Case Study

15-Year Study: Safety and Reliability for a Senior Community 

Upscale golf and retirement community began experiencing frequent unplanned power outages 

A southeastern upscale golf and retirement community began experiencing frequent unplanned power outages at a rate of approximately two failures per month over a 9-year period. Reliability was a major concern because it caused potential safety issues for some residents due to their reliance of powered medical equipment. The utility began to address the reliability issues of this community by replacing faulted underground power cables and while this helped reduce the number of outages temporarily, the failures still were occurring.

Approximately 41 miles of underground cables were used to supply electricity to the community. The utility attempted to replace the cable over a period of nine years and the failure rates improved slightly to approximately one cable failure per month, but there were still unplanned outages. As a result, the utility decided to use IMCORP’s Factory Grade® technology to assess the underground cable systems’ health and identify those cables at risk of failure. The utility and IMCORP developed a tailored program to minimize outages while assessing all 41 miles of cable, which equated to 545 spans. Out of the 545 spans, IMCORP identified 45 cables that required repairs and 107 cables requiring replacement. During the replacement of substandard cables, upgrades were made to the infrastructure by adding overvoltage protection to ensure the now certified 41 miles of underground cable would maintain their long-term reliability. The utility was able to address the community’s cable systems in a more timely manner because approximately 80% of the cables met standards and were left in the ground. By using IMCORP’s Factory Grade® technology, it allowed the utility to minimize spend, address the substandard cables efficiently, eliminate unnecessary civil work, and reduce the number of outages that would have been required for cable replacement activities.

Ultimately, the utility’s main goal was achieved by restoring peace of mind to this large retirement community that their lights will stay on and providing the Country Club the confidence that they could host the many special events without any disruptions. The power system was monitored by the utility for 5 years after targeted investment and they found the reliability of the aged cable system outperformed new cable systems! This project was truly a win for the utility, the neighborhood, and rate all the rate payers!