Over the last several years, California has experienced several major fires attributed to overhead power lines. Utilities in California have been deemed responsible and are paying dearly. While the entire State mourns the loss of life and homes to these devastating fires, most of us recognize that dry / windy conditions are beyond the control of our electricity suppliers and understand why they are beginning to use power outages as a strategy to reduce the risk of starting more fires. ACCC Conductors may reduce the need for power outages.

CTC Global, the developer of the high-performance, low-sag ACCC Conductor hopes their product can help.

Power line wires (known as conductors) generally use aluminum wires wrapped around steel core strands. The steel core provides tensile strength while the aluminum is used to carry most of the electrical power. As power lines carry an increased amount of electrical current, they heat up and sag. Have you ever noticed that the cord on your vacuum cleaner gets warm when you use it? That’s because of the electrical resistance of the wire. Power line wires do the same thing, but on a much larger scale.

Excessive conductor sag can be a very bad and dangerous thing. In 2003, for instance, excessive conductor sag (among other issues) caused a number of short circuit events that shut down the entire eastern power grid. While major fires weren’t a result of this, the financial losses from that particular blackout were estimated to be between six and eight billion dollars. The loss of property and lives in California has been much worse.

CTC Global’s ACCC Conductor replaces the steel core with a modern carbon fiber core that is not only much stronger and lighter than steel, it also doesn’t stretch when it heats up. This prevents excessive conductor sag which keeps the wires much higher and further away from trees, thereby reducing the likelihood of short circuits, fires and outages. With that said, flying debris may still contact any type of wire, so the outages we are enduring are still a good – but uncomfortable – bet.

The hidden secret with the ACCC Conductor is that it is capable of carrying twice the current of conventional steel reinforced ACSR conductors. In theory, the use of ACCC Conductors on California’s grid may enable the utilities to re-route power around high risk areas which could potentially further reduce the need to shut the power down.

Southern California Edison has several ACCC Conductor projects underway to reduce line sag, increase power flow and reduce electrical line losses, and CTC Global believes their investment in new technology will help California in many ways. For more information please visit www.ctcglobal.com

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