February 2018 Vol. 73 No. 2


Installing 1.5 miles of power cable in dry Texas soil

Installing more than 1.5 miles of power cable in dusty, dry Texas soil turned into a relatively easy job for the contractor and earned the Plastic Pipe Institute (PPI) 2017 Project of the Year for the cable’s manufacturer, Southwire Company LLC (Carrollton, GA).

Southwire’s cable-in-conduit (CIC) was used to provide power to new housing units for oilfield workers in the small town of Mentone, TX, population of 19 and located just south of the New Mexico border.

The project required installing more than 8,700 feet of different-sized CIC to bring 600 volts of power to the housing units. The ground was trenched and multiple runs of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) CIC were laid next to each other. The installation transitioned to PVC pipe for stub ups into housing panels and vaults.

“This was a case where CIC enabled the crew to spend as little time as possible doing the installation,” explained Tony Radoszewski, CAE, president of PPI. “This was imperative as the temperatures during the project could be more than 100 degrees. Having the cable already in the conduit literally saved lives because the crew didn’t have to spend hours threading the power cable through the conduit. Additionally, HDPE conduit is well-known to be able to stand up to harsh environments and for protecting the cable inside. We were very pleased to present the PPI Project of the Year award to Southwire.”

Contractor Davidson Electric Company (Pearland, TX) was also impressed. “It was not all about cost savings,” stated Vick Cook, P.E., executive vice president. “CIC allows you to do things you cannot do with PVC and building wire. Mostly, it’s about time spent onsite. Our guys are usually working out of town, which means there’s travel cost and a per-diem tacked on to every hour of labor. In addition, how long the ditch is open is a critical issue.”

According to Lance MacNevin, P. Eng., director of engineering for the Power and Communications Division (PCD) of PPI, “CIC allows crews to install thousands of continuous feet of power cable quickly and correctly. This is because they no longer have to be involved with rigid conduit pipe that has joints every 20 feet and involves gluing together belled ends that could be improperly installed.”

Summing it up, Davidson Electric Vice President Chris Davidson commented, “Cable in conduit was a lifesaver on this one!”


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