Virtual Course

Constructing, Operating and Maintaining Underground Distribution Systems

Learn all about the effective design, construction, operation and maintenance of underground electric distribution systems. Discuss operations, safety and regulatory requirements, and hear from an industry cable application engineer.
March 2 - 10, 2021
12:00pm EST - 4:00pm EST

Virtual Training

Join us we debut this popular course as five, 4-hour interactive virtual sessions. It’s a convenient way to 'attend', while still having the opportunity to interact with the instructors, network with your industry peers, and earn continuing education credits. This course combines real-time presentations, small group breakouts, application examples and case studies, live polling/quizzes, and Q&A sessions.


Participate in five, real-time sessions from Noon – 4 p.m. Eastern on March 2, 3, 4, 9, and 10. There will be two, 15-minute breaks incorporated into each session. 

Course Overview

Learn all about the effective design, construction, operation and maintenance of underground electric distribution systems. Review critical factors involved in the conversion of overhead systems to underground. Discuss operations, safety and regulatory requirements, and hear from an industry cable application engineer about underground cable reliability, failure modes, and testing methods.

Course Topics

  • Policy and service guidelines
  • Underground distribution planning, design and layout
  • Maintenance practices
  • Operations, safety and regulatory requirements
  • Cable design and application
  • Terminating underground cable
  • Fusing and lightning/surge protection
  • Review of the 2017 NESC that pertains to underground systems (Part 3) and work practices (Part 4)

Sample Agenda

Part 1: March 2


  • Course Agenda, Objectives & Introductions
  • History of Underground Systems
  • Advantages & Disadvantages of Underground Systems

Policy and Service Guidelines                              

  • Cost Recovery Methods 
  • Easements/Point of Ownership
  • OH to UG Conversion
  • Harmonics
  • Policy Development Discussion and Example

Planning & Design                                                                                           

  • Load Characteristics
  • Planning Criteria
  • Load Estimating & Diversity
  • Subdivision System Design Criteria & Techniques
  • Reliability Considerations
  • Commercial Service Considerations
  • Sectionalizing/Fault Interruption Options
  • Planning, Design, & Layout Discussion 
    • Residential / Commercial Subdivision
    • Industrial Subdivision

Part 2: March 3

Planning & Design (continued)                                                          

  • Transformer Design Considerations – Loss Evaluation
  • Equipment Installation Locations

Cable Design, Application & Failure Modes                                              

  • Cable Theory & Cable Construction
  • Conductor/Insulation Types
  • Mechanical/Electrical Properties
  • Cable Replacement/Life Extension
  • Cable Pulling Example

Part 3: March 4

Cable Design, Application & Failure Modes (continued)              

  • Cable System Reliability & Longevity (Ben Lanz, Director, Technology, IMCORP)   

Terminations & Splice Design & Operation – 200A & 600A 

  • Voltage Stress Relief
  • Terminations
  • Splices
  • Loadbreak Connections – 200A
  • Deadbreak Connections – 600A

Part 4: March 9

Inspection/Preventive Maintenance                                                              

Over Current Fuse Application                                                                                

  • Types of Fuses
  • Fuse Application & Operation
  • Time-Current Curves
  • Transformer & Lateral Protection
  • Fuse Coordination – field application discussion
  • Other Fuse Related Topics

Part 5: March 10

National Electrical Safety Code                                                

Lightning & Surge Protection                                                   

Cable Fault Location                                                                                           

  • Fault Cable Indicators
  • Fault Location Techniques


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, planning, 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.

Course Level

Basic/Intermediate: No prerequisites; no advance preparation. 

Technology Requirements

  • Attendees are required to have strong Internet access, in order to run the Zoom meeting platform. 
  • You will need to enable computer audio to listen and speak (alternatively a call-in number will be provided) and it’s also recommended that you have a webcam, so you can fully engage in the small group breakout exercises.  
  • Click here to learn more about downloading the Zoom Web Client.

Course Access and Materials

  • Zoom log in credentials will be sent out the day before class.
  • Attendees will receive access to APPA’s secure electronic document portal a week before the course, where the eManual will be made available. The sessions will be recorded and can also be accessed through this portal, in case you can’t attend the live version.


The following continuing education credits will be provided, after successfully completing both live sessions. Certificates will be emailed out by March 24. These sessions will be recorded, though certificates can only be awarded to those who participate in the live events (click here to review requirements).

Recommended CEUs 2/PDHs 17.5/CPEs 21 (for all 5 sessions)
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge


LKLarry Koshire
Consultant, Koshire Consulting, LLC

Larry Koshire has held various positions in the electric industry for private and public power utilities and has extensive experience in electric transmission and distribution design, construction, and operation. He served as the general manager of Rochester Public Utilities, in Minnesota, for 17 years and is also the former general manager of Muscatine Power and Water in Iowa. Larry has been active in state and national boards, committees and professional organizations. He holds an electrical engineering degree from the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology, is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and has taught APPA’s Underground Distribution course since 1988.

MSMark Swan
Consulting Engineer, MDS Engineering Consulting, LLC

Mark Swan is a consulting engineer with over 40 years of experience in the utility industry, serving as the general manager of the operations department of Colorado Springs Utilities. He managed the operation of power plants, water, and wastewater plants, and field operations for electric, gas, water, and wastewater services. Since 1988, Mark has taught APPA’s Underground Distribution course. He is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado.

Guest Speaker: Ben Lanz
Director, Technology & Test Systems Availability, IMCORP 
As Director of Applications Engineering at IMCORP, Ben has the technical oversight of power cable diagnostics and life cycle consulting. He is a senior member of the IEEE PES and ICC, and voting member of DEIS, IAS, EPRA, AWEA and CIGRE. He served as Chair IEEE technical committees responsible for power system testing, reliability and protection. He holds an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Connecticut where he studied under Dr. Mashikian, an early pioneer of cable diagnostics and director of Electrical Insulation Research Center at the Institute of Material Science. He has published dozens of papers and technical conference contributions on the subjects of power system reliability, asset management, and diagnostics and is a regular guest speaker at numerous conferences and seminars.


Contact us at [email protected].

Register Now

Registration fees:

  • $995 for members
  • $1,990 for nonmembers

Not a member? Join today and save on your course registration. Call Member Services at 202-467-2926 to learn more.

Group Discounts

Save an additional $50 on each when your organization registers 5 or more people. The larger your group, the more you save!

Number of registrants

(per person)

Registration Fee

Registration Fee

















Contact [email protected] for more information and to request the group registration form to receive this special discount.  


Registrants who cancel in writing on or before February 23, 2021, are entitled to a refund of their registration fee, minus a $50 cancellation fee. Registrants who cancel after February 23 will not receive a refund, but attendee substitutions will be allowed for this event only. Registrants and no-shows who do not cancel by February 23 are responsible for the full registration fee and are not entitled to a refund. Email your cancellation request to [email protected].


Contact [email protected].

Earn While You Learn!

Participate in online programs to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), Professional Development Hours (PDHs) and Continuing Professional Education credits (CPEs). This course is eligible for the following credits:

Recommended CEUs 2/PDHs 17.5/CPEs 21 (for all 5 sessions)
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

  • Attendees are required to attend and participate in 90% of the live event and complete an online evaluation at the end of the session
  • 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 emailed out within one week of a live event (for those who meet the requirements)
  • Virtual sessions are recorded (attendees automatically receive access to recordings within a week of a live event), though continuing education credits can only be given for attending live events


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 attendees transcripts, contact [email protected] or 202-467-2965. Verify our IACET Accreditation.

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: 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.


Format and Log-In Information

This class will be offered on the Zoom meeting platform. Presented in five interactive sessions, featuring real-time presentations, small group breakouts, application examples and case studies, live polling/quizzes, and Q&A sessions.

  • You’ll receive a logistics email one week in advance of the class.
  • You will receive your Zoom access link the day before the course from the APPA Academy <[email protected]>. Please reach out to [email protected] if you do not receive that email.

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. For the course, you will need an Internet connection and sound (we recommend using your computer’s audio and microphone, though a phone number will also be provided). Then, visit 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. If you use your Internet browser, your functionality may be more limited (for example, you will only be able to see one video feed at a time), and you will need to create a Zoom account. (Account creation is a free and straightforward process, but you will want to do this in advance so you do not miss any part of the meeting).

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

Code of Conduct

Participants agree to abide by the APPA Code of Conduct. If participants engage in unacceptable behavior as outlined in the code, the Association may take any action it deems appropriate, including but not limited to, expulsion from the current and future meetings, with no warning or refund.


Contact us at [email protected].