName”, “LayerName”);

Available Transfer Capability (ATC)

  • Model Conditions and Filters that are part of contingency model criteria used during ATC analysis now allow use of the Model Condition option to Disable if Condition is True in Contingency Reference State.
  • The option to evaluate Model Expressions or fields that are part of contingency actions in the contingency reference state is now used when running ATC analysis.

Bus View and Substation View

  • Modified the option for showing field labels so that it shows the column heading text of the field because this is much shorter.

Case Information Displays

  • Added the ability to specify the Key Fields type from the Case Information Toolbar.
  • When choosing to “Send to Excel” from a case information display, previously Simulator would always split exports of more than 256 columns into separate sheets in an Excel Workbook. For Excel versions 2007 and later, it will now only do this for more than 16,384 columns instead.
  • Model Conditions, Model Filters, and Model Expressions have a Memo field to help identify what RAS/SPS they belong to.
  • Added Online field for dc lines and VSC dc lines.
  • Added Derived Online field for lines, dc lines, and VSC dc lines. If Online = NO then Derived Online = OPEN, else Derived Online = Derived Status.
  • Added ability to show substation latitude and longitude with generators, loads, and switched shunts.
  • Allow advanced filtering on the Modify/Create Limit Groups table of the Limit Monitoring Settings and Violations dialog. This also affects the LimitSet data object when using scripts.
  • Added transformer fields on the transformer base to the Difference Flows base case to that they can be properly compared.
  • Added a new Branch field to show the difference in bus angle at each end of the branch (From Angle – To Angle).

Contingency Analysis

  • Added TOPOLOGYCHECK status for Model Criteria.
  • Contingency Element Action option to Evaluate in Reference State when using a Model Expression or Field to determine the Amount for the Action Type.
  • Model Condition options to Disable if true in Contingency Reference Stats and Evaluate in Contingency Reference State.
  • What Actually Occurred modifications to better explain what happened during contingencies and a new tab that shows what occurred for a single contingency.
  • Accounting for overlapping generation drop.
  • Added an Area contingency action which can change the AGC method and any area slack designation (Bus or Injection Group).
  • Now allow contingencies to be monitored as part of a Custom Monitor. Only the contingency fields for the contingency itself can be monitored for a given contingency.
  • DC Converter contingency actions have been added.
  • When showing Custom Monitors as Violations, show the name of the Custom Monitor as the Category instead of just showing “Custom.”
  • Custom Monitors can now be viewed with the Contingency Violation Matrices tool.
  • A new field has been added to report the number of Custom Monitor Violations.
  • Custom Monitors have options for Never reporting violations if the increase or decrease in the field value is less than a specified threshold.
  • The post-contingency auxiliary file for either all contingencies or specific contingencies can be specified as a string of script commands instead of a file.

Fault Analysis

  • Can now optionally append sequence data when loaded from the Fault Analysis dialog. A prompt will be given to clear all sequence data first or append if opening an auxiliary file or a PTI *.seq file where the *.seq file contains a 0 indicator for new data. If the *.seq file contains a 1 indicating that data should be appended, no prompt is given and the data is just appended.
  • Added fields for displaying subtransient fault currents.

File Formats

  • Added support for reading and writing PTI RAW version 33.
  • When loading an EPC file, the option for using GE Base Load Flag > 0 to prevent Post-CTG response in Simulator will now be used by default.
  • When loading in a PTI RAW file or PSLF EPC file, the participation factors of generators are now set to the PMax MW of the unit instead of the generator MVA Base.
  • When reading an EPC file and writing a message regarding a bypassed branch record we include R, X, and B values in the log message.
  • When reading a RAW file, comments for transformer records will now be added to the transformer Memo field.
  • Modified reading of the hdbexport CSV file to better handle records indices which are skipped.
  • Modified to add additional branch labels when reading Areva CSV file.
  • Added reading of UCTE (European) file format.


  • Supplemental Data can now be used with Model Expressions.
  • Allow the pre-filter option using Area/Zone/Owner filters to be used with Quick Filters.
  • In the Model Filter Visualization, the text of the conditions and filters are now always black instead of using multiple colors to match the same conditions and filters.
  • Model Expressions now allow the use of Model Conditions and Model Filters.
  • Custom Expressions will now be called Expressions. Custom Model Expressions will now be called Model Expressions. Custom String Expressions will now be called String Expressions. All of these changes will occur in the GUI. Object and field names used in auxiliary files will not change.

Integrated Topology Processing

  • Better integration of labels throughout Simulator.
  • Refinement of Derived Status and Derived Online.

Oneline Diagrams

  • Greater support for substation topology diagrams.
  • New Oneline Viewer tool provides a fast way to browse a large number of diagrams.
  • Pie charts and gauges now available for Model Expressions.
  • New Background Arc object.
  • Arrow object available with field objects to indicate positive value direction.
  • Can now include multi-section lines with the KML file export and import options.
  • Added option to convert a background line to a multi-section line.
  • New multi-section lines can now be created by adding a new multi-section line object to a oneline diagram.
  • Model Conditions and Model Filters can now be selected for Generic Model Fields on a oneline diagram.
  • Now have options with Screen Layers dropdown on the Onelines ribbon tab to Show All Layers or Hide All Layers.
  • Modified how the list of Save View dropdown found on the Onelines ribbon tab works. If a view is named using a back-slash, a subfolder will be created in the list of views. As an example, “New Folder\View Name”, will create a subfolder with the name “New Folder” and this folder will contain the view with the name “View Name”.
  • Case Information Memo Field object now allows you to display system slack buses on a oneline diagram. The executable version information can be displayed as well.
  • Added Center X/Longitude Location and Center Y/Latitude Location fields to the Display Explorer case information displays. These provide the center location of an object. Changing these values will update the X/Longitude and Y/Latitude fields.
  • When specifying a Stub Size of 0 with Default Drawing Values for transmission lines, auto-inserted lines will be spaced appropriately at the bus instead of all being drawn from the middle of the bus.
  • Added option in Simulator Options under Oneline category > File tab > Open Oneline Links By to specify if oneline links are to be opened by Number, Name_kV, or Label.
  • Added a shortcut with Line Flow Arrows to toggle the position of the text above and below the arrow. When the object is selected, Ctrl-D will toggle the text position.
  • Objects can now be copied and pasted and retain the correct screen layer.
  • Oneline link object can now refer to a string of script commands in addition to the name of oneline or auxiliary file. When the link is clicked in Run Mode, the specified scripts will be executed.
  • The local menu of a line pie chart has an option to Change Normal Rating Set. This will allow changing the selected limit monitoring rating set without accessing the Limit Monitoring dialog.

Power Flow Solution

  • D-FACTS line devices that will modify the impedance of a line to maintain the current below a specified threshold.
  • Static Var Compensators (SVCs) added with switched shunts that correspond to SVSMO1, SVSMO2, and SVSMO3.
  • Custom Control Mode for switched shunts that will allow the output of the shunt to be set to the result of a Model Expression.
  • When Simulator automatically picks a slack bus for an island, a generator that is regulating a bus outside the island will be picked as a last resort and set to regulate its own terminal. Previously, any generator not regulating a bus inside the island would be ignored which could result in an island not being viable even if it has generation.
  • Added VSC DC Line state to the system reference state that is used for restoring the last successful solution or state before a failed solution along with the contingency analysis, PVQV, ATC, and other reference states.

PV and QV Curve

  • Plotting has been renamed. “Legacy Plots” are the old plots that allow limited functionality on how to format the plot. “Plots” had been previously referred to as “New Plots” and provide much greater flexibility is plot design.
  • Plots now support the plotting of pre-contingency base case values on the horizontal axis.
  • Import and Export can now be plotted on the horizontal axis with the Plots used with the PV tool.
  • When interpolating inadequate voltages during a PV run, now interpolate if an inadequate voltage occurs at the zero transfer level to determine the negative transfer level at which the voltage becomes inadequate.
  • Model Conditions and Filters that are part of contingency model criteria used during PV and QV analysis now allow use of the Model Condition option to Disable if Condition is True in Contingency Reference State.

Optimal Power Flow (OPF)

  • Bus voltage angle constraints can be enforced.

Sensitivity Calculations

  • On the Multiple Meters, Single Control Change tab on the Flow and Voltage Sensitivities dialog can now calculate the sensitivities to a line impedance change.
  • New tab on the Flow and Voltage Sensitivities dialog to calculate the impact of multiple control changes on multiple metered elements.

Time Step Simulation

  • Increased the number of time points that may be inserted at one time to 100,000.

Transient Stability

  • Transient Model Support
    • User Defined Models for Machines, Exciters, Stabilizers, Governors, Load Characteristics, and Multi-Terminal DC Converters and Lines.
    • Composite Load Model CMPLDW fully supported. An option exists in the power flow to create the component parts.
    • Static Var Compensators (SVCs): SVSMO1, SMVMO2, and SVSMO3.
    • Pacific DC Intertie: MTDC_PDCI, CONV_CELILO, CONV_CELILO_N, and CONV_SYLMAR models.
    • FACRI_SS and FACRI_SC for switched shunts and series capacitors.
    • TLIN1 relay
    • CSV file format for Play-In structure so that data can be read and written to facilitate quickly getting data into Simulator for plotting and comparing.
    • Impedance line relays (DISTR1, ZLIN1, ZQLIN1, OOSLEN, OOSLNQ, ZPOTT, ZDCB). Added support for Line Relay Models. Special behavior for many line relays is that they are assigned to a particular end of the branch (either from or to end). Also some line relays permit multiple copies of the same type at the same end of the line.
    • Time-Inverse Over-Current line relays (LOCTI and TIOCR1)
  • Transient Model Modification
    • Optimized MOTORW model to increase simulation speed slightly.
    • During initialization, added additional limit violation checks for the WT4E wind turbine electrical model.
    • Added support for gain parameter Kdrp with machine model LCFB1.
    • Added error checking on the GAST_GE and URGS3T governor models to automatically increase Lmax if it is initially too small.
  • Transient Plots
    • Add ability to right-click on a plot series trace in a transient stability plot and choose “Bus View”. This will automatically open the bus view related to the object associated with the plot series.
    • Added ability to right-click on a plot in the plot designer and choose Generate Plot.
  • Transient Stability Contingency Definitions
    • Added a Transient Contingency option to set the per-unit resistance and reactance of an AC line or transformer.
  • Transient Stability User Dialogs
    • Added two new fields with the multiple transient contingency results to report the total load and total gen tripped during simulation of that contingency.
    • Modified the layout of the transient stability dialog to give more direct access to the Transient Limit Monitor violations and also to combined lists all transient contingency elements and violations.
    • Modified the Insert Apply and Clear Fault button the Transient Stability dialog so that when performing this for a transmission branch it automatically added THREE actions: Apply Fault, BRANCH Open Near, and BRANCH Open Far.
    • When choosing to begin checking for Limit Monitors Results after the last event, now have an option to specify a time delay after the last event at which to start checking.
    • Added option on the Results from RAM tab to Show Multiple Contingencies Events when Multiple Contingencies are being processed. If this option is checked, results for all contingencies will be shown in the Minimum/Maximum Values, Events, and Solution Details tabs.
    • Added Clear Results in RAM button on the Results from RAM tab. Clicking this will clear all of the results in Time Values.
    • When creating a two bus equivalent case, set the option for Save Results Every n Timesteps to 1.
    • Added option to save ALL of the two bus equivalents.
    • Added option for Time to Begin Checking for Limit Monitors Results. This impacts when Transient Limit Monitors are actually monitored. Previously, Simulator would beginning monitoring these after the last event. Now the user can select to start monitoring after the last event, immediately at the start of the run, or at a custom time in seconds.
    • Added stabilizer output voltage to the Minimum/Maximum Values results table.
  • Transient Stability Storage
    • Added ability to store the Transmission Line Relay Model states to hard-drive. Previously these could only be stored to RAM.

User Interface Dialogs

  • File Menu replaces Application Button on the main ribbon menu.
  • Some touchscreen support.
  • Each dialog’s system menu now has an option for Print that will send an image of the dialog to the printer.
  • Allow voltage profile viewing of branches identified as breakers.
  • Added the ability to save the Jacobian Matlab M file in scientific notation.
  • The Advanced Filter dialog now has a button that will allow you to save filters to an auxiliary file. There are three options: Save the current filter, save all filters of the current filter type, or save all filters.