Sep 2015
Electricity Distribution
Underground Cable Overlay Cost Reduction
NIA_SSEPD_0014
Complete
Sep 2015
Feb 2017
Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution and Southern Electric Power Distribution
SSEN Future Networks Team
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Network Innovation Allowance
None
Conductors
£540,000.00

The project aims to investigate whether the two identified cable overlay methods could reduce the cost and disturbance caused to the customers due to the cable overlay activity. The scope of the project includes:

  • Undertake a 'horizon scanning' exercise aiming to identify and gather information on cable overlay methodologies/ technologies, the environmental factors and circumstances where  they could effectively be applied.
  • Agree commercial terms and conditions with involved suppliers.
  • Gather requirements and select candidate sites for testing the methodologies from two suppliers.
  • Submitting a customer engagement plan and data privacy strategy governing potential interactions with customers about wayleaves or easements required in order to utilise their land, potential interaction with customers affected from the street works, interactions with customers in order to undertake the focus group(s) planned as part of the project.
  • Undertake surveys in the selected sites in order to baseline costs of traditional open-cut trench methods and innovative methods.
  • Implement project trials in two stages, with a decision point after trial 1 on whether to proceed to next stage or not. The decision will depend on the performance of the methodologies (assessed individually) up to this point and the confidence of coping with the second trial stage.
  • Trial Stage 1: The identified overlay methods will be applied in an environment without many complexities (i.e. limited number of nearby underground assets). The selected circuits will be of 33kV, 11kV in each case, and the newly installed cable will be of greater cross section compared to the previous one. The length of the cable that will be overlaid will be between 50 – 100m, depending on the availability of a suitable circuit.
  • Trial Stage 2:  The identified extraction methods will be applied in an environment with increased complexity, (i.e. greater number of nearby underground assets). The characteristics of the methods will be similar to these of stage 1.
  • Analysis in order to identify whether there are financial benefits from the tested cable overlay methods and evaluation of the applicability of the tested cable overlay methods.
  • Focus group(s) will be undertaken with a range of stakeholders in order to obtain qualitative information on the disturbance caused by the tested cable overlay methods.
  • If the identified cable overlay methods prove to be beneficial, a decision will be taken whether to transition to ‘business as usual’ operation. If the decision is positive, the appropriate arrangements will be made including the training of identified SSEPD departments and the lessons learned will be reported within the close out report.

• The project will determine if the identified innovative cable overlay methods can reduce the current cost of cable overlay (quantitative information).
• The project will determine if the identified innovative cable overlay methods can reduce the disturbance to stakeholders through qualitative information collected from focus groups.
• The project will determine if the identified innovative cable overlay methods can reduce the environmental impact of the cable overlay process (qualitative and/ or quantitative)
 

The project will be considered a success if it can determine the effectiveness (positive or negative) of the innovative cable overlay methods in comparison to the traditional open-cut trench approach.The effectiveness will be measured through variation of the unit cost of cable overlay (quantitative information), variation of the disturbance caused due to the innovative cable overlay method (qualitative information) and variation in the environmental impact of the cable overlay process (qualitative and/ or quantitative information).