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Economics 101

March 11, 2011

ECONOMICS 101

Q:

In the Novinium proposal you have units for testing the cable. What is the scope of testing and why is it not included with the injection charge?

A:

To answer this question I had to dust off my old ECONOMICS 101 book. I now realize that I need a whole new category in the blog for this kind of question, so this is my inaugural blog entry in the category. The unit in question is borrowed from the best practices codified in the Draft Rehabilitation Guide, which was prepared for the ICC (the Insulated Conductors Committee) C30 Discussion Group. I first wrote about the Draft Guide for Rehabilitation and Rejuvenation of Extruded Dielectric Cable Rated 2.5 kV through 46 kV in the post with the same name.

Consider the 20 steps enumerated below which are involved with the identification and replacement of a splice. For brevity, I write only about the splice case, but the same principals also apply to neutral corrosion repair. The first eight of those steps (boldface) are included in the testing unit. From a rejuvenation operations perspective these eight steps are the most challenging part of the entire rejuvenation process. The Novinium master craftworkers have undergone extensive training to use the sophisticated tools required. The TDR (time domain reflectometer or radar) is connected to the cable with a proprietary impedance streamliner. The observed waveforms are analyzed by Novinium experts. When it is required to excavate a splice or corrosion site, a radio frequency tone is applied to the cable and locations are pinpointed on the surface within inches of the splice’s Earth-surface zenith. This process is documented in Novinium Rejuvenation Instructions TDR Diagnosis (NRI 260) and RF Locating (NRI 270).

  1. Use a TDR to identify an impedance anomaly.
  2. Ascertain whether the anomaly is a splice or corrosion site.
  3. Map the anomalies to the surface to estimate if anomalies may be inaccessible.
  4. Perform an economic analysis to determine whether cable should be rejuvenated or replaced.
  5. Use a RF (radio frequency) locator to pinpoint the anomaly.
  6. Refine and map the anomalies from step 3.
  7. Refine economic analysis of step 4. Decide whether to rejuvenate or replace?
  8. Locate utilities if using anything other than soft-dig.
  9. Excavate the pit.
  10. Test cable to confirm that it is not energized.
  11. Spike the cable.
  12. If the cable has an attenuated signal, repeat steps 1-8.
  13. Remove the old splice (Chop or slice?)
  14. Remove the old compression connector preserving maximum conductor.
  15. Examine the cable as in NRI-230 for defects.
  16. Install 1 new repair connector or two non-repair connectors.
  17. Install two IAs (Injection Adaptors).
  18. Install 1 repair splice or two regular-length splices.
  19. Replace soil.
  20. Restore surface.

Activities 1-8 are some of the most operationally and technologically demanding steps in the overall rehabilitation program. If the costs for these steps were included as part of the injection unit cost, the service supplier would have to make conservative assumptions about the number of cables that will be encountered and tested, but not treated. As a consequence the cost would necessarily increase.

“When the risks are fairly allocated between the [technology/service] supplier and the [circuit owner] purchaser, the best economics are attained for all parties.  Matching pricing structure to strategic cost structure is a contracting best practice.”