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Underground Residential Distribution Systems

Edition II

Copyright MMVII
T&D PowerSkills, LLC
5501A John Eskew Blvd.
Alexandria, LA 71303
866-880-1380
http://www.tdpowerskills.com
All rights reserved. This book or any part thereof
must not be reproduced in any form without the
written permission of T&D PowerSkills, LLC.
Printed in the United States of America
on March 11, 2013

General Guidelines
The Underground Residential Distribution Systems training unit is composed of a video and associated
Student Manual. The DVD contains one Course. The course is divided into Lessons, where each
Lesson consists of a number of Topics. The number of Lessons and Topics will vary with each course.
Recommended Sequence of Instruction
1. After the instructors introductory remarks, read the segment objectives found in the block at
the beginning of the first segment.
2. Briefly discuss the segment objectives with the instructor and other class members.
3. View the first segment of the video.
4. Read the text segment that corresponds to the first segment of the video.
5. Answer the questions at the end of the text segment. Check your answers with the correct
answers provided by the instructor.
6. Participate in a class discussion of the material just covered. Ask any questions you might have
concerning the material in the video and the text, and note any additional information given by
the instructor.
7. Before proceeding, be sure you understand the concepts presented in this segment.
8. Work through all segments in this manner.
9. A Course Test covering all the material will be administered by the instructor upon completion
of the unit.
10. Additional instruction and testing may be provided, at the instructors discretion.
This recommended sequence may be modified slightly by the instructor due to scheduling or other
special considerations.

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


OSHA Regulations, primarily in 1926.955, 1910.269 and 1910.268 will be used in
conjunction with this training unit. Where applicable, regulations will be highlighted
and placed in a box like this.
Regulations are used that are in force at the time of the workbook printing.
Instructors and students are expected to review the current OSHA Regulations to
familiarize the student with the safety requirements expected by USDOL OSHA,
specifically as they relate to the topic being discussed. This information is an
important part of this training unit.
This T&D PowerSkills Training workbook is designed to be used in conjunction with the
associated training video.

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Page 2

Field Performance Requirements (FPR)


Complete

NAME: ______________________________ #___________

Incomplete
SECTION: UNDERGROUND DISTRIBUTION
UNIT(S): Underground Residential Distribution Systems
REQUIREMENTS

VG
ACC
NI
NA

=
=
=
=

Very Good
Acceptable
Needs Improvement
Not Able to Complete
on this Crew

SUPERVISOR SIGN-OFF
VG ACC NI NA

SEGMENT 1 TYPES OF URD SYSTEMS


1.1 Given prints or diagrams of a service area, can identify URD power sources and

system design .....................................................................................................................................

SEGMENT 2 URD SYSTEM COMPONENTS


2.1 Can identify the following:
a. Primary Feeder Connections ...................................................................................................

d. Customer Service Connections ...............................................................................................


SEGMENT 3 CABLES AND TERMINATIONS


3.1 Can identify primary and secondary URD cable and URD cable terminators...................................

b. Pad Mounted Transformers.....................................................................................................



c. Below Ground Transformers...................................................................................................

SEGMENT 4 URD EQUIPMENT INSTALLATION


4.1 Can demonstrate approved procedures for installing a pad mounted transformer .............................

4.3 Can demonstrate approved procedures for installing a direct-buried transformer .............................

SEGMENT 5 URD SYSTEM MAINTENANCE


5.1 Can demonstrate approved procedures and safe work practices for

inspecting URD equipment......................................................................................................................

4.2 Can demonstrate approved procedures for installing a subsurface transformer ................................

CONTINUED:

SEGMENT 6 CABLES AND TERMINATIONS


6.1 Can demonstrate approved procedures and safe work practices for isolating a:
a. Section of Primary Cable ........................................................................................................

b. Cable Pole ...............................................................................................................................

c. Transformer .............................................................................................................................

__________________________

__________________________

____________________

Apprentices Signature

Supervisor's Signature

Date

NOTES:

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


1910.269(a)(2)(vii)
The employer shall certify that each employee has received the training required by paragraph (a)(2) of
this section. This certification shall be made when the employee demonstrates proficiency in the work
practices involved and shall be maintained for the duration of the employees employment.
Note: Employment records that indicate that an employee has received the required training are an
acceptable means of meeting this requirement.

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Table of Contents
Segment 1:
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.3.1
1.3.2
1.3.3

URD System Power Sources


Special Considerations Associated with URD Systems
URD System Designs
Radial Feed Design
Loop Feed Design
Double Feed Design

Segment 2:
2.1
2.1.1
2.1.2
2.2
2.2.1
2.2.2
2.3

8
9
10
10
11
13
19
22
22
23
26
29
29
32
34
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.

URD System Maintenance

Error! Bookmark not defined.

Inspecting a Cable Pole


Inspecting a Pad-Mounted Transformer
Inspecting a Pad-Mounted Switch
Inspecting Other URD Equipment

Error! Bookmark not defined.


Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.

Segment 6:
6.1
6.2
6.3

URD Equipment Installation

Installing URD Cable


Installing URD Equipment
Above-Ground Equipment
Subsurface Equipment
Direct-Buried Equipment

Segment 5:
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4

Cables and Terminations

Primary URD Cable


Secondary URD Cable
URD Cable Terminators

Segment 4:
4.1
4.2
4.2.1
4.2.2
4.2.3

URD System Components

Connection with the Primary Feeder


URD Systems Fed from Overhead Primaries
URD Systems Fed from Underground Feeders
Transformers
Pad-Mounted Transformers
Below-Ground Transformers
Secondary Service to Customers

Segment 3:
3.1
3.2
3.3

Types of URD Systems

Equipment Operation

Isolating a Section of Primary Cable


Isolating a Cable Pole
Isolating a Transformer

Error! Bookmark not defined.


Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.
Error! Bookmark not defined.

Table of Figures
Figure 1-1: Portion of a Typical Cable Pole ............................................................................................. 9
Figure 1-2: Radial Feed URD System .....................................................................................................11
Figure 1-3: Radial Feed URD System with Faulted Cable ..................................................................... 12
Figure 1-4: Loop Feed URD System ...................................................................................................... 13
Figure 1-5: Open Loop URD System Energized from Two Different Overhead Phases ...................... 14
Figure 1-6: Three-Phase Loop URD System .......................................................................................... 15
Figure 1-7: Three-Phase Open Loop: Phase "A" .................................................................................... 16
Figure 1-8: Three-Phase Open Loop: Phase "B" .................................................................................... 17
Figure 1-9: Three-Phase Open Loop: Phase "C" .................................................................................... 18
Figure 1-10: Double Feed URD System ................................................................................................. 19
Figure 2-1: Pothead ................................................................................................................................. 23
Figure 2-2: Fuses in a URD Transformer ............................................................................................... 24
Figure 2-3: Surge Arrestors in a Transformer ......................................................................................... 25
Figure 2-4: Transclosure ......................................................................................................................... 26
Figure 2-5: Oil-Filled, Spring-Operated Gang Switch ........................................................................... 27
Figure 2-6: Tap Hole ............................................................................................................................... 28
Figure 2-7: Live-Front Pad-Mounted Transformers ............................................................................... 30
Figure 2-8: Dead-Front Pad-Mounted Transformer ................................................................................ 31
Figure 2-9: Subsurface Transformer ....................................................................................................... 32
Figure 2-10: Direct Buried Transformer ................................................................................................. 33
Figure 2-11: Ground Connection of a Transformer ................................................................................ 34
Figure 2-12: Terminal Strip on Secondary Bushing ............................................................................... 35
Figure 2-13: Terminal Strip Inside Pedestal ........................................................................................... 36
Figure 3-1: Single Phase Primary URD Cable ........................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-2: Jacketed URD Cable ............................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-3: Three-Phase Primary Underground Cable ............................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-4: Single-Conductor Secondary Cable ......................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-5: Two-Conductor Secondary Cable .........................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-6: Three Separate Cables to Provide 120-Volt Service .............Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-7: Three-Conductor Secondary Cable .......................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-8: Potheads ................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-9: Load-Break Elbow ................................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-10: A Fault Indicator..................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-11: Terminal Strips on Transformer Secondary Bushings .........Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-12: Terminal Strips and a Pedestal ............................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 3-13: Mole ....................................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 4-1: Backhoe Digging Trench ......................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 4-2: Trench with Cable, Conduit, and a Telephone Line ..............Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 4-3: Cable Plow ............................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 4-4: Plastic Pad .............................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 4-5: Pre-Formed Concrete Pads....................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 4-6: Below-Ground Vault ............................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 4-7: Direct-Buried Transformer in a Vault ...................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
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Figure 5-1: Inspecting Cable Pole Equipment .........................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 5-2: Preparing to Work on a Pad-Mounted Transformer ..............Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 5-3: Transformer Installation Plate ...............................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 5-4: Cable Tag on the Primary Side of a Transformer ..................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 5-5: Oil-Filled, Spring-Operated Switch ......................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 5-6: Simple Illustration of an Underground Circuit .....................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 6-1: Open Loop URD System ......................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 6-2: Closed Loop ..........................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 6-3: Open Connection at Point "C" ..............................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 6-4: Cable CD Isolated and De-Energized ...................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 6-5: Open Connection at Point "M" .............................................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 6-6: Cable Pole "N" Isolated ........................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
Figure 6-7: Transformer "DE" Isolated ....................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.

Underground Residential Distribution Systems

Segment 1:

Types of URD Systems

OBJECTIVES:
Identify the source of power for a typical URD system.
Describe general equipment and design considerations associated
with URD systems.
Describe the following types of URD system designs:
o Radial feed
o Loop feed
o Double feed
In many modern residential subdivisions, local building regulations require that all utilities -electricity,
telephone, gas, water, cable television, etc. - be installed underground. The electricity in such areas is
carried by underground residential distribution (URD) systems. URD systems are local distribution
systems that are designed primarily to be buried in the ground and to serve residential customers.
This training program focuses on three common types of URD systems: radial feed, loop feed, and
double feed systems. Components commonly found in these systems are introduced, and typical
procedures for installing and inspecting URD equipment are described. The flexibility of one type of
URD system design is demonstrated in the final part of the program.

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


1910.269
Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution

a) General.
(1) Application.

(i) This section covers the operation and maintenance of electric power generation, control,
transformation, transmission, and distribution lines and equipment. These provisions apply to:
[A] Power generation, transmission, and distribution installations, including related equipment for the
purpose of communication or metering, which are accessible only to qualified employees.
1926.950 subpart V

General requirements
(a) Application. The occupational safety and health standards contained in this Subpart V shall
apply to the construction of electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment.

URD systems consist of various types of components, including cables, transformers, switchgear, and
protective devices. The specific components used in a system and the way that the components are laid
out may vary from one system to another.
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Types of URD Systems

1.1

URD System Power Sources

URD Systems are most often fed from overhead primary distribution lines. The URD system is
connected to the overhead system at one or more cable poles, or riser poles. A portion of a typical cable
pole is shown in Figure 1-1.

Figure 1-1: Portion of a Typical Cable Pole

From the connection point on the cable pole, the URD cable runs down the pole and continues
underground. If a residential subdivision is large, it may have several independent URD systems, all
fed from one set of overhead primaries. When a large customer of three-phase power, such as an
industrial park, is associated with a URD system, the load demand of the system may be so great that
the system must be fed by a large underground cable directly from a substation.

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems

1.2

Special Considerations Associated with URD Systems

Because URD system components are primarily underground, there are special equipment and design
considerations that must be taken into account when dealing with a URD system. For example, it is
difficult to troubleshoot and repair cable and equipment that are buried in the ground. Repair
frequently involves excavation of the equipment. Therefore, URD equipment must be designed to last a
long time without maintenance.
Equipment that is buried in the ground comes in contact with water and a variety of corrosive
chemicals found in soil. Strong acids and alkalis, such as those used in fertilizers can cause equipment
damage. Splices, terminations, gaskets, and connecting devices are particularly susceptible to the
effects of moisture and corrosion.
In addition to the chemicals found in soil, the ground itself can also have an adverse effect on URD
equipment. Shifting or unstable soil, vibrations from heavy machinery, and subterranean root growth
can all cause damage to URD equipment.

1.3

URD System Designs

Although URD systems can be designed in a variety of ways, three basic primary system designs are
radial feed, loop feed, and double feed designs. The designs differ from each other in the way that
primary power is distributed.

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


1910.269p (a) (2)
Training.
(i)
Employees shall be trained in and familiar with the safety-related work practices, safety
procedures, and other safety requirements in this section that pertain to their respective job assignments.
Employees shall also be trained in and familiar with any other safety practices, including applicable
emergency procedures (such as pole top and manhole rescue), that are not specifically addressed by this
section but that are related to their work and are necessary for their safety.
(ii)
Qualified employees shall also be trained and competent in:
(A)
The skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of
electric equipment,
(B)
The skills and techniques necessary to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts,
(C)
The minimum approach distances specified in this section corresponding to the voltages to
which the qualified employee will be exposed, and
(D)
The proper use of special precautionary techniques, personal protective equipment, insulating
and shielding materials, and insulated tools for working on or near exposed energized parts of electric
equipment. Note: For the purposes of this section, a person must have this training in order to be
considered a qualified person.

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Types of URD Systems

1.3.1 Radial Feed Design


Figure 1-2 shows a simplified diagram of a radial feed URD system design. In a radial feed URD
system, only one end of the URD system is attached to the overhead system. The other end of the URD
system terminates without returning to the overhead. This type of arrangement is known as a radial
feed because the system radiates out from the cable pole, and from transformer to transformer.

Figure 1-2: Radial Feed URD System


The radial feed system represented in Figure 1-2 is electrically connected to the overhead at the cable
pole with a device known as a disconnect switch. The disconnect switch enables the URD system to be
energized or de-energized by closing or opening the switch. The triangles in Figure 1-2 represent
transformers. These transformers convert the higher voltage of the overhead primary lines down to a
lower, or secondary, voltage that is distributed to the customers.

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems

One difficulty with radial feed designs is apparent when a cable becomes faulted. When this happens,
customers beyond the fault cannot be re-energized until the fault is repaired. For example, the "X" in
Figure 1-3 represents the location of a cable fault. The customers beyond that point are without power.

Figure 1-3: Radial Feed URD System with Faulted Cable


URD primary lines in new subdivisions often start out as radial feed systems. As demand grows, the
radial feed system can be extended, by adding cable and transformers, until it rejoins the overhead at a
second cable pole. When this is done, another type of URD system has been created: the loop feed
system.

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Types of URD Systems

1.3.2 Loop Feed Design


In a loop feed URD system, both ends of the system are connected to the overhead feeder. Figure 1-4
shows a simplified diagram of a loop feed system.

Figure 1-4: Loop Feed URD System


A significant feature of the system represented in Figure 1-4 is the open connection. A loop feed URD
system with an open connection is known as an open loop system. The open connection essentially
forms two radial feed systems that have the capability to be joined. The open connection can be at a
transformer, as it is in this example, or it can be at some other switching point, such as a cable pole.

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems


Open loop URD systems offer an advantage over radial feed systems. Since the open loop system is
connected to the overhead at two points, an equipment problem, such as a faulted cable, that occurs on
one side of the open connection will not affect the part of the loop on the other side of the open
connection. Additionally, open loop systems allow equipment to be switched in order to reenergize
customers before permanent repairs are made. This flexibility is demonstrated in the last part of this
program.
The open loop system represented in Figure 1-4 is energized from a single phase of the overhead
feeder. Sometimes, however, one part of an open loop system is energized from one phase, and the
other part of the loop is energized from a different phase. Figure 1-5 shows a simplified diagram of an
open loop system energized from two different phases of an overhead feeder.

Figure 1-5: Open Loop URD System Energized from Two Different
Overhead Phases
In an arrangement like the one shown in Figure 1-5, the entire loop could be energized by one phase if
a problem developed in the other phase. However, any equipment to be switched would have to be deenergized from its original feeder before being connected to the second feeder. This would cause a
temporary power outage for the customers served by the equipment being switched.

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Types of URD Systems


Often, if a customer of a loop system requires three-phase power, or if there is a large number of
customers to be served, a three-phase loop system will be constructed. As illustrated in Figure 1-6, a
three-phase loop system consists of three separate open loops. Each loop is energized from a different
phase of the overhead feeder. In order to balance the load on all the phases, each phase is used to
energize some of the single-phase transformers in the URD system.

Figure 1-6: Three-Phase Loop URD System

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems

The loop that is energized by phase "A" of the overhead feeder is shown in gray in Figure 1-7. From
the overhead, the cable runs down the pole to a number of transformers. From the last transformer in its
group, the cable runs back to the second cable pole, where it rejoins the overhead. One of the
transformers has an open connection, so this loop is an open loop.

Figure 1-7: Three-Phase Open Loop: Phase "A"

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Types of URD Systems

The loop that is energized by phase "B" of the overhead feeder is shown in gray in Figure 1-8. As with
the loop energized from phase "A," this loop serves some of the transformers, and one of the
transformers has an open connection.

Figure 1-8: Three-Phase Open Loop: Phase "B"

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems


The loop that is energized by phase "C" of the overhead is shown in gray in Figure 1-9. It supplies
power to the remainder of the transformers in the system, and, like the other two loops, it is an open
loop.

Figure 1-9: Three-Phase Open Loop: Phase "C"

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


1910.269 (a) (3)
Existing Conditions.
Existing Conditions related to the safety of the work to be performed shall be determined before work
on or near electric lines or equipment is started. Such conditions include, but are not limited to, the
nominal voltages of lines and equipment, the maximum switching transient voltages, the presence of
hazardous induced voltages, the presence and condition of protective grounds and equipment grounding
conductors, the condition of poles, environmental conditions relative to safety, and the locations of
circuits and equipment, including power and communications lines and fire protective signaling
circuits.

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Types of URD Systems

1.3.3 Double Feed Design


If a problem such as a faulted cable occurs, open loop systems allow equipment to be switched in order
to re-energize customers before the problem is repaired. However, power outages can still occur. Since
some customers, such as hospitals, require a more reliable source of power, an alternative is available: a
double feed design. In a double feed URD system, as illustrated in Figure 1-10, the customer is
connected to two URD systems, each energized from a different source. A switch (shown in blue)
allows the customer to be powered by either of the two sources. If one source fails, service can be
switched over, either automatically or by hand, to the alternate source. With this arrangement, service
that is critical can be maintained with minimal interruption.

Figure 1-10: Double Feed URD System

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems

When a double feed URD system is switched over to the alternate source, there may be a momentary
power outage as the switch is made. Although this outage can be very short, some customers, such as
large computer installations, may not be able to tolerate even the smallest loss of power. These
customers may use another type of system that employs a secondary network design. In a secondary
network URD system, the customer is fed continuously from two or more sources. The system is
connected on the secondary sides of the transformers, allowing the customer to be energized from any
or all of the sources at once. The specific design of this type of system is beyond the scope of this
program.

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


1910.269
(a)
Job briefing. The employer shall ensure that the employee in charge conducts a job briefing
with the employees involved before they start each job. The briefing shall cover at least the following
subjects: hazards associated with the job, work procedures involved, special precautions, energy source
controls, and personal protective equipment requirements.
(1)
Number of briefings. If the work or operations to be performed during the work day or shift are
repetitive and similar, at least one job briefing shall be conducted before the start of the first job of each
day or shift. Additional job briefings shall be held if significant changes, which might affect the safety
of the employees, occur during the course of the work.
(2)
Extent of briefing. A brief discussion is satisfactory if the work involved is routine and if the
employee, by virtue of training and experience, can reasonably be expected to recognize and avoid the
hazards involved in the job. A more extensive discussion shall be conducted:
(i)
If the work is complicated or particularly hazardous, or
(ii)
If the employee cannot be expected to recognize and avoid the hazards involved in the job.

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Types of URD Systems

Section Quiz
1-1.

True or False. URD systems are most often fed from overhead primary lines.

1-2.

When a large customer of three-phase power is associated with a URD system, the system may
be fed directly from a _____________________ through an underground feeder.

1-3.

True or False. URD system equipment must be designed and built to withstand the effects of
moisture and corrosion.

1-4.

A URD system connected to an overhead feeder at only one point is known as a


____________________ feed system.

1-5.

A URD system that has both ends connected to an overhead feeder is known as a
____________________ feed system.

1-6.

Circle the correct answer.


For customers who require a more constant source of power, an alternative to an open loop
system is:
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

An underground feeder
A cable, or riser, pole
A double feed system
A radial feed system
None of the above

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems

Segment 2:

URD System Components

The components that make up a URD system can vary, depending on the type of installation and
whether the source of power is from overhead or underground feeders. For purposes of explanation, the
URD system used as an example in this section is divided into three sections: (1) the connection with
the primary feeder, (2) the transformers, and (3) the secondary service to the customers.

OBJECTIVES:
Recognize and identify various types of URD system equipment.
Describe the functions of potheads, switchgear, transformers, and
protective devices commonly found on URD systems.

2.1

Connection with the Primary Feeder

All URD systems have a source of primary power. The source may be an overhead primary system or
an underground feeder from a substation.

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shots


1926.32
(f)
Competent Person means one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in
the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees,
and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.

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URD System Components

2.1.1 URD Systems Fed from Overhead Primaries


When a URD system is fed from an overhead primary source, the connection is made at a cable pole.
The device that actually makes the connection is a pothead (Figure 2-1). One end of the pothead is
connected to the overhead primary, and the other end is connected to the URD primary cable. The
pothead provides the connection between the URD system and the overhead system, and a termination
for the URD cable insulation.

Pothead
Compression
Termination
from URD
Cable Insulation
URD Primary
Cable

Neutral

Figure 2-1: Pothead

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems


In addition to the pothead, many cable poles are also equipped with a disconnect switch. A disconnect
switch provides a point that can be opened or closed to allow all or part of a URD system to be deenergized or energized.
Cable poles are normally equipped with fuses to isolate faults on the URD system. If a fault occurs in
the URD system, the fuse blows, opening the circuit, and thus protecting the rest of the feeder against
an outage. Fuses are also used in other locations in URD systems to provide protection from
overcurrent. Figure 2-2 shows fuses installed in a transformer.

Fuses

Figure 2-2: Fuses in a URD Transformer

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URD System Components

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


1910.269 (d) (2)
Hazardous energy control (lockout/tagout) procedures.
General. (i) The employer shall establish a program consisting of energy control procedures, employee
training, and periodic inspections to ensure that, before any employee performs any servicing or
maintenance on a machine or equipment where the unexpected energizing, start up, or release of stored
energy could occur and cause injury, the machine or equipment is isolated from the energy source and
rendered inoperative.

Another protective device often found on cable poles is a surge arrestor. Surge arrestors protect the
system by discharging overvoltage caused by voltage surges or lightning strikes to ground. Surge
arrestors are commonly installed on each cable pole, but, as with fuses, may also be found at other
locations in a URD system. Figure 2-3 shows surge arrestors in a transformer.

Surge Arresters

Figure 2-3: Surge Arrestors in a Transformer

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Underground Residential Distribution Systems

2.1.2 URD Systems Fed from Underground Feeders


When a URD system is fed from an underground feeder rather than an overhead line, the connection
between the URD system and the feeder is typically made with a pad-mounted switch. Figure 2-4
shows one type of pad-mounted switch, known as a transclosure. Transclosures are commonly used to
connect the ends of a URD loop to an underground feeder. Generally, there are two transclosures used,
one at each end of the loop.

Figure 2-4: Transclosure

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Another kind of pad-mounted switch is often used to energize and de-energize sections of the
underground primary feeder. The switch shown in Figure 2-5 is an oil-filled, spring-operated gang
switch; it is capable of switching all three phases of the underground feeder at one time.

Figure 2-5: Oil-Filled, Spring-Operated Gang Switch

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In some URD systems, switching points are located in vaults below ground. These switching points are
commonly called tap holes. A typical tap hole is shown in Figure 2-6.

Figure 2-6: Tap Hole

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


1910.269 (w) (7)
Backfeed.
If there is a possibility of voltage backfeed from sources of cogeneration or from the secondary system
(for example, backfeed from more than one energized phase feeding a common load), the requirements
of paragraph (l) of this section apply if the lines or equipment are to be worked as energized, and the
requirements of paragraphs (m) and (n) of this section apply if the lines or equipment are to be worked
as deenergized.

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2.2

Transformers

The transformers in a URD system change the primary distribution voltage to a secondary voltage that
customers can use. Transformers come in single-phase and three-phase versions. Although most
residential customers require single-phase power, some nearby customers may require three-phase
power. For example, a neighborhood swimming pool may have pumps with three-phase motors. When
a three-phase customer is associated with a URD system, the system will include three-phase
transformers.
Transformers come in a variety of designs. Some are designed to be installed above ground, and some
are designed to be installed below ground.

2.2.1 Pad-Mounted Transformers


Pad-mounted transformers are mounted above ground, which makes them easily accessible. Padmounted transformers that are relatively small and light are often mounted on plastic pads, which are
easier to install. Larger, heavier transformers, which might crush plastic pads, are mounted on concrete
pads. Pad-mounted transformers can be classified as either live-front transformers or a dead-front
transformer.

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Figure 2-7 shows a typical live-front pad-mounted transformer. When a live-front transformer is
opened, there are exposed energized metal components on both the primary side and the secondary
side.

Switches

Exposed
Energized Parts

Primary

Secondary

Figure 2-7: Live-Front Pad-Mounted Transformers


The connections between URD cable and both the primary and secondary sides of a live-front
transformer are permanent. For this reason, the primary connections of many live-front transformers
are equipped with switches that can be opened or closed as necessary to route power into and out of the
transformer.

OSHA Regulations Snap-Shot


1910.333
Selection and use of work practices.
(a)
General. Safety-related work practices shall be employed to prevent electric shock or other
injuries resulting from either direct or indirect electrical contacts, when work is performed near or on
equipment or circuits which are or may be energized. The specific safety-related work practices shall be
consistent with the nature and extent of the associated electrical hazards.

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Figure 2-8 shows a typical dead-front transformer. Dead-front transformers have primary, and,
frequently, secondary terminals that are covered with insulating material. Devices known as load-break
elbows are generally used to form insulated connections between URD primary cables and the primary
terminals, or bushings, on a dead-front transformer. On the secondary side, the bushings may be
covered with pieces of insulating material called boots. The secondary cables are permanently attached
with bolts to the secondary bushings.

Primary Side

Secondary Side

Boots

Load Break
Elbows

Primary URD
Cables

Secondary URD
Cables

Figure 2-8: Dead-Front Pad-Mounted Transformer

Because load-break elbows are designed to be disconnected while energized, or under load, dead-front
transformers usually do not have switches. Instead, power is routed into and out of the transformer by
removing an elbow from an energized terminal bushing and placing it on an insulated, un-energized
parking bushing.
Even though dead-front transformers have covered terminals, any work on energized units should be
done with the proper protective gear.

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2.2.2 Below-Ground Transformers


Below-ground transformers can be classified as either subsurface or direct-buried. All below-ground
transformers are designed to be water-tight and corrosion resistant. They will operate even if they are
completely under water.
Subsurface transformers are placed in plastic or concrete vaults, which are covered at ground level with
metal grates. All connections are on top of the transformer, so that they are accessible when the metal
grate is removed. Figure 2-9 shows a typical subsurface transformer.

Secondary

Primary

Figure 2-9: Subsurface Transformer

The primary connections on subsurface transformers are made with load-break elbows, which provide
insulated, moisture-proof terminations. The load-break elbows also provide the capability of switching
subsurface transformers.

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The secondary connections of subsurface transformers are covered with insulating, moisture-proof
sleeves. The sleeves are put on after the secondary connections have been made.
Figure 2-10 is a simplified illustration of a direct-buried transformer. Direct-buried transformers are
usually buried in vaults, although they are sometimes buried directly in the earth. In either case, once
they are buried, they are covered over completely, and are not easily accessible.

Figure 2-10: Direct Buried Transformer

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The metallic housings of transformers and other equipment in URD systems are typically grounded to
provide a low resistance path to ground. This low resistance path protects equipment from the effects of
overvoltage, and protects personnel from electrical shock hazards. Figure 2-11 shows the ground
connection of a transformer.

Secondary
Terminals

Ground
Connection

Figure 2-11: Ground Connection of a Transformer

2.3

Secondary Service to Customers

In a URD system, the secondary power that leaves a transformer is distributed to customers.
Sometimes, a secondary cable runs directly from the transformer to a customer's meter. Often,
however, a terminal strip is used to enable one transformer to serve several customers.

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Some terminal strips, sometimes called "spades," are installed directly on the secondary bushing of a
transformer, as shown in Figure 2-12.

Terminal
Strip

Secondary
Connections

Figure 2-12: Terminal Strip on Secondary Bushing

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Terminal strips may also be centrally located between several customers inside a structure known as a
pedestal (Figure 2-13). Pedestals provide weatherproof enclosures for terminal strips, but the terminal
strips are still easily accessible.

Figure 2-13: Terminal Strip Inside Pedestal

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Section Quiz
2-1.

2-2.

Name two ways in which URD systems can be supplied with power.
a)

________________________________________________

b)

________________________________________________

What is the function of a pothead?


__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

2-3.

When a URD system is fed from an underground feeder, the connection between the two is
typically made with a ___________________.

2-4.

Circle the correct answer. Pad-mounted transformers:


a)
b)
c)
d)

2-5.

Can be subsurface
Are easily accessible
Can be direct buried
Are designed to operate under water

What is the function of a terminal strip?

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