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COO Mike Beehler & Associates, LLC

See www.MikeBeehler.com for my first book, The Science of the Sale.  MBA, LLC believes that strategically positioning for success and growth in the electric utility industry will require...

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  • Mar 8, 2021
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21st Century Costs of Underground Distribution is Power Delivery Intelligence Initative’s latest article in T&D World.

Advancements in material science, construction methods and emerging technologies make 21st century costs for undergrounding T&D assets much more attractive for planners and engineers than ever before. The old “rules of thumb” about the higher costs of T&D underground (vs overhead) are no longer valid.

The bottom line.... The cost of underground electric distribution is coming down. In fact, “over the life” of the asset, underground (UG) appears to have a lower cost than overhead(OH).

The article explains 21st century advancements in material science, design, construction and O&M that have utilities across North America evaluating the empirical data supporting the lower life-cycle costs for underground versus overhead distribution.

Not covered in the article, but worth strong future consideration are the harder-to-quantify benefits of safety, reliability, resiliency and aesthetics of UG vs OH.

Would love your comments. 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Mar 8, 2021

The bottom line.... The cost of underground electric distribution is coming down. In fact, “over the life” of the asset, underground (UG) appears to have a lower cost than overhead(OH).

This is definitely what should matter in the end, but I wonder how much it really is just the high upfront capital expenditures that make it a harder sell-- even if the payback will be real over the lifetime. Is that a significant challenge, and if so what's the best approach politically to handle it? 

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