Underground Distribution Systems - Part one

  • 23 Jan 2024
  • 12:00 PM (EST)
  • 1 Feb 2024
  • 4:00 PM (EST)
  • Online, you will receive a link


  • Click the registration link and be sure to use the code CL2024 to get the member discount

Virtual Training

Distribution Systems

January 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 and February 1, 2024
12:00-4:00 PM Eastern


for member discount pricing, and save $200

by bundling both underground courses!

Learning Environment

Join us as we hold this popular course as a series of six interactive virtual sessions using the Zoom meeting platform. It’s a convenient way to attend the course, while still having the opportunity to interact with the instructors, connect with your industry peers, and earn 21 PDH credits, 31.5 if you take the series. 

This course is applications-oriented, including real-time presentations, breakout sessions, in-class examples, quizzes, live polling, Q&A sessions, and group discussions. 


Participate in a 45-minute orientation session on Monday, January 22, followed by six real-time sessions from Noon-4 p.m. ET on January 23, 24, 25, 30, and 31, and February 1. There will be two 15-minute breaks incorporated into each session.

This is the first course in a two-part virtual series on Underground Distribution Systems. 

For those looking for more comprehensive training, it is highly recommended that you attend this course in conjunction with the Advanced Underground Distribution Systems online course (Feb. 27-29). $200 discount for attending both courses.  

Course Overview

Learn all about the effective design, construction, operation and maintenance of underground electric distribution systems. Review critical factors involved in the conversion of overhead systems to underground. Discuss operations, safety and regulatory requirements, and hear from an industry cable application engineer about underground cable reliability, failure modes, and testing methods. Also hear from an industry cable application engineer. 

Course Topics

  • Introduction to underground distribution
  • Underground policies and customer service terms/conditions
  • Planning and design
  • Cable design and application
  • Cable failure and testing
  • Cable accessories: design, installation and operation 
  • Cable installation
  • Underground transformers 
  • Basic underground protection and reliability considerations
  • Underground safety and operations
  • Inspection and maintenance

Recommended for

Designed for electric utility engineers, designers, technicians, and field personnel who are responsible for, or who make decisions concerning, distribution systems, as well as those involved in the management, construction, and operations aspects of distribution systems.

This course is conducted at a practical level and is appropriate for degreed engineers and engineering technicians, as well as non-degreed high school graduates with a general knowledge of the electric utility system.

Course Level

Basic/Intermediate: No prerequisites, though some advance preparation is requested, including attending an orientation session on January 22. 

Additional Requirements

  • Participants are required to have a scientific calculator or smart phone calculator app.
  • The instructors recommend having a print copy (or having access to a digital copy) of the 2023 National Electric Safety Code® (NESC) during class. Copies can be purchased from IEEE and a copy can be shared among attendees who may be participating together in the same location.
  • Participants are also encouraged to submit interesting underground distribution photos, as well as their underground distribution design guides and standards to the instructors in advance of the course.


The following continuing education credits will be provided, after successfully completing 90% of all six live sessions. Certificates will be available by Feb. 15. These sessions will be recorded, though certificates can only be awarded to those who participate in the live events.
Recommended CEUs 2.1/PDHs 21/CPEs 25.2


  • 24 hours after registering: You’ll receive a confirmation email within 24 hours of registering, which contains some preliminary information.
  • 24 hours before: 
    • You’ll receive your Zoom log in links the day before the first session in a course (sent from the APPA Academy’s Zoom account <no-reply@zoom.us>)
    • You’ll also receive a final logistics email 24 hours in advance of the first class. 
  • If you don’t receive this, email EducationInfo@PublicPower.org.

    Course Materials and Recordings

    • Zoom Links: Zoom log in credentials will be sent out 24 hours before the start of the first session.
    • Course Materials: Attendees will receive access to course materials the day before each session through the "Documents" section of their My.PublicPower.org user portal. 
    • Recordings: All sessions will be recorded and can be accessed through your user portal as well (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 session. Note: Continuing education credits can only be issued for attending live sessions.

    Technology Requirements

    • Zoom Meeting Application: Attendees are required to have strong Internet access, in order to run the Zoom meeting platform. Please see below for more information on 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 sessions and group discussions.

    New to Zoom?

    If you haven't participated in a Zoom meeting before, please download the Zoom web client from the Zoom Download Center. This will enable you to access all of the Zoom tools and functionality vs. using the web version. Then, visit Zoom.us/test to ensure you are able to join a meeting. 

    If you are not able to download the Zoom web client, you can still participate via your Internet browser. We recommend using Chrome for the best results.


    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).

    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:

    • $3,390 for non-members
    • $1,695 for Collaborative Learning/Academy members
              (Must register through APPA and use code CL2023)

      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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