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Technical trends in medium voltage URD cable specifications

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1 Author(s)

It has been more than thirty years since high molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE) was first introduced as a commercial insulating material for medium voltage (15-35 kV) underground residential distribution (URD) cables. That began a dramatic expansion of utility electrical service that has led to the installation of several million miles of URD cables by over 3,000 utility companies across America. When early cables began failing prematurely, the industry was challenged to diagnose the causes and find corrective solutions that would give utilities the confidence to continue their commitment to underground cable. The past 25 years have been a story of constant technical improvements, increasingly tighter industry specifications and positive advancements in URD cable life performance. This paper discusses the significant technical changes that have taken place during this period and their impact on cable performance. The results of a 1983-1993 ten-year study of the major technical specification changes of the 25 largest Investor-Owned Electric Utility Companies (IOUs) is also presented. The data illustrate how quickly new cable technology is specified by these leading utilities and provide a clear picture of the key technical trends occurring throughout the utility industry during the 1990s.<>

Published in:

Electrical Insulation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 2 )