Case Study: Going Underground Helps Columbia Basin Electric Cooperative Beat Extreme Weather, Ice Storms

Aug 15, 2014

“More than 60 percent of Columbia Basin Electric Co-op members prefer Southwire’s SIMpull® Cable-In-Conduit over installing their own underground cable and conduit separately.” –Brian Kollman, Columbia Basin Electric operations manager

Project Title: Condon ice area HDPE Cable-In-Conduit install

Project Owner: Columbia Basin Electric Cooperative

Project Used: 1/0 stranded15KV 220 mil EPR MV with jacket installed in 1.5” Schedule 40 Grey HDPE conduit on 2500’ reels

In Service Date: July 2013 

The Pacific Northwest’s highly variable weather – 90 feet of snow in the mountains, 30 inches of rain in the valleys and 100-degree temperatures in the high desert plains – wreak havoc on utility systems. Fog, ice and other severe weather can knock out overhead service to rural customers for weeks.

Columbia Basin Electric Operations Manager Brian Kollman’s solution? Installing SIMpull® Cable-In-Conduit in areas most vulnerable to extreme ice conditions, reducing maintenance costs and unplanned outages. Exposure to extreme ice, wind and heat damage overhead cable and lead to eventual power failure – often when homeowners, business and other utility customers need it most.

Solution: Southwire’s SIMpull® Cable-In-Conduit

Columbia Basin Electric replaced about 20 miles of overhead conductor with Southwire Company’s SIMpull® Cable-In-Conduit. The buried underground conduit protects the cable from damage during transit, handling, installation, and weather extremes.

Investment in Cable-In-Conduit system offers long-term savings

While installing CIC costs more upfront, long-term savings add up quickly. “With about 18 poles per mile of line, it takes a significant amount of time to check overhead,” Kollman said. Underground, on the other hand, may have a switching cabinet every half to one mile.”

Trench-ready CIC superior to PVC pipe system

CIC also provides cost savings over the traditional methods of installing underground conductor into a PVC pipe system. “With CIC, we lay the cable directly in the ditch,” Kollman said. “If there’s ever a failure, we have space inside the conduit to pull a new conductor through.”

Columbia Basin Electric Co-op members’ preferred solution

More than 60 percent of Columbia Basin Electric Co-op members now prefer CIC over installing their own underground cable and conduit separately. Benefits include:

• Faster installs that no longer require careful inspections of PVC conduit joints that maybe improperly    installed.

• Reduced issues with conduit clogged by mud or water.

• Reduced labor costs that save the customer money.

• Simplified inventory, storage and transportation of materials.

For more information on SIMpull Cable-In-Conduit visit