Powering Strong Communities
Virtual Course

Advanced Underground Distribution Systems

Part two of the Underground Distribution Systems Series. Learn how to improve your utility’s policies, standards, and practices for planning, designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining underground distribution, and hear about current and emerging industry trends.
February 27 - 29, 2024
12:00pm - 4:00pm Eastern

Return to the two-part Underground Distribution Systems Virtual Series.

Learning Environment

Join us as we hold this popular course as a series of three interactive virtual sessions using the Zoom meeting platform. It’s a convenient way to attend the course, while still having the opportunity to interact with the instructors, connect with your industry peers, and earn 9.5 PDH credits. 

This course is applications-oriented, including real-time presentations, breakout sessions, in-class examples, quizzes, live polling, Q&A sessions, and group discussions. 


Participate in three real-time sessions from Noon-4 p.m. ET on February 27, 28, and 29. There will be two 15-minute breaks incorporated into each session. 

This is the second course in a two-part virtual series on Underground Distribution Systems.

Course Overview

Underground distribution continues to be the installation method of choice in many applications on public power systems. Although the initial installation cost of underground distribution is almost always greater than equivalent overhead distribution, it offers a wide range of advantages including greater operating reliability, lower operating and maintenance costs, better public safety and, of course, reduced visibility and greater public acceptance. 

Learn how to improve your utility’s policies, standards, and practices for planning, designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining underground distribution and hear about current and emerging industry trends. 

Course Schedule and Topics

Orientation Session: February 26 (1-1:45 p.m. ET)
We request that all participants attend this session, though a recording will also be made available. The session will cover:

  • Instructor and participant introductions
  • Course overview, materials, and expectations
  • Technology and logistics (the APPA document portal and homework/exercises)
  • Zoom functionality (breakout rooms, webcams/audio, best practices, etc.)
  • Completion requirements for continuing education credits

Each subsequent session will be held from Noon – 4 p.m. ET.  

Session 1: Ensuring Long-Life Cable Installation
February 27

  • Cable Specifications
  • Cable Applications
  • Cable Rejuvenation
  • Cable Manufacturing (Prysmian)

Session 2: Ensuring Long-Life Cable Installation (continued) & Underground Distribution Planning & Design
February 28

  • Civil Engineering Overview
  • Urban Routing/Route Survey
  • Engineering Testing
  • Cable Installation Engineering

Session 3: Underground System Planning & Capital Improvements & Professional Practice in Underground Line Design
February 29

  • Systems Improvements
  • System Planning & Capital Budgeting
  • System Assessment & APPA RP3
  • Risk Management
  • Legal & Regulatory Requirements (Take 2)
  • Professional Engineering Practice
  • Line Design Process & Protocol
  • Design Criteria & Construction Standards
  • Trending Best Practices

Recommended for

Designed for electric utility engineers, designers, technicians, and field personnel who are responsible for, or who make decisions concerning, distribution systems, as well as those involved in the management, construction, and operations aspects of distribution systems.

This course is conducted at a practical level and is appropriate for degreed engineers and engineering technicians, as well as non-degreed high school graduates with a general knowledge of the electric utility system.

It is highly recommended that you attend this course in conjunction with the Underground Distribution Systems online course (January 23-February 1). Discounts apply for attending both courses. 

Course Level

Intermediate: No prerequisites, no advance preparation. Some knowledge of underground distribution systems is helpful. 

For those looking for more comprehensive training, it is highly recommended that you attend this course in conjunction with the Underground Distribution Systems course (Jan. 23, 24, 25, 30, and 31, and Feb. 1). Discounts apply for attending both courses. 

Additional Requirements

  • Participants are required to have a scientific calculator or smart phone calculator app.
  • The instructors recommend having a print copy (or having access to a digital copy) of the 2023 National Electric Safety Code® (NESC) during class. Copies can be purchased from IEEE (www.ieee.org) and a copy can be shared among attendees who may be participating together in the same location.
  • Participants are also encouraged to submit interesting underground distribution photos, as well as their underground distribution design guides and standards to the instructors in advance of the course.


The following continuing education credits will be provided, after successfully completing 90% of all six live sessions. Certificates will be available by Feb. 15. These sessions will be recorded, though certificates can only be awarded to those who participate in the live events.
Recommended CEUs 1/PDHs 9.5/CPEs 11.4
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge


minerLead Instructor: R. John Miner, P.E., is an accomplished executive manager and educator with over 45 years of experience in the electric utility industry. He is president of Collaborative Learning, Inc., of Austin, Texas, and has been an APPA instructor for more than 30 years and an instructor for the University of Wisconsin for 20 years. Before forming his own company, he worked for the Austin, Texas, Electric Utility Department, Rochester Public Utilities in Minnesota, and as an assistant professor for the University of Houston. John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering (with honors), and a Master of Science degree in engineering science, both from the University of Toledo. John is a Senior Life Member of the IEEE and is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Texas and Minnesota. He is also the author of the first three editions of APPA’s Electric Utility Basics manual.

tom black headshotThomas Black, P.E., is an independent consultant and educator in the electric and gas utility industry. His experience includes both municipal (Colorado Springs and City of Fountain, CO) and investor-owned utilities across multiple jurisdictions in Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. His range of experience in the utility industry covers 30 years and includes planning and engineering, standards, construction and maintenance manager, energy delivery general manager and chief energy officer responsible for all aspects of energy supply, electric transmission and distribution and gas distribution. He also has extensive executive level experience including serving as chief energy officer and energy delivery general manager. Tom has also served on the boards of RMEL and the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

ericErich Schoennagel, P.E., has cultivated over 45 years of experience in the electric industry. He is a former manager and engineer with CenterPoint Energy and managed the Transmission Project Engineering group. Erich served for 15 years as a member advisor and chairman of the Underground Transmission Task Force for the Electric Power Research Institute until his retirement from CenterPoint Energy. There he directed research related to underground transmission and superconductivity. He was a board member of the annual TSDOS symposium, and a former member of the American Concrete Institute 336 committee related to foundation design and construction.


Held in partnership with:

Collaborative Learning, Inc.




Register Now!

Registration Fees

Registration is for individual access. If you have multiple people interested in attending, group discounts are available.

Bundled Series (Save $200) Members*
Includes Both Courses $2,390
Individual Courses Members*
*Non-member rates are double the member rate.

Group Discounts

Save money when your organization registers five or more people for the same class or the bundled series. The larger your group, the more you save! 

Registrations must be submitted on the same order (at the same time) to qualify for the group discount; discounts cannot be retroactively applied to previous orders. 

If you need assistance, contact [email protected].

Number of registrants Individual Courses (per person, per class) Bundled Courses (two classes, per person)
1-4 n/a n/a
5-9 $50 $100
10-14 $100 $200
15-24 $150 $300
25+ $200 $400

Registration Help

Check out our Registration FAQs for answers to the most common questions and help with all your registration-related issues. 


All events will be recorded and attendees will automatically receive a copy of the recordings, in case you can’t attend live.

Registrants who cancel in writing at least 7 days before the first day of a course are entitled to a refund of their registration fee, minus a $100 cancellation fee. Registrants who cancel after that will not receive a refund, but attendee substitutions will be allowed for this event only. Registrants and no-shows who do not cancel at least 7 days before the course start date are responsible for the full registration fee and are not entitled to a refund.

Cancellation deadlines: 

  • Underground Distribution Systems Virtual Series (both classes): Cancellations must be received on/before January 16
  • Underground Distribution Systems: Cancellations must be received on/before January 16
  • Advanced Underground Distribution Systems: Cancellations must be received on/before February 20
  • Cancellation requests should be made through your My.PublicPower portal, or addressed to: [email protected]




Earn While You Learn!

Participate in virtual programs to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), Professional Development Hours (PDHs) and Continuing Professional Education credits (CPEs).

What educational credits are available?

You can earn the following kinds of continuing education credits for attending live sessions—provided the following requirements are met:

Requirements for Successful Completion

  • Registration is for individual access, so each person participating must register. If you have multiple people interested in attending, group discounts are available.
  • Individuals are required to attend and actively participate in 90% of each live session and complete an online evaluation after the last session in a course. 
    • Attendance: Individuals must attend at least 90% of each live session (based on electronic timestamps in Zoom).
    • Participation: Active participation in class will include engagement activities such as: polling/check-in questions, Kahoot quizzes, group discussions, breakout sessions, and in-class exercises.
    • Activities vary by class: Information on participation will be provided the day before (and during) class. Participation is tracked electronically.
    • Online evaluation: Each person must complete an online evaluation after the course concludes
  • Partial credit cannot be given for partial attendance.
  • Attendance is monitored by an APPA staff member during the event, through an online report log, and upon review of the post-event evaluation data
  • Completion certificates will be available within two weeks of the last session in a live event (for those who meet the requirements) through your APPA member portal (access instructions will be provided).
  • Virtual sessions are recorded (attendees automatically receive access to recordings within a week of the last session), though continuing education credits can only be given for attending live events. Recordings will be accessible for 90 days after the last session.

Guidelines for group participation in virtual events

  • If a group is participating in a conference room together, we recommend each person still logs in individually from a laptop to ensure attendance and participation requirements are met (as noted above).
  • If individual log in is not possible, the organization must designate one person as the main point of contact. Email [email protected] in advance of the virtual event noting this information
    • This person will record attendance in the room in the room (we can provide a sample attendance tracker) and ensure attendance and participation from the group throughout.
    • Submit the attendance record to APPA within 2 business days of the conclusion of a virtual event.
    • Ensure each person fills out the required online evaluation.

 IACET logoContinuing Education Units (CEUs): The American Public Power Association is accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and is authorized to issue the IACET CEU. For information regarding certification status, attendance requirements and obtaining attendee transcripts, contact [email protected]

CPE logoContinuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits: The American Public Power Association is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.learningmarket.org. Unless noted, there are no prerequisites for the courses offered and no advance preparation is required. Courses are group-internet based offerings at the basic program level (unless otherwise noted). Credit hours and areas of study for the courses are listed on the individual course pages. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as clarification of requirements, complaints, and refunds, please contact [email protected].

Professional Development Hours (PDHs): The American Public Power Association’s educational practices are consistent with the criteria for awarding Professional Development Hours (PDHs) as established by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Course eligibility and number of PDHs may vary by state.


Additional Information

Format and Log-In Information

These classes will be offered on the Zoom meeting platform.


  • 24 hours after registering: You’ll receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of registering, which contains some preliminary information.
  • 24 hours before: 
    • You’ll receive your Zoom log in links the day before the first session in a course (sent from the APPA Academy’s Zoom account <[email protected]>)
    • You’ll also receive a final logistics email 24 hours in advance of the first class. 
  • If you don’t receive this, email [email protected].

Course Materials and Recordings

  • Zoom Links: Zoom log in credentials will be sent out 24 hours before the start of the first session.
  • Course Materials: Attendees will receive access to course materials the day before each session through the "Documents" section of their My.PublicPower.org user portal. 
  • Recordings: All sessions will be recorded and can be accessed through your user portal as well (within a week of the last class in the program), in case you can’t attend the live versions. Recordings will be accessible for 90 days after the last session. Note: Continuing education credits can only be issued for attending live sessions.

Technology Requirements

  • Zoom Meeting Application: Attendees are required to have strong Internet access, in order to run the Zoom meeting platform. Please see below for more information on downloading the Zoom Web Client.
  • Audio/Webcam: You will need to enable computer audio to listen and speak (alternatively a call-in number will be provided) and you will also need a webcam, so you can fully engage in the small group breakout sessions and group discussions.

New to Zoom?

If you haven't participated in a Zoom meeting before, please download the Zoom web client from the Zoom Download Center. This will enable you to access all of the Zoom tools and functionality vs. using the web version. Then, visit Zoom.us/test to ensure you are able to join a meeting. 

If you are not able to download the Zoom web client, you can still participate via your Internet browser. We recommend using Chrome for the best results.

Privacy and Security

The American Public Power Association takes your privacy and security very seriously. For this reason, we have put the following security measures in place for this course:

  • A random Meeting ID
  • Password-protected
  • Enabled waiting room to screen meeting participants
  • Restricted screen sharing to hosts only