Fundamentals of Overhead Distribution Systems

Fundamentals of Overhead Distribution Systems

November 9-10, 2021 | Online :: Central Time

“Far exceeded my expectations. Taught by true professionals in their industry.” COO, Universal Electric

“As a young engineer in the transmission and distribution industry, and having only one year of experience, this course provided fantastic information (both technical and non-technical) for me to advance my learning curve.” Assistant Civil Engineer, Burns & McDonnell

“The best resource I have seen for comprehensive introduction to the overhead distribution system.” Industry Director, NEMA

This course will introduce and provide non-technical people with the basics of the overhead distribution system and all the general components that make up the system. Issues that are involved in the design, construction, operation, reliability, protection and maintenance of overhead distribution, as well as safety awareness will be discussed.  It will allow people who are not distribution engineers to know enough to oversee projects or simply have a better understanding of the system.

Learning Outcomes

  • Review the power system from generator to customer and where distribution fits in
  • Discover how a distribution system works and system configurations
  • Expand on the functions of the system through reliability, power quality, protection and voltage regulation
  • List the various equipment components that make up the system
  • Review the what, the why, and the how of system construction
  • Discuss the operation considerations of protection, reliability and safety
  • Explain the differences in a comparison of overhead and underground systems
  • Explore challenges in system operation
  • Review utility approaches to improving reliability
  • Discuss methods and practices for modernizing the overhead distribution system



Tuesday, November 9, 2021 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:00 – 12:45 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Course Timing

Distribution – What is it?

  • The power system from generator to customer
  • Major types of distribution systems
    • Overhead
    • Underground
    • Network
  • Typical distribution system configurations
    • Feeders
    • Branch lines
    • Descending hierarchy

How Distribution Systems Work – Electrical Part I

  • Voltages, amps, resistance
  • Single phase and three-phase
  • Power and impedance

How Distribution Systems Work – Electrical Part II

  • Power quality
    • Voltage drop, flicker, harmonics
    • Power Factor
  • Voltage regulation

Design Considerations – What is That?

  • Major materials
    • Poles, crossarms, conductors, equipment
  • Smaller materials
    • Primary and secondary materials
    • Nuts, bolts, washers, and more
  • Pole top assemblies
    • Horizontal and vertical configurations
    • Alternate construction configurations
  • Guying
    • Guy attachments, guy wire, anchors
  • Transformers
    • What they are – how they work
    • Three-phase configurations
    • Photo quiz
  • Special electrical equipment
    • Regulators, auto transformers, capacitors, metering

Design Considerations – Why is it Built That Way?

  • Codes and regulations
    • National Electrical Safety Code (NESC)
    • Other regulatory agencies
  • Mechanical and electrical
    • Equipment sizing
    • Conductor sag, tension, clearance
  • Operations
    • Utility and industry standards
    • Line crew considerations
  • Storm hardening
    • Definitions
    • Stronger or more resilient?

Design Considerations – Why Are Those Lines Where They Are?

  • System analysis
    • Load flow and power quality
    • Line and equipment loading
  • System planning
    • Projecting future new loads
    • Modeling the future system               
  • Other considerations

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Course Timing

Operating Considerations – What Does it Take to Keep the Lights On?

  • System protection
    • What line faults are
    • Devices used to handle fault conditions
    • System protection schemes
  • Special situations
    • Distributed generation
    • Disruptive loads
  • Public perceptions and pressures

Reliability – What are Utilities Doing?

  • Switching and protective devices
  • Automated switching and reconfigurations
  • Automated outage reporting
  • Storm hardening
  • Fire mitigation

Modernizing the System – Can Old Dogs Learn New Tricks?

  • Energy sector R&D
  • Utility programs

Safety – Saving the Most Important Topic for Last

  • Electrical considerations
    • Public safety
    • Employee safety
    • Stray voltage


Wes Spencer, Senior Project Engineer, POWER Engineers, Inc.

Wes is a Senior Project Engineer for POWER Engineers, St. Petersburg, FL and holds a BSEE from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology.

Wes has over 40 years of experience with distribution systems including over 20 years with a Florida utility, private consulting, and working with POWER Engineers. He has developed standards, taught distribution design, directed line crews, and led multiple complex design projects. He has served in leadership positions on numerous technical committees.  He is currently technical lead for major distribution projects with POWER Engineers.

Rod Ratcliff PE, Consultant, POWER Engineers, Inc.

Rod is a Project Engineer for POWER Engineers, Fort Worth, TX and holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.

During his 10 year career as a consultant in the Power Systems Utility industry Rod has served in a wide variety of power systems engineering design fields including: Low Voltage Electrical System Design, Arc Flash Studies, Substation Design and Ground Testing, Transmission Line Design, Transmission Line SCADA Control and Metering, Overhead and Underground Distribution Line Design, Distribution System Studies and Planning, as well as Reports and Studies for Need, Placement, and Planning of New Substations and New Transmission Lines as required by the Public Utility Commission(PUC). Presently, Rod works in the field of Distribution Design and is also involved in corporate internal training.

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
  • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
    • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.


Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event

Event Standard RateAttendees
Single Connection - Fundamentals of Overhead Distribution SystemsUS $ 1195.00
Pack of 5 connectionsUS $ 4,780.00
Pack of 10 ConnectionsUS $ 8,365.00
Pack of 20 ConnectionsUS $ 14,340.00
Call us at 303.770.8800 if you have any specific questions on the volume discounts
* all other discounts do not apply to license packs

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Cancellation Policy

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before October 08, 2021 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800

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EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this event.

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

You must be logged in for the entire presentation and send in the evaluation after the course is completed.

Instructional Methods

Case studies and PowerPoint presentations will be used in this course.

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