Overhead Underground Electric Distribution – Virtual (Sep 28-30)

Electric utility professionals meet to discuss current standards, materials and maintenance for mainly distribution operations. Agendas feature extensive roundtable discussion so that each delegate has an opportunity to submit questions and receive feedback from their peers. Presentations focus on new technologies, applications, and specifications available for designing, building and maintaining overhead and underground lines. Case studies highlight best practices and lessons learned, and attendees leave with the practical knowledge to improve efficiency, safety and reduce costs. Participants also have the opportunity to preview vendor products and services. Vendors are encouraged to display.

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General Details

  • Program Chair(s)
  • Jeff Budke,Senior Standards Engineer, Avista Corp

    • Program Location
    • Virtual Event
    • No travel required. All agenda times are in Pacific Time., Instructions to access the virtual event will be provided before the program.
    • Who Should Attend
      • Standards engineers
      • Design engineers
      • Line technicians and engineers
      • Reliability and quality testers
      • T&D supervisors and suppliers
      • Operations and maintenance managers
      • Suppliers of distribution and substation products and services
  • Registration Options
  • Western Energy Institute takes the health and safety of our employees and members very seriously. With safety as our top priority, this program is being offered in a virtual format. No hotel or travel is required. If you have any questions, please contact the Program Manager directly.

    Member: $199 USD
    Regular: $299 USD

    Registration includes attendance to all presentations, roundtable sessions, vendor area, comprehensive meeting materials and all food events.

  • General Cancellation Policy
  • To best serve WEI members and program participants during the COVID-19 pandemic, WEI will be waiving its standard cancellation policy for this program and all programs through December 2020. Registrants can now receive a full refund should they need to cancel their registration up to the day before the program begins. This applies to both new and existing registrations for virtual programs.
  • Participation Policy
  • Western Energy Institute programs and events are open to energy companies (including gas production and electric generation, gas and electric transmission and gas and electric distribution utilities). Select programs and events are open to energy industry product and service suppliers. Programs and events are closed to all media representatives and to the general public. Recording is not permitted for any portion of the event.
  • For more information contact Traci Pepper, Program Manager at (503) 688-2798.


Monday, September 28, 2020

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Happy Hour

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Welcome & Introductions

Conference Chair will welcome everyone to the opening of the confrence and introduce keynote speaker

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

LED Lighting

Hear about basic lighting design concepts, common terms in the lighting industry and LED light fixture specifications. Also hear about the implementation of LED street and area lighting at Idaho Power and lessons learned.

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Switchgear Insulation Comparison

Craig Befus will provide an overview of vault and pad-mounted medium voltage dead front switchgear designs using SF6, oil and solid dielectric insulation. We will briefly review available options and configurations from the various manufacturers, and IEEE standards covering the design and testing requirements. We will also talk about options and trade-offs to be evaluated to meet specific utility application requirements including automation and SCADA control.

10:30 AM - 10:40 AM

Stretch Break

10:40 AM - 12:00 PM

Underground/Overhead Practices, Product, and Safety Roundtable

Submit your roundtable questions to be included in the Practices, Product + Safety Roundtable discussions. Your questions will be compiled by area of interest and presented at the roundtable sessions, which includes supporting information or documentation necessary. Questions can be emailed directly to Rick Stark at

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

8:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Wildfire Mitigation Strategies Utilizing Existing and Emerging Technologies

Electrical system owners and operators worldwide are exploring strategies and emerging technologies to improve distribution system resiliency for wildfire prevention and mitigation. This panel session will explore three specific opportunities that utilities can utilize to successfully reduce total ignition events and ignition events per fault occurrence as a way of enhancing public safety and improving system performance:
1. Optimizing existing distribution system equipment, operational technology and protection strategies (sometimes at the expense of reliability and customer satisfaction).
2. Utilizing Data Analytics to adjust operational settings, develop equipment deployment methodologies and evaluate system performance.
3. Incorporating new and advanced technologies to further improve fault detection, reduce fault clearing times, and help prevent additional faults.
The panel will also explore the question “Do we need quantitative resiliency metrics to measure system resiliency going forward similarly to how electrical distribution system reliability is now measured?”

9:15 AM - 10:15 AM

Underground/ Overhead Practices, Product, and Safety Roundtable

10:15 AM - 10:20 AM

Stretch Break

10:20 AM - 11:20 AM

Crypto Currency

This presentation will cover cryptocurrency mining relative to utility: rates, policies, operations, engineering, etc. Please join us for a presentation that will be a blend of information covering all utility business units and a healthy Q&A session to bring attendee’s real-life situations to the team.

11:20 AM - 11:30 AM

Planning Future Topics

Group discussion on future topics

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM

OH/UG Wrap Up and Planning Meeting

Program Development Team Wrap Up Meeting – For Program Development Team members only and those interested in planning the spring meeting.


This event will now be held in a virtual format. Hotel and travel arrangements will not be required to attend.

If you previously made hotel reservations for this event and need to cancel them, we’ve included the contact information for the hotel below for your convenience. If you have additional questions about this event, please contact the Program Manager directly.

Hilton Vancouver Metrotown
6083 McKay Avenue
Burnaby, British Columbia, V5H 2W7
Phone: 604.438.1299