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Today's utility companies must balance the competing challenges of mounting external pressures to reduce costs with the need to service an ever increasing demand for electric power-all while maintaining a high level of system reliability. These challenges must be met in the face of shrinking capital budgets and an aging cable infrastructure. The traditional methods used to assess the condition and subsequently maintain distribution cable systems seem inadequate and untenable given the realities of existing distribution systems and the constant pressure to increase shareholder value. Utilities must develop new cable repair and replacement strategies that rely on an effective condition-based approach to managing these critical assets. Fortunately, a proactive cable asset management strategy, based on defect specific technologies that produce standardized partial discharge (PD) measurements, can provide utility planners with the condition-based information necessary to minimize capital expenditures and maximize reliability. Based on the results of a pilot program that mirror the performance of other utilities in North America, the subject utility has developed a large scale program to strategically address aging solid dielectric cable assets.
Date of Conference: 7-10 May 2012