CL-APPA Virtual Series Part #2: Best Practices in Overhead Distribution Line Design

  • 28 Nov 2023
  • 12:00 PM (EST)
  • 6 Dec 2023
  • 4:00 PM (EST)
  • Online, you will receive a link

Virtual Training
Best Practices in Overhead Distribution Line Design

November 28, 29, 30, December 5 & 6, 2023
12:00-4:00 PM Eastern

Plus a required orientation session November 27, 1-1:45 PM.  

Join us as we hold this popular course as a series of five interactive virtual sessions. It’s a convenient way to 'attend' the course, while still having the opportunity to interact with the instructors, your industry peers, and earn 14 PDH credits. This course is applications-oriented, including online lecture, interaction, and learning by doing.

Learn about the characteristics and functions of overhead distribution components and the legal/regulatory/business requirements that drive today’s overhead distribution practices. Explore specific requirements and practices associated with overhead line conductors and cables, structural components, grounding, and lightning protection.

Learning Environment

All sessions incorporate real-time presentations from industry experts, Q&A, group interaction, and hands-on exercises. 


Participate in a 45-minute orientation session on November 27, followed by five, real-time sessions from Noon – 4 p.m. Eastern on November 28, 29, 30, December 5 and 6, 2023. There will be two 15-minute breaks incorporated into each session.

Course Overview

Overhead distribution continues to play an essential role for most utilities in delivering electric service to end-use customers either directly or as the source for underground line extensions. Overhead line design is an engineering discipline that requires the consistent and proper application of engineering principles and ethics to prepare quality designs and reduce liability exposure.

Learn how to enhance your line design processes and prepare designs that are safe, reliable, and in compliance with National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) requirements. Review industry best practices, engage with your peers, and complete over twenty-five (25) practical hands-on design exercises using line design software.

Attendees will return to their work better prepared to help their organizations adopt design practices that comply with applicable professional engineering laws and regulations. 

Note: Some of the exercises will require the use of line design software, which you’ll receive complimentary access to for a period of thirty (30) days from the start of the course

Recommended For

Those who work at all levels of overhead distribution design including:
  • Engineering managers
  • Design engineers 
  • Design/staking supervisors and technicians
  • Consulting engineers
  • Crew supervisors and senior lineworkers 

Those who are relatively inexperienced in the industry or to overhead distribution, as well as those with experience who want to “refresh and update” their understanding of underlying principles, practices, and the components and equipment that comprise today’s overhead distribution system will benefit from participating.

It is highly recommended
that you attend this course in conjunction with the 
Overhead Distribution System
Principles and Applications Online Course

September 19, 20, 21, 26 & 27, 2023.

Course Schedule and Topics

Orientation Session: November 27 (1-1:45 PM Eastern)

We request that all participants attend this session, though a recording will also be made available. The session will cover:

  • Instructor and participant introductions 
  • Course overview, materials, and expectations
  • Technology and logistics (the APPA document portal and homework/exercises)
  • Zoom functionality (breakout rooms, webcams/audio,
  • best practices, etc.)
  • Completion requirements for continuing education credits

Each subsequent session will be held from Noon – 4 p.m. Eastern.  

Overhead Line Design Accountabilities and Process

November 28

  • Overhead line design protocols and processes
  • NESC general requirements for overhead lines
  • Joint use and other considerations in overhead line design

Session 2: Conductor/Cable Sag, Tension, and Clearance
November 29

  • NESC requirements for maximum conductor/cable sag determination
  • NESC and practical requirements for maximum conductor/cable design tension
  • Conductor/cable sag and tension calculations, sag-tension software, and application examples/exercises

Session 3: NESC Clearance Requirements
November 30

  • Clearances to ground and water surfaces; buildings and other structures; and between conductors, cables and equipment
  • Selected special clearance conditions and application examples/exercises

Session 4: Overhead Line Structure Loading and Strength (Part 1)
December 5

  • NESC requirements for supporting structure design (loading conditions and strength requirements)
  • Determination of mechanical forces on supporting structures
  • Overhead line guying and anchoring design considerations
  • Supporting structure loading application examples and assigned exercises

Session 5: Overhead Line Structure Loading and Strength (Part 2)
December 6

  • Wood poles (types, treatments, dimensions, strength classes, and specifications)
  • Manufactured poles (types, characteristics, NESC equivalent designs, and specifications
  • Pole embedment designs
  • Supporting structure loading application examples and assigned exercises

Course Level

Intermediate/Advanced: No prerequisites; however, completion of the Overhead Distribution Principles and Applications (September 19, 20, 21, 26, 27) is highly recommended. Discounts apply for attending both.

Some advanced preparation is requested, including attending an orientation session on November 27 (1-1:45 p.m. Eastern – this will be recorded), completing a brief pre-course survey, and logging into the line design software platform.

Technology Requirements

Zoom Meeting Application: Attendees are required to have strong Internet access, in order to run the Zoom meeting platform. Click here to learn more about downloading the Zoom Web Client.

Audio/Webcam: You will need to enable computer audio to listen and speak (alternatively a call-in number will be provided) and you will also need a webcam, so you can fully engage in the small group breakout session and group discussions.

Additional Requirements

2023 NESC: Participants are required to have a copy of the 2023 National Electric Safety Code® (ANSI C2-2023) on hand to review during the course. Hard copies and electronic version can be purchased from IEEE (; 800/701-4333).

Course Access and Materials

Zoom Links: Zoom log in credentials will be sent out 24 hours before the start of Session 1.

Course materials: Attendees will receive access to APPA’s secure online document portal a week before the course, where the eManuals and other course materials will be made available, allowing you to work with them before, during and after the online sessions. 

Recordings: The sessions will be recorded and can also be accessed through APPA’s document portal (within a week of the last class in the program), in case you can’t attend the live versions. Recordings will be accessible for 90 days after the last course session. Note: Continuing education credits can only be issued for attending live sessions.

Application Exercises/Homework

Following each live session, participants are expected to either complete a quiz (to test your knowledge on key concepts) or work independently on line design application exercises (some exercises will be conducted during the live sessions). 

Further instructions will be provided at the beginning of Session One. The estimated time for completing these items is up to 1 hour per class day.


The following continuing education credits will be provided, after successfully completing 90% of all five live sessions. These sessions will be recorded, though certificates can only be awarded to those who participate in the live events (click here to review requirements).

Recommended CEUs 1.4  /  PDHs 17.5  /  CPEs 16.8 
Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge


Lead Instructor R. John Miner, P.E., is an accomplished executive manager and educator with over 45 years of experience in the electric utility industry. He is president of Collaborative Learning, Inc., of Austin and San Antonio, Texas and has been an APPA instructor for more than 30 years and an instructor for the University of Wisconsin for 20 years. Before forming his own company, he worked for the Austin, Texas, Electric Utility Department, Rochester Public Utilities in Minnesota, and as an assistant professor for the University of Houston. John earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering (with honors), and a Master of Science degree in engineering science, both from the University of Toledo.  John is a Senior Life Member of the IEEE and is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Texas and Minnesota. 

M. Thomas Black, P.E., is an accomplished executive manager, consultant and course instructor with more than 30 years of experience in the electric and gas utility industries. In addition to working with Collaborative Learning, Tom’s experience includes employment with both municipal and investor owned utilities across multiple jurisdictions in Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. He teaches a variety of courses on technical topics and also has extensive executive level experience in managing electric and gas utility systems, including serving as chief energy officer and energy delivery general manager. Tom has also served on the boards of RMEL and the Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Ted Dimberio, P.E., is an accomplished engineer with over 40 years of experience in electric and telecommunication line design. He is currently President and CFO of Utility Line Design and President of Line Design University. Ted has worked in all capacities of line design including field staking, construction supervision, management, and consulting. He has been an industry leader in developing engineering software for electric distribution utilities that auto-generates profile drawings and required line design calculations to verify and document engineering decisions. Ted received his civil and structural engineering education from Mesabi State Junior College and the University of Minnesota. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Erich Schoennagel, P.E., has cultivated over 45 years of experience in the electric industry. He is a former manager and engineer with CenterPoint Energy and managed the Transmission Project Engineering group. Erich served for 15 years as a member advisor and chairman of the Underground Transmission Task Force for the Electric Power Research Institute until his retirement from CenterPoint Energy. There he directed research related to underground transmission and superconductivity. He was a board member of the annual TSDOS symposium, and a former member of the American Concrete Institute 336 committee related to foundation design and construction.

Registration Fee:

Group Discounts:

Save $50 per person with a group of 5-9, $100 per person for 10-14, $150 per person for 15 or more. The more in your group, the greater the discount!



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