Powering Strong Communities
Virtual Course

Best Practices in Overhead Distribution Line Design

Part two of the Overhead Distribution Series. Learn all about overhead distribution structural design principles and participate in hands-on design exercises, including the practical application of a design program.
November 28 - December 6, 2023

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Learning Environment

Join us as we hold this popular course as a series of five (5) 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, your industry peers, and earn 14 PDH credits.

This course is applications-oriented, including real-time presentations, breakout sessions, in-class examples and software demos, quizzes, live polling, practical application exercises, Q&A sessions, and group discussions. With a focus on learning by doing, participants will have the opportunity to perform more than twenty-five (25) line design problems using engineering software, which is provided as a learning tool.


Participate in a 45-minute orientation session on Monday, November 27, followed by five (5), real-time sessions from Noon – 4 p.m. Eastern on November 28, 29, and 30, and December 5 and 6. There will be two 15-minute breaks incorporated into each session.

This is the first course in a two-part virtual series on Overhead Distribution Systems.

Course Overview

Overhead distribution continues to play an essential role for most utilities in delivering electric service to end-use customers either directly or as the source for underground line extensions. Overhead line design is an engineering discipline that requires the consistent and proper application of engineering principles and ethics to prepare quality designs and reduce liability exposure.

Learn how to enhance your line design processes and prepare designs that are safe, reliable, and in compliance with National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) requirements. Review industry best practices, engage with your peers, and complete over twenty-five (25) practical hands-on design exercises using line design software.

Attendees will return to their work better prepared to help their organizations adopt design practices that comply with applicable professional engineering laws and regulations. 

Note: Some of the exercises will require the use of line design software, which you’ll receive complimentary access to for a period of thirty (30) days from the start of the course.

Recommended for

Those who work at all levels of overhead distribution design including:

  • Engineering managers
  • Design engineers
  • Design/staking supervisors and technicians
  • Consulting engineers
  • Crew supervisors and senior lineworkers

It is highly recommended that you attend this course in conjunction with the Overhead Distribution System Principles and Applications online course (Sept. 19-27). Discounts apply for attending both courses.

Those who are relatively inexperienced in the industry or new to overhead distribution, as well as those with experience who want to “refresh and update” their understanding of overhead distribution system, will benefit from participating.

Course Schedule and Topics

Orientation Session: November 27 (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. Eastern.  

Session 1: Overhead Line Design Accountabilities and Process
November 28

  • Overhead line design protocols and processes
  • NESC general requirements for overhead lines
  • Joint use and other considerations in overhead line design

Session 2: Conductor/Cable Sag, Tension, and Clearance
November 29

  • NESC requirements for maximum conductor/cable sag determination
  • NESC and practical requirements for maximum conductor/cable design tension
  • Conductor/cable sag and tension calculations, sag-tension software, and application examples/exercises

Session 3: NESC Clearance Requirements
November 30

  • Clearances to ground and water surfaces; buildings and other structures; and between conductors, cables and equipment
  • Selected special clearance conditions and application examples/exercises

Session 4: Overhead Line Structure Loading and Strength (Part 1)
December 5

  • NESC requirements for supporting structure design (loading conditions and strength requirements)
  • Determination of mechanical forces on supporting structures
  • Overhead line guying and anchoring design considerations
  • Supporting structure loading application examples and assigned exercises

Session 5: Overhead Line Structure Loading and Strength (Part 2)
December 6

  • Wood poles (types, treatments, dimensions, strength classes, and specifications)
  • Manufactured poles (types, characteristics, NESC equivalent designs, and specifications
  • Pole embedment designs
  • Supporting structure loading application examples and assigned exercises

Course Level

Intermediate/Advanced: No prerequisites; however, completion of the Overhead Distribution Principles and Applications (September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27) is highly recommended. Discounts apply for attending both courses.

Some advanced preparation is requested, including attending an orientation session on November 27 (1-1:45 p.m. Eastern – this will be recorded), completing a brief pre-course survey, and logging into the line design software platform.   

Application Exercises/Homework

  • Following each live session, participants are expected to work independently on online line design application exercises (some exercises will be conducted during the live sessions).
  • There will also be self-grading online quizzes to complete outside of class, to test your knowledge on key concepts.
  • Total estimated time for completing these items is 1 hour per class day.

Additional Requirement

  • NESC: Participants are requested to have a copy of the 2023 National Electric Safety Code® on hand to review during the course. 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.


The following continuing education credits will be provided, after successfully completing 90% of all five live sessions. Certificates will be available by Dec. 20. These sessions will be recorded, though certificates can only be awarded to those who participate in the live events. Review requirements.

Recommended CEUs 1.4/PDHs 14/CPEs 16.8
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).

tedTed Dimberio, P.E., is an accomplished engineer with over 40 years of experience in electric and telecommunication line design. He is currently President and CFO of Utility Line Design and President of Line Design University. Ted has worked in all capacities of line design including field staking, construction supervision, management, and consulting. He has been an industry leader in developing engineering software for electric distribution utilities that auto-generates profile drawings and required line design calculations to verify and document engineering decisions. Ted received his civil and structural engineering education from Mesabi State Junior College and the University of Minnesota. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

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., and the Academy for Utility Line Design Professionals

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Registration Fees



Bundled Series: Includes Both Courses (Save $200)


Individual Courses


  • Overhead Distribution Principles and Applications


  • Best Practices in Overhead Distribution Line Design


*Non-member rates are double the member rate.

Group Discounts

Save money on each registration 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

(per person)












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 $50 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: 

  • Overhead Distribution Systems Virtual Series (both classes): Cancellations must be received on/before Sept. 12:
    • Overhead Distribution Principles and Applications: Cancellations must be received on/before Sept. 12
    • Best Practices in Overhead Distribution Line Design: Cancellations must be received on/before Nov. 21

Cancellation requests should be made through your My.PublicPower portal, or addressed to: [email protected]


  • 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 login link the day before the first session (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 correspondence, email [email protected].

Course Access and Materials

  • 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 you r 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.




Earn While You Learn!

Participate in virtual programs to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), Professional Development Hours (PDHs) and Continuing Professional Education credits (CPEs). Each course in the Overhead Distribution System virtual series (5 sessions each) is eligible for the following credits:

Recommended CEUs 1.4/PDHs 14/CPEs 16.8
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

What educational credits are available?

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

Requirements for Successful Completion

  • For each course: Attendees are required to attend and participate in 90% of all five live sessions—that equates to 215 of the potential 240 minutes of each module—and complete an online evaluation at the end of each.
  • 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). You’ll receive one certificate for all five sessions.
  • 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.

 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

  • Classes will be offered on the Zoom meeting platform.
  • Each class is presented in five, 4-hour sessions.
  • Courses are interactive, practical, applications-oriented, and focused on learning by doing.


  • 24 hours after registering: You’ll receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of registering, which contains some preliminary information.
  • 1 week out: You’ll receive a more comprehensive logistics/prep email a week out from the start of the first session.
  • 24 hours before:
    • You’ll receive your Zoom log in links the day before the first class (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 correspondence, email [email protected].

Course Materials and Recordings

  • Course materials: Attendees will receive access to APPA’s secure online document portal a week before the course, where the eManuals and other course materials will be made available, allowing you to work with them before, during and after the online sessions.
  • Recordings: The sessions will be recorded and can also be accessed through APPA’s document portal (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 course 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.