An Injection of New Life
January 18, 2016
Like a lot of our overhead power lines, many of our underground cables are reaching the end of their lifespans. This is a problem because as the underground cables age, the insulation around them breaks down and cracks. Water seeps into the cracks and will eventually short out the conductor, causing outages.
As difficult as outages are to repair above ground, it gets a whole lot more complicated when you have to dig to find and fix the problem. This is how Olivier Larocque, Project Manager with Distribution Assets at SaskPower, describes the process:
"Crews may have to dig down six feet (1.8 metres) or more, find the fault, repair it with a splice and restore power again and restore the site as well. If the break is in someone's yard, they may have to tear up a fence. It creates a lot of disturbance and costs." So what can we do about it? Just last summer, there were about a dozen underground cable faults in both Saskatoon and Regina. Replacing a lot of cables at once just isn't realistic in time or cost. That's where Novinium comes in.
Novinium is a company that specializes in a process where a liquid is injected into cables to fill cracks in the old insulation. This process in much faster, about four times cheaper, and can extend the life of the underground cables by restoring the insulation for another 20-30 years.
To find out how the process works, check out the video below: