American Public Power Association's overhead distribution systems coures will be presented Feb. 19-22 at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Orlando, Florida.

Overhead distribution continues to be the predominant method that electric utilities use to deliver electricity to end-use customers. Even though underground distribution is required in some situations and preferred for its “out-of-sight” aesthetics, it is often impractical in both new installations and replacements because of its higher initial cost. For as long as overhead distribution has been around, there are many engineers, designers, lineworkers, and technicians who have only a limited understanding of the planning, design, installation, and maintenance principles that drive today's overhead distribution practices. In a time of increasing concern for economics and service reliability, it is essential to gain a full understanding of these principles before attempting to change or improve current practices.

Even if your knowledge of overhead distribution is limited, this course will help prepare you to update your utility's standards, make better design decisions, reduce construction costs, and enhance both safety and service reliability. An important element of this course is coverage of provisions in the new 2007 National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) that affect overhead lines.

The course will also feature a half-day field trip hosted by a local public power utility. The field trip is expected to include the observation of a variety of overhead line construction types, construction equipment, materials and supplies handling, work management, engineering design and mapping processes, and system operations.

  • Advantages and disadvantages of overhead distribution
  • Design criteria and regulatory requirements for overhead lines
  • National Electrical Safety Code requirements for overhead distribution lines (general requirements, clearances, and structural requirements based on the 2007 NESC)
  • Key structural and electrical components of overhead distribution lines
  • How to select an appropriate overhead line conductor for the application (electrical characteristics, mechanical characteristics, and economics)
  • How to properly design and install an overhead distribution line conductor (sag and tension)
  • Functions and types of overhead distribution line structures
  • How to properly design and install distribution line structures
  • Purposes of grounding and proper methods for grounding overhead distribution systems
  • Insulation and insulation coordination on overhead lines
  • Lightning protection and proper application of lightning arresters on overhead lines and equipment
  • Accepted standards and practices for inspection, testing, and maintenance of overhead distribution line conductors, components, and structures (including NESC and OSHA requirements)