FEATURE // CABLE REJUVENATION Providing reliable affordable service under tight budgets By Jon Engman, Novinium Utilities face a complex challenge: They must balance tight budgets and maintain high safety standards, while providing customers with reliable service at affordable rates. Our nation’s aging infrastructure cannot be replaced all at once. There is a need to develop capital-efficient strategies to maintain underground electrical reliability. Suppliers need to work with utilities to develop asset manag e m e nt programs to prioritize proje c t s and optimize capital. A combination of cable replacement and injected cable rejuvenation is finally receiving widespread adoption, as these technologies have proven themselves to provide reliability, cost efficacy and sustainability. One factor that will drive this adoption is favorable budget treatment of rejuvenation expenses. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has noted that a company may capitalize the cost of installing injection rehabilitation products, provided that the product is used by the company to extend the useful life of its segments of URD cables beyond their original estimated useful lives. This is one of several opportunities available to utilities when budgeting asset management. A growing number of utilities are sharing their experiences with colleagues to create asset management programs that work both short term and long term. Electric utilities are always looking for ways to enhance their infrastructure’s reliability and performance, while controlling expenses. N o e l e c tric utilit y eve r wa nt s th e ir p owe r to g o of f. At m a ny utiliti e s , m a n a g e m e nt of a gin g inf ra s tr u c tu re is ce nte re d a ro u n d a d d re s sin g faults and cable replacement. Cable rejuvenation is a viable, and often ideal, option for electric utilities to consider. evening. This pu ts a high load on cables around the clock. The results Since adopting cable rejuvenation, SRP has received signiﬁcant, positive feedback. The cable failure rate is improving and the process has improved the company’s bottom line. This makes all of SRP’s constituents happy. SRP is rejuvenating the least-reliable URD cable using a hybrid approach of Improved Unsustained Pressure Rejuvenation (iUPR) and Sustained Pressure Rejuvenation (SPR) injection processes with Cablecure 732 injection ﬂuid. This strategy allows SRP to delay replacement of faulty cable, while extending the cable life by hopefully decades. To date, SRP has used Novinium to rejuvenate 780,805 feet of cable. Rejuvenated cable is restored to like-new condition and is backed by a 25-to-40-year warranty. Novinium’s cable rejuvenation is now an integral part of the SRP asset management plan. SRP has experienced a rejuvenated cable failure rate of less than one percent using Novinium’s hybrid approach. When it comes right down to it, the cost savings and improved reliability achieved through injection are reasons to integrate this process into managing older cable assets. Western Energy / Winter 2017/2018 / westernenergy.org/we require. SRP found that its current sweet spot is to replace about one million feet of cable per year. Unfortunately, SRP still has over 20 million feet of URD cable, which would require 20 years to replace. With rejuvenation, the company can better avoid failures in these aging cables. This proactive approach is working very well. Since 1993, all new distribution cable has been installed using a conduit system. It’s more reliable and there’s no worry about cable being impacted by poor ly screened native back ﬁll or other settling issues. SRP’s approach today is to rejuvenate the youngest cable ﬁrst, while simultaneously replacing the oldest cable in its system until the two meet. In 1998, the company tried to inject the poorest-performing cable and didn’t ﬁnd completely successful results. SRP now replaces feeder cable because these failures involve an outage for the whole circuit, and have a greater reliability impact on customers. URD cable is fused so that when a failure occurs, it is isolated from the rest of the system and the main feeder lines. The physical environment in Phoenix has a direct impact on electrical cables. On an average summer day, afternoon temperatures can peak at or above 110 degrees. The urban area is surrounded by concrete and asphalt that absorbs the heat and radiates throughout the RICK HUDSON started working for SRP 30 years ago. He has worked primarily in the maintenance of the distribution system and is currently an engineering supervisor in maintenance engineering. JON ENGMAN , chief ﬁnancial 30 ofﬁcer at Novinium, has over 20 years of experience leading high-tech companies experiencing rapid growth in both revenue and enterprise value.