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Injection adds longevity to cables

May 17, 2015

Brooks & County Chronicle, May 17, 2015
by Hugo Brees

Imagine if there were a rejuvenation silicone available to extend a human life by 40 years, most of us would sign up. On the human front, that technology has not yet been developed, but in the electrical world ageing cables are having their life expectancy extended by 40 years. The silicone injection that Fortis Alberta has adopted for this purpose focuses on the existing underground cables, the majority of them installed in communities throughout Alberta during the 1970’s. Overtime the protective jacket on these cables becomes broken or damaged as a result of frost heaves, rocks and old age and an injection of a silicone fluid into the cable fills the voids in the damaged insulation.

To Fortis, this system is a cost effective $70 per metre to repair versus $250 per metre to replace the cables. Not just cost effective, it’s also environmentally friendly as there is no need to disturb the existing landscape. The over 200 metre section being injected in the southeast sector of Brooks took about three hours whereas a replacement line for the same project would take close to a week to repair.

Fortis Alberta owns and operates 60 per cent of Alberta electrical distribution including 119,000 kilometres of power lines, the majority of which are overhead power lines.