Business & Environment


January 5, 2022

Why do conductors sag and sway?

The UVM podcast shares innovative ideas and insights in Utility Vegetation Management. We facilitate knowledge sharing within the industry, and raise public awareness around what we do.
Hosted by Stephen Cieslewicz and Nick Ferguson.
Sponsored by LiveEO, turning satellite data into actionable insights here on Earth.

This episode features an interview with a Professional Engineer, Otto Lynch, President & CEO of Power Line Systems. Conductors can move during the course of a day under different electrical loading and weather scenarios, a phenomenon known as sag and sway, which is not always well understood. Sag and sway can have a major impact on vegetation management as the movement envelope needs to be taken into account to ensure that acceptable clearances between conductors and vegetation are maintained during all operating conditions. In today’s episode Otto provides a 101 on sag and sway and the impact this has on the work of UVM staff. They cover several topics in detail including:

  • What conductors are made of and why they expand and contract with temperature
  • How expansion and contraction affects tension and sag
  • Weather and electrical load variables that contribute to sag and sway (blow out)
  • Why knowing the conductor movement envelope is essential for UVM
  • Structure deflection in response to weather
  • The impact of ice storms on sag and sway, including conductor elongation
  • The role of PLS-CADD in modeling clearances
  • Thoughts on the future direction of technology

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