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Electrical design parameters of all-dielectric-self-supporting fiber optic cable

Article  in  IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery · August 2000

DOI: 10.1109/61.871356 · Source: IEEE Xplore

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Electrical Design Parameters of

All-Dielectric-Self-Supporting Fiber Optic
Monty W. Tuominen, Senior Member, IEEE, and Robert G. Olsen, Fellow, IEEE

Abstract—A lumped circuit model for calculating voltages and

currents on all-dielectric self-supporting (ADSS) fiber optic cable
near high voltage transmission lines has been developed. The model
has been used to show that contamination levels, tower attachment
points, relative ADSS and conductor sag and electrical phasing of
the conductors are important parameters and must be considered
in calculations, especially when determining the possibility of dry
band arcs which could lead to cable damage.
Index Terms—Dry band arcing, fiber optic cables, high electric


A LL-DIELECTRIC self-supporting (ADSS) optical fiber

cable on high voltage structures is exposed to electric
fields of sufficient strength to cause corona, microsparking, and
Fig. 1. One span of ADSS on 500 kV towers with typical sags noted.
dry band arcing [1], [2]. An example installation is depicted
in Fig. 1. Corona, usually on the supporting hardware, is
eliminated with grading rings and microsparking is reduced
with grading bars attached to the tower [3]. However, the
conditions which cause dry band arcing and arc mitigation
strategies continue to be investigated [4]–[7].
Events leading to dry band arcing can be described as fol-
lows. When first installed, the outer jacket of an ADSS cable
is hydrophobic and nonconductive. As a result, its resistance
Fig. 2. Dry band arc on ADSS.
is very high even when wet. Over time, however, it becomes
hydrophilic and, in some environments, significant contamina-
tion may accumulate. As shown in Fig. 2, during wet conditions accounts for transmission line cross-section geometry and
the contamination layer can become conductive and capacitively phasing, ADSS cable tower attachment point, contamination
coupled currents from adjacent energized conductors flow in the resistance, span length phase conductor sag, and ADSS cable
layer. As the contamination dries, narrow dry bands form. These sag. The model is also useful for studying the safety of workers
bands can have voltages across them approaching and even ex- touching ADSS cables near energized conductors and for
ceeding the space potential near the ADSS cable (as high as 10’s developing laboratory tests for ADSS cable that properly
of kV) - high enough to cause arcs to occur across the dry-band. simulate field conditions [8], [9].
If the current available to the arcs is also high enough (i.e. if
the resistance of the contamination is small enough to allow pre II. ELECTRICAL DESIGN PARAMETERS
dry-band currents in the milliampere range) arc heating can de- A. Contamination Level and Cable Hydrophobicity
grade the ADSS jacket and cause cable failure [2], [4]. The most important design parameter is the ADSS cable con-
In this paper a model is described which can be used to pre- tamination level. This parameter is usually quantified by the re-
dict dry band voltages and induced currents in the conductive sistance per unit length of the cable under wet conditions. Three
contamination layer along an ADSS cable span. The model levels generally assumed are heavy, medium, and light corre-
sponding to 10 , 10 , and 10 /meter respectively [10].
Manuscript received June 25, 1999. Contamination can be natural and/or man-made. Natural con-
M. W. Tuominen is with the US Department of Energy, Bonneville Power tamination includes salt fog (reported to be the main source of
Administration, Portland, OR 97208. ADSS cable damage in Britain) and dust from alkali lake beds
R. G. Olsen is with the School of EECS, Washington State University,
Pullman, WA 99164-2752. [2], [4], [11]. Man-made sources include agricultural fertilizers
Publisher Item Identifier S 0885-8977(00)08131-0. and pesticides, vehicle exhaust, and factory emissions.
0885–8977/00$10.00 © 2000 IEEE

Despite its importance as a design parameter, very little re- calculated using the tower or midspan cross-section. A conser-
search on measurement of field contamination levels has been vative estimate of this voltage is obtained by assuming the dry
reported. In fact, measurements at only one location have been band to be an open circuit [8] (dry cable resistance assumed
reported and these are induced current measurements which re- greater than 10 /m—large compared to contamination). This
quire long term placement of equipment [4]. Further, it is not voltage is called the “available dry band voltage.”
known if geographic information is useful for predicting con- It should be noted that dry band voltage is not the same as “in-
tamination levels on ADSS cable [4], [7]. To remedy this sit- duced voltage” on the ADSS cable. Induced voltage is the abso-
uation, work is presently under way at Washington State Uni- lute voltage on the cable with respect to ground assuming con-
versity to develop a portable instrument for rapid field measure- tinuous wetting (e.g. no dry bands) along the span. It is an impor-
ment of ADSS cable contamination levels at many locations. tant parameter for studies of worker safety but not for studying
dry band arcing [9].
B. Space Potential
A second important design parameter is “space potential”. D. Available Arc Current
The electrical potential of the ADSS cable (with respect to
A fourth design parameter which addresses the lack of
ground) due to energized conductors at midspan is approx-
information about “current available to sustain the arc” is
imately that of the space potential with the cable absent. At
the current induced in the ADSS contamination layer prior to
the tower, however, the cable is held at ground potential. This
dry-band formation. This “available arc current” is equivalent
difference in potential causes currents to flow on the cable
to the “short circuit current” in [8]. The larger this current, the
sheath which, as mentioned earlier, can become significant if
larger the current available to a dry-band arc and hence the
the sheath is contaminated and wet. Because this difference in
greater the potential for damaging arcs.
potential (i.e. very roughly equal to the space potential near
Early studies in Great Britain suggest that induced currents of
the dry band) drives dry band arcs and because its calculation
1 mA or greater are required to sustain arcs which cause cable
using a two-dimensional approximation is relatively simple, it
jacket damage [2], [4]. More recent work has refined this crite-
is the most commonly used design criteria.
rion. ADSS jacket types are commonly divided into two cate-
One problem with the space potential parameter is that its
gories: “standard” and “track resistant”. Preliminary studies at
value is different along the ADSS cable path due to different
the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) have indicated that
sags of the phase conductors and ADSS cable. Since a two-di-
arcs created with an available arc current of 1.5 mA and avail-
mensional model is usually used to calculate space potential, the
able dry band voltage of 26 kV will damage standard jackets but
result depends upon whether the tower or midspan cross-sec-
are resisted almost indefinitely by track resistant jackets [14].
tional geometry is used and the choice of which is proper tends
The same tests showed that arcs with available arc currents near
to be controversial. A second problem is that while the space
5 mA cause significant damage in track resistant jackets. BPA
potential is related to the dry-band voltage it is not equivalent
intends to further refine the tests over a range of currents and
to it [8]. Hence the actual voltage initiating the arc is not known.
Dry-band voltage calculation requires a knowledge of contam-
ination level and dry ADSS cable resistance [8]. A third diffi-
culty with using only space potential for design is that dry-band E. Arc Models
arcs require sufficient voltage for ignition and sufficient current It should be further noted that research on the physics of dry
available to sustain the arc. A space potential calculation only band arcs has lead to a circuit model for these arcs [10]. In com-
addresses the first issue. bination with a Thevenin equivalent of the system at a dry band,
Despite these ambiguities, several rules of thumb have been this model may result in an even more refined criteria for pre-
developed. For example, ADSS cable placements in less than dicting dry-band arcing damage and failure. Such a model may
12 kV space potential have been successful. Above 12 kV incorporate the effect of altitude which may have been a factor
space potential, manufacturers recommendations differ. Several in the failure of one cable [12].
manufacturers are willing to install cables with track resistant
sheaths in space potentials of up to 25 kV. In this range,
ADSS cable have been successfully installed and operated
on transmission lines with voltages of up to 500 kV. Above A number of attempts have been made to develop accurate
25 kV, the use of ADSS cable is not generally recommended models for calculating voltages and currents on ADSS cables
although there is at least one case of successful long term in high voltage environments. One solves the problem with a
operation near 40 kV. It is interesting to note that the simple finite element method but is unwieldy [15]. A second is based
space potential criteria for locating ADSS cable has not always on a two-dimensional transmission line model of the system but
been successful. In fact, there are at last two reports of ADSS (except that the ADSS cable potential at the tower is forced to
cable failure in a space potential of less than 12 kV [12], [13]. zero) does not explicitly consider the effect of the tower [10].
A more physically based model developed recently using field
C. Available Dry Band Voltage theory and reciprocity uses a simple model for a tower to calcu-
As mentioned above, a better parameter than space potential late the electric field [8]. This field was then used to calculate
is the voltage across a dry band. The use of this parameter re- the induced currents on the cable and on workers who touch the
solves the controversy of whether the space potential should be cable. However, the influence of sag was not considered nor was

Fig. 4. Original Fig. 3 Circuit; Fig. 4(b) Thevenin Equiv.

Fig. 3. Distributed parameters of the lumped circuit ADSS model

(tower–tower span length S ).

the effect of conductor phasing. The lumped circuit model does

include sag and phasing.
Fig. 5. Induced current model using the Thevenin Equivalent.
Transmission line electrical characteristics are often de- Thevenin equivalent, the circuit of Fig. 3 can be simplified to
scribed by distributed inductance, capacitance, and resistance that shown in Fig. 5.
per length. Inductance can be ignored for ADSS cable be- The reason why space potential is an important parameter can
cause the resistance per unit length is much greater than the be illustrated using Fig. 5. Suppose that is infinite (i.e. it
inductive reactance per unit length. Fig. 3 depicts a lumped represents a dry-band). If is small (i.e. contaminated and
parameter ADSS cable circuit model. In this model, the span wet condition) then . Now if the space potential and
, has been divided into sections of length Thevenin capacitance are roughly the same for each section and
where . Each section consists of the total is small, then is approximately the space
contamination resistance within the section ( , potential. Hence the voltage across (the dry band) is ap-
etc.), the capacitance between each phase and the ADSS cable proximately the space potential.
( , , , , etc.), and the capacitance between the Using superposition, a simple formula for the current in sec-
cable and ground ( , , etc.). tion n (i.e. through resistor ) can be written as:
In each section , where
and are respectively the resis-
tance per unit length of the ADSS cable and the capacitance (1)
per unit length between the ADSS cable and the phase con-
ductors and ground. Note that there are also capacitances be-
where is the current through resistor due to
tween phase conductors and between each phase conductor and
a voltage source of amplitude in series with capacitor .
ground. However, these do not affect the induced currents and
Once is determined using the methods in [16] (out-
are not included in the model. , and are the conductor
lined in Appendix A), Equation (1) can be used to calculate the
voltages. , etc. and , etc. are the induced volt-
current through or voltage across any resistor. The same equa-
ages and currents on the ADSS cable.
tion is the starting point of Appendix B and used to show that
It is possible to solve for the currents and voltages by di-
the circuit model presented here and the electromagnetic reci-
rectly solving the circuit shown in Fig. 3. In fact, this is the
procity model of [8] yield identical results.
method used to generate the results in this paper. Solution details
In most situations and (i.e. currents entering the
may found are in [16] (outlined in Appendix A). Additional in-
grounded hardware at the towers) are the largest currents and
sight into the coupling mechanism can be found by simplifying
the location of most reported failures. But subsequent analysis
the circuit of Fig. 3 using Thevenin’s theorem. More specifi-
will reveal that this is not always true if the effects of sag are
cally, the circuit shown in Fig. 4(a) at terminals AB (i.e. ADSS
incorporated into the model.
cable—ground) can be replaced by that shown in Fig. 4b. Here
is the open circuit voltage between terminals A and B
which is the unperturbed space potential (i.e. in the absence
of the cable) at the section “m” along the ADSS cable. The As is evident from Fig. 5, a knowledge of unperturbed space
Thevenin capacitance is found by setting the voltage sources potential is useful for calculating the induced currents and volt-
equal to zero and (since the capacitances are now in parallel) ages on the ADSS cable. Here “unperturbed” means the space
calculating . Using the potential due to the energized conductors in the absence of the

Fig. 6. Dimensions of 500 kV BPA 238 Series tower with ADSS cable.
Fig. 7. Conductor and ADSS cable sag profiles - Conductors at 2%, ADSS at
ADSS cable (but including the effect of the tower). The unper- 0.5%, 1.25% and 2%.
turbed space potential along the path of the ADSS (prior to cable
installation) must start at zero at the tower and has maxima at
one or more locations along the path. Given the effects of towers
and conductor sag, calculation of unperturbed space potential
generally requires the use of a three dimensional electrostatics
program such as ANSOFT™ or a Monte Carlo program such as
EF3D [1].
In this paper, a simplified two-dimensional calculation [16]
is used as an approximation. For this calculation the towers are
ignored and the energized conductors treated as infinitely long
straight conductors. Note, however, that sag causes the cross
sectional locations of the phase conductors and the ADSS cable
to change with distance from the tower. This problem is resolved
by repeating the two- dimensional space potential calculation
(or alternatively the capacitance calculation) times, once for
the cross section at each segment of the path between the towers.
The resulting space potential is called quasitwo-dimensional
(Q2D). As a final note, phase conductor sag will change with
load. This issue should be considered in any design.
Even though the Q2D space potential does not approach zero
at the grounded tower as required by the physics of the problem,
it has been shown in [8] that, for contamination resistances less
than /m, the use of the Q2D space potential is sufficient.
Basically, the tower has negligible effect and can be ignored for
low contamination resistance. Studies at BPA have confirmed
this conclusion.


Fig. 6 is the tower design selected for the study. A 304.8 meter
(1000 ft.) span was selected as typical, conductor sags were 2% Fig. 8. ADSS space potential (Q2D): Voltage and phase angles. Conductors at
and the ADSS was sagged at 0.5%, 1.25%, and 2%. Fig. 7 shows 2%, ADSS at 0.5%, 1.25% and 2%.
the sag profiles along the ADSS cable for various sags.
Selection of the delta design tower configuration for an ex- cancellation in the center of the delta. However, tightening the
ample was intentional; Very different Q2D space potential pro- ADSS cable further to 0.5 % raises midspan Q2D space poten-
files result from the three ADSS sags and two conductor phasing tial amplitude to about 70 kV with decreases near the towers to
conditions as indicated in Fig. 8. Consider first CAB conductor 25 kV.
phasing as shown in Fig. 6. At 2% ADSS sag the Q2D space po- The effect of changing conductor phasing to BAC is also
tential amplitude remains fairly constant along the span—about shown in Fig. 8. The amplitude of the Q2D space potential is in-
45 kV. When the ADSS is tightened to 1.25 % sag, midspan Q2D dependent of conductor phasing and is identical to that for CAB
space potential amplitude drops to about 25 kV and remains so phasing. However, the phase of the space potential changes con-
over a large portion of the span. This reduction is due to field siderably. When the conductor phasing is changed from CAB

Fig. 9. Magnitude of available arc current on ADSS cable for various sags and
conductor phasing. Fig. 10. Magnitude of available dry band voltage on an ADSS cable.

to BAC, the sign of the phase reverses. This change is impor- parameter. It is assumed that /m (heavy contamina-
tant because the phase angle along the ADSS cable now is de- tion) and that the electrical phasing of the conductors is CAB. In
creasing rather increasing. The importance of this change can be this case, the effect of ADSS cable sag on the induced current at
illustrated by referring to Fig. 5. If end effects are ignored then the tower is modest—the maximum induced current varies from
currents propagate from segment to segment according to just above 6 mA to just above 8 mA.
the formula [8] However, as shown in the bottom chart of Fig. 9, the rephasing
of the conductors to BAC (or alternatively moving the ADSS
(2) cable to the opposite side of the tower) has a dramatic effect
on the induced current distribution—but only when the ADSS
where is a propagation constant determined by the frequency
cable sag of different from the conductor sag. As long as the
and the resistance and capacitance per unit length of the ADSS
sag of the ADSS cable is the same as that of the phase conduc-
cable. The space potential at segment m can be written as
tors (both 2% in this example), there is little effect. But at 0.5%
(3) ADSS sag, the induced current at the tower is reduced from over
8 mA to 2.5 mA. Moreover, the maximum induced current now
It follows that the contribution of source m to the current at seg- occurs at a distance of 65 meters from the tower. This dramatic
ment is the product of (2) and (3). If change occurs because of the phase matching conditions dis-
constant then the propagation and source phases are “phase cussed earlier.
matched” and currents at segment n will add in phase resulting The result suggests that, given the proper circumstances,
in a large induced current there. It is clear that changing the dry-band arcing may occur at significant distances from the
sign of will remove the matching condition and result tower—a result that is different from the conventional wisdom.
in a significantly smaller induced current. It will be shown A similar effect can be observed for the available dry band
shortly that this “phase match” can have a dramatic effect on voltage which is plotted in Fig. 10. This is not surprising since
the possibility of dry band arcing. the available arc current equals the available dry band voltage
The effect of sag and conductor phasing on available dry band divided by an input impedance which is essentially independent
voltage and arc current is illustrated in Figs. 9 and 10. In the top of conductor phasing or sag [8].
chart of Fig. 9 the available arc current magnitude is plotted as For a conductor phasing CAB, it can be observed that the
a function of location along the span with ADSS cable sag as a maximum available dry band voltage is near the tower and not

been identified. These include cable contamination level and hy-

drophobicity, space potential, dry band voltage, current avail-
able to an arc and arc models. Of these, current available to
the arc and available dry band voltage appear to be the most
useful predictors of performance. Preliminary tests at BPA in-
dicate that for a 26 kV dry band voltage, available arc currents of
1.5 mA and 5 mA are sufficient to cause damage to nontracking
resistant and tracking resistant ADSS cable respectively.
A lumped circuit model for calculating induced voltages and
currents on ADSS cable near a high voltage transmission line
has been developed. The source that drives the currents and volt-
ages in the model is the unperturbed space potential. Features of
the model include the effect of sagging conductors and electrical
A study of ADSS cable on a typical 500 kV transmission
line using the new model shows that the effects of contami-
nation level, tower attachment point, differential ADSS/phase
conductor sag and conductor electrical phasing can be signifi-
cant. More specifically, it has been found that contamination
resistance values of approximately /m or less are needed
to support dry band arcing. In addition, the combined effects of
different conductor and ADSS cable sag and conductor phasing
can cause differences in available arc current and dry band
voltage of up to a factor of 3. Since phase transpositions and
variations in sag with line loading are normal for transmission
lines, their effects should be considered when designing ADSS
cable installations.
The lumped circuit model developed in this paper has been
Fig. 11. Magnitude of available arc voltages and currents on an ADSS cable shown to be equivalent to the distributed parameter model of
for r = 10
/m. [8] which uses axial electric field as the driving source.

very sensitive to conductor sag. Specifically, this voltage varies

between just below 40 kV to approximately 50 kV. If, however,
the phasing is changed to BAC, the available dry band voltage
at approximately 65 meters from the tower increases to nearly Using node analysis, the following set of equations can be
70 kV. As explained earlier, this occurs because of the phase written for the voltages in the circuit of Fig. 3
matching of the voltage distribution and current propagation on
the ADSS cable.
Fig. 11 illustrates the effect of changing the contamination (A1)
level. It is a replication of the top charts of Figs. 8 and 9 but
for /m. It is clear the available arc currents are con- where
siderably smaller that those for /m case. In fact, the
available arc current is sufficient (1 to 2 mA) to support dam-
aging arcing only very close to the tower. The available dry
band voltage, however, is on the same order of magnitude as
those for the case /m. The only notable difference is
that the largest voltages are somewhat smaller than those in the
/m. Clearly, increasing r further to /m will result
in dry band arcing that either does not exist at all or is not dan-
gerous. It can be concluded that a knowledge of contamination While a solution to this equation could be obtained using gen-
levels is very important for estimating the possibility of ADSS eral Gaussian elimination, the fact that the matrix is symmetric
cable damage. and tri-diagonal leads to a much more economic solution. Row
is multiplied by and row n by . The two re-
sulting equations are subtracted and row replaced by the
VII. CONCLUSIONS difference. The new row has a 0 in the spot occupied by
. This process is repeated with row and row
Electrical design parameters that can be used to predict the and so on until the matrix becomes lower diagonal. This equa-
performance of ADSS cable in a high voltage environment have tion can be easily solved by back substitution.

Note that if the ADSS can be considered uniform (i.e.

, ) the current can be written

Fig. 12. Circuit of Fig. 4 with a single voltage source.




Fig. 13. Reciprocal Circuit to that of Fig. 12.

APPENDIX B are the characteristic length and the characteristic impedance

COMPARISON TO OTHER MODELS of the cable respectively. In this case, the calculation of current
becomes a simple numerical integration of (B4) with (B5).
Using reciprocity, the current of the circuit shown in
Fig. 12 can be shown to be identical to the current of the
circuit shown in Fig. 13. REFERENCES
By Kirchoff’s current law, [1] G. G. Karady, M. Torgerson, D. Torgerson, J. Wild, and M. W.
Tuominen, “Evaluation of corona-caused aging of ADSS fiber-optic
(B1) cables,” in IEEE Transmission and Distribution Meeting, 1999, Paper#
[2] G. Carlton, A. Bartlett, C. Carter, and T. Parkin, “UK power utilities’
Using these results, an expression can be written for the cur- experience with optical telecommunications cabling systems,” Power
rent ( ) through the th resistor due to the set Engineering Journal, vol. 9, pp. 7–14, Feb. 1995.
[3] M. W. Tuominen, “ADSS fiber optic cable in HV electric
of sources shown in Fig. 4. If is the current fields—Corona considerations,” in IEEE Corona Effects Working
through the th resistor due to a voltage source of am- Group, Feb. 1996.
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all-dielectric self supporting cable systems to very high voltage overhead
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(B2) [6] , “National grid,” in Optical Fiber Task Force, 1998 IEEE PES
where and and is the length of a section Winter Meeting, Tampa, FL.
[7] P. Costigan, “FOCAS,” in Optical Fiber Task Force, 1999 IEEE PES
of transmission line. Winter Meeting, New York, NY.
In the limit at the number of segments becomes infinite [8] R. G. Olsen, “An improved model for the electromagnetic compatibility
of all-dielectric self-supporting fiber optic cable and high voltage power
lines,” IEEE Trans. Electromag. Compat., to be published.
(B3) [9] , “Laboratory simulation of dry band arcing on all-dielectric self-
supporting fiber optic cable near high voltage power lines,” in 1999
IEEE EMC Society Symposium, Seattle, WA.
Finally, using integration by parts and the fact that [10] C. N. Carter and M. A. Waldron, “Mathematical model of dry band
arcing on self-supporting all dielectric optical cables strung on over-
head power lines,” IEE Proceedings-C, vol. 139, no. 3, pp. 185–196,
May 1992.
(B4) [11] G. Carleton, C. N. Carter, and A. J. Peacock, “Progress in the long term
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[12] D. Smith, “Private communication,” ESKOM, Republic of South Africa.
[13] D. A. Keller, D. J. Benzel, J. P. Bonicel, C. Bastide, and F. Davidson,
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[15] J. C. G. Wheeler, M. L. Lissenburg, J. D. S. Hinchcliffe, and M. E. Robert G. Olsen received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from Rut-
Slevin, “The development of a track resistant sheathing material for gers University in 1968 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering
aerial optical fiber cables,” in 5th Intl. Conf. On Dielectric Materials from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1970 and 1974 respectively. He has
and Applications, Canterbury, UK, 1988, pp. 73–76. been a member of the electrical engineering faculty at Washington State Univer-
[16] M. W. Tuominen, “3 phase circuit model for ADSS optical fiber con- sity since 1973. His research interests include the electromagnetic environment
tamination currents,” Bonneville Power Admin., US Dept. of Energy, of power lines, electromagnetic compatibility and electromagnetic scattering.
Engineering Report TNL3-99-1, May 1999. He presently serves as chair of the IEEE Power Engineering Society Corona
Effects Working Group, and is an Associate Editor of Radio Science and the
of the IEEE.
Monty W. Tuominen received a B.S.E.E. (with distinction) from Washington
State University in 1968 and an M.S.E.E. in 1974. Military service (1969–1971)
included one year as an Instructor at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, and one year
as an Electronics Technician in Nha Trang, Viet Nam. After seven years of de-
signing controls for the forest products industry he came to BPA in 1971. He
is presently an Electrical Engineer in Engineering and Technical Services of
BPA’s Transmission Business Line and responsible for properly locating fiber
optic cables in high voltage electric fields. He is registered as a Professional
Electrical Engineer in the state of Oregon and a Senior Member of IEEE.

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