A good cable testing program has many benefits. It can help you reduce energy losses, prevent unplanned production shutdowns, and avert catastrophic failures. We asked Ron Widup of Shermco Industries, an electrical services company based in Irving, Texas, for some insight on cable testing.

Widup says, “It's difficult to accurately assess the condition of electrical power cable, especially in the medium-voltage range. Having an understanding of the many available methodologies and applying them properly is challenging.”

He goes on to say, “Each site needs its own plan. There is no one-size-fits-all for proper testing and analysis of power cables. What might be good for Facility A may not be good for Facility B. You need a plan that fits your specific situation and application.”

It's a long-term, ongoing effort. “Good cable analysis is a process of multiple endeavors over time. It's not the result of just one testing event,” he notes.

Widup believes that any good plan starts with applicable standards. He says, “We use NETA (InterNational Electrical Testing Association) testing, acceptance, and maintenance standards, plus standards from the IEEE and the NFPA. These standards provide guidance on available methods and some provide testing instructions.”