For central stations of medium size, three-phase transformers are rarely superior to single-phase, except when the large sizes can be applied, in which case the transformers are normally installed in substations or central stations.

The chief reason for this is the nonflexibility of a three-phase transformer. It is usually purchased for a particular size and type of load, and if that load should be changed, the transformer, representing a comparatively heavy investment, remains on the hands of the central station, whereas a single-phase transformer of one-third the size could usually be adapted for some other service.

This feature becomes of less importance as the central station increases its size, and three-phase transformers for purely power service are now being used by a considerable number of the large central stations in the United States.

The three-phase transformer costs less to install, and the connections are simpler, points that are of importance in connection with outdoor installations. The fact that a failure of a three-phase transformer would interrupt service more than the failure of one single-phase transformer in a bank of three is of little importance because of the comparatively few failures of modern transformers.

On the other hand, especially for 2200-V service, the single-phase transformer has been carried to a high degree of perfection and is manufactured in much larger quantities, so that better performance is usual and in some cases initial cost is lower.

Three-phase distribution transformers are used extensively in underground city network service on account of the smaller space required by them in the manhole, their higher efficiency, and their lower initial cost.

For overhead service for pole or platform mounting, three single-phase units are more common on account of the ease of handling and mounting the smaller-sized units.

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