2023 Overhead Projects Tasks

Overhead Projects Tasks for 2023

Planned 2023 Research

This project conducts material and structure testing, evaluates inspection tools and technologies, and documents leading practices to inform overhead asset life-cycle decisions. The 2023 project includes the following tasks:

Resilient Structure Design: In 2023, this task plans to produce a guide providing design techniques that improve distribution structure resiliency. The approaches can enable engineers to design structures that exhibit increased mechanical coordination, helping improve structure restoration times. This task also plans to begin investigating how mechanical coordination of an overhead structure changes over time.

Alternative Pole and Crossarm Material Evaluation: This task examines the short- and long-term performance of alternative pole and crossarm materials, such as composites, steel, ductile iron, and concrete. In 2023, this task plans to investigate the aging and degradation characteristics of composite crossarms to enable improved inspection criteria and to gather long-term performance data.

Grounding and Lightning Performance: This task examines the application and performance of grounding systems and lightning protection approaches. In 2023, this task plans to investigate the response of conductive backfills to lightning impulses. This task also investigates the performance and degradation of surge arresters.

Overhead Connector Performance Testing: Connectors are a common source of overhead line interruptions. This task tests the electrical and mechanical performance of connectors under varying load and/or environmental conditions. In 2023, this task plans to evaluate how full tension connectors respond to fault conditions.

Pole Hardware Quality Testing and Material Analysis: Utilities have many options available when selecting hardware used to construct and repair overhead structures, including carbon and stainless steels, hot-dipped or thermal diffusion galvanization treatments, and others. In 2023, this task intends to evaluate hardware coatings, including galvanization methods and polymeric coatings.

Evaluation of Emerging Transformer Technologies: Pole-top transformers and voltage regulator designs have remained relatively unchanged for decades. Modern insulation materials could improve the thermal characteristics, environmental friendliness, and reduce flammability compared to traditional oils. In 2023, this task plans to evaluate a cast-resin insulated, medium-voltage pole-top transformer.

Evaluation of Pole Inspection Technologies: Pole condition assessment provides a means of prioritizing pole replacement to better optimize O&M budgets. This task investigates tools used to assess wood pole health. In 2023, this task will examine the accuracy of traditional, modern, and emergent pole inspection technologies by comparing inspection results with the data on pole remaining strength collected through laboratory testing.

Online Condition Monitoring and Inspection of Overhead Systems: As sensor capabilities increase and costs decrease, utilities are looking to leverage the technology to improve system performance by identifying and locating issues before they cause outages. This task examines online monitoring systems and inspection tools that could improve overhead distribution system reliability by identifying potential asset failure or vegetation contact before it causes an outage.

For more information on the 2023 plan for overhead assets, contact Joe Potvin