The commitment to the exchange of ideas formed the core of the formal statement of purposes: the Association would continue to “elicit all of the information” needed for advancing the “mutual interests” of the member companies. This primary statement of purpose has guided the Association ever since.
Through this collaborative thinking, AEIC delivered the distilled wisdom of the industry on technical systems, financing (including accounting and rate-making), service, and marketing. Early discussions at annual meetings focused on the kinds of technical concerns that would later engage the AEIC. Members talked of street lighting, the relative merits of contract and meter systems for determining usage, engines and boilers, lamp breakage, fuels, and central station staff responsibilities.
Member companies sent their chief executive officers and senior staff from engineering and operations to increase the benefits of membership to the company. The geographical representation of member companies pointed to the emergence of a national AEIC. Meeting minutes contained the collective thought of the industry’s leaders. In them were recorded the annual reports and discussions describing the state of the technical art and projecting future developments. “Printed but not published,” the title page of each volume proclaimed, since membership was required to receive the documents. The tradition of privacy was, as an AEIC president declared in the 1950s, a “sacred heritage.” At the dawn of the 20th Century, member companies were moving beyond supplying electricity for “lighting and incidental power” to providing power for surface and elevated railroads, interurban transportation lines, electrochemical processes, and heating. In response, the appointment of new committees was recommended to guide this expansive phase which the industry had entered, including a Committee on Electric Vehicles.
During the early 1900’s, a string of specialized committees was in place. Rapid developments in apparatus, marketing practice, and operating problems led to the evolution of an Association committee structure to deal with them. This demonstrated the Association’s growing commitment both to aid the flow of technical information to the industry and to add to the store of technical knowledge.
By 1935, the AEIC committee system reflected a mature industry prepared, on the one hand, to capitalize on all possibilities for expanding production and extending distribution and, on the other hand, to respond to new market conditions and rising customer expectations. The Association’s program would, over the long haul, include power generation, power distribution, electric power apparatus, meters and service, and the twin areas of load-building and load research. By the time of the AEIC’s fiftieth anniversary, most of the modern committee structure had fallen into place and AEIC had taken full responsibility for coordinating load studies within the industry. Other means by which the AEIC transmitted information were the papers by engineers and managers on technical subjects at the annual meeting.
Today, AEIC continues to hold a unique and important position in the electric industry as the only place where senior leaders and operational experts come together to share knowledge, collaborate, and provide guidance to the industry.
Members respond to challenges, accelerate change, and achieve excellence in all aspects of generation, transmission, distribution, and storage of electric power for the benefit of all members, the industry at large, and consumers.
AEIC’s member companies represent a “who’s who” of utility industry leaders. Our members include large utilities, state and regional cooperatives, and municipalities. Through our Annual Achievement Awards program, we recognize and promote members who have clearly demonstrated significant contributions to advancing the operations of the electric energy industry. More than 500 employees from our member companies are actively and enthusiastically engaged in committee work focused on addressing key operational issues and challenges in the industry. These committees produce technical specifications, industry standards, best practices, and useful guidance that benefit the entire industry. In addition, AEIC offers virtual and in-person meetings, networking and collaboration opportunities throughout the year, including our association-wide Annual Meeting. Our members often refer to AEIC as a respected and trusted ‘safe harbor’ for open, honest dialogue and sharing of ideas, problem-solving and pragmatic guidance.
As the industry’s longest-serving and preeminent association, we’ve been leading the way since 1885.
November 1st, 1880
Thomas Edison laid the groundwork for the first-ever incandescent-lighting system powering over 400 lamps, including Edison’s house.
November 1st, 1924
The first insulated cable specification attributed to AEIC was published: “The Specification for Impregnated Paper-Insulated Lead – Covered (PILC) Cable for the Transmission and Distribution of Electrical Energy in Underground Conduit Systems.” It was prepared under the auspices of AEIC’s Lamp Committee in cooperation with electrical testing laboratories and representatives of seven operating companies. By 1930, it was used by many purchasers not affiliated with AEIC and had become the principal specification for impregnated paper insulated cable in this country.
The committee on High Tension Cable was organized to help AEIC member companies lower the annual investment and operating costs of their cable systems, as well as increase the voltages at which their cables can be economically employed. This committee would form the origins of today’s Cable Engineering committee.
The High Tension committee was dissolved after it had issued two more revisions to the paper cable specification.
The Power Delivery committee was created to evaluate progress and deal with problems in the transmission and distribution field. During the first meeting of the new Power Delivery committee, it was recognized that there was a need to carry on the activities of the former committee on High Tension Cable. This led to the immediate formation of the Cable Engineering Section of the Power Delivery Committee.
The newly formed Cable Engineering Section (CES) was given four assignments:
- The evaluation of cable quality.
- Investigation of physical design and cable construction.
- Determination of permissible cable operating temperatures.
- Review of new developments based upon the results of manufacturers’ research on materials, types of construction and factory methods.
The first meeting of the CES was held in Chicago. The first annual report issued by the CES included a comprehensive record of cable operation and a survey of cable failure causes experienced by the thirteen participating companies.
A relationship was formed between the CES and the Insulated Power Cable Engineers Association (IPCEA), an engineering forum representing the cable manufacturing industry. Joint meetings held during the CES meetings focused on efforts to simplify and standardize on cable sizes and voltage ratings. The combined efforts of the CES and IPCEA resulted in the issuance of the Simplified Practice Schedule for paper insulated cable.
The CES prepared and issued the first guide to be developed for cable systems entitled, “Guide for Wartime Conductor Temperatures for Power Cables in Service.” Four types of power cables used in underground systems were covered: PILC solid type, PILC oil-filled type, lead-covered varnished-cambric-insulated, and rubber-insulated cable with and without lead sheath. The CES continued to meet during World War II, making changes to the specification to recognize the necessity to conserve materials. Reduced insulation thicknesses and increased operating temperature limits were incorporated into the specification for paper insulated cable.
The CES reported having their first discussions of underground distribution systems for new residential developments being created. There was special interest in economical and reliable alternatives for underground distribution.
The initial AEIC specification for high-pressure pipe-type cable from 15 kV to 230 kV was issued. This milestone was the culmination of several years of study and research funded by AEIC, Edison Electric Institute (EEI), and the manufacturers. The CES was now responsible for development and maintenance of four cable specifications, all dealing with paper insulated cables: solid type, oil-filled, gas-filled, and pipe-type cable.
The ninth edition of “Solid Type Impregnated-Paper-Insulated Lead-Covered Cable Specification” was published. The following month, this specification was adopted as an IPCEA standard, an unsolicited tribute to the cooperative reconciliation of differences which had prevented similar acceptance of the eight editions.
AEIC’s Executive Committee approved and arranged funding for the Extra High Voltage Cable and Accessory Research Project. As part of this project, cable and accessory manufacturers performed special research investigations. They also developed and contributed samples of pipe type and self contained 345 kV cable systems with many innovations for field proof test and evaluation. A three-year test program was scheduled, with the first two years used to evaluate the service aging and the third year to explore probable limits for extrapolation of the application of the cables at higher voltage and conductor temperatures. This program led to the immediate extensive use of 345 kV pipe type cable by one utility, and acceptance by the utility industry resulted in the inclusion of 345 kV in the pipe type cable specification. This program, originally initiated and funded by the AEIC and later co-funded by EEI, resulted in a large scale cooperative research effort by US users and manufacturers of high voltage cable systems. The research also led to improvements in lower voltage pipe type cable designs. The development, construction, and operation of this program served as a prototype for later development of the Waltz Mill high voltage test program of the national transmission cable research program. This ultimately led to the establishment of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
The CES established a task group to address the increasing use of polyethylene-based insulations for underground residential distribution (URD) cable systems.
AEIC issues its first specification for synthetic insulated cables as an addendum to the IPCEA standard for polyethylene insulated cables. This specification covered polyethylene insulated cables rated from 5 to 35 kV. The participation of the CES in the development of an AEIC specification for synthetic- insulated cables began a long and ongoing project to ensure that the best technology was used in cable manufacturing.
The AEIC has been responsible for a significant effort that turned polyethylene, crosslinked polyethylene, and ethylene propylene rubber insulated cables into the highly reliable products that they are today. By working with highly dedicated representatives from the cable manufacturers, improved cables were available for the industry.
Work was started between the IPCEA and the CES to develop a joint specification. As work progressed, the CES continued to update and revise the existing AEIC cable specifications to keep them current. This effort was continual, due to the rapid developments in synthetic cable insulations.
The CES issued a new specification covering ethylene propylene rubber insulation systems (CS6) and had issued the fifth edition to the specification for polyethylene insulated cables (CS5). In addition, work was ongoing in the development of several new Guides for AEIC members.
New technologies became available that would result in the issuance of new specifications and additional revisions to existing specifications. The use of high voltage cables was expanding, particularly the use of polyethylene insulated high voltage cables. Laminates of synthetic materials and traditional paper insulation were being developed for pipe type cable systems. Improvements in materials formulations and cable testing regimens were being brought to the marketplace for all varieties of cables.
A detailed set of guidelines was developed by the CES to ensure that appropriate actions are followed in the development and maintenance of the AEIC specifications. The AEIC reaffirmed the need to continue the activities of the CES based on the recommendations of legal counsel and guidelines established by the CES.
Major revisions to CS5 and CS6 were completed. In addition, the management of the AEIC companies had asked the CES to look at recommendations for dealing with cable replacements. Millions of feet of extruded dielectric URD cable had been installed over the years, and many utilities had already begun the replacement of cable sections that were not performing well. In response to the request, a new guide was developed by the CES to cover many of the aspects of cable replacement projects. Guides for installation of high voltage cable and also for pulling of extruded dielectric power cables were also issued by the CES as aids to the utility industry. The latest effort is the development of a guide to assist utilities in the establishment of a quality assurance program to ensure that they receive high quality cable from their manufacturers.
A joint working group was established between ICEA (formerly the IPCEA) and the AEIC CES with the express purpose of working to develop a national consensus standard. This group, called the Utility Power Cable Standards Technical Advisory Committee (UPCSTAC), was patterned after a similar group formed to deal with communication cable issues earlier.
The first standard developed by UPCSTAC covering medium voltage concentric neutral cables was approved by ANSI and issued as a national standard. Additional standards covering other cable designs used by the utility industry continue to be developed through the UPCSTAC process.
The Cable Engineering section was elevated to Committee level in recognition of its increased significance and work level. It was re-named the Cable Engineering Committee (CEC). With the change in thrust of cable specification development, from the traditional utility sponsored specifications to national standards developed in conjunction with the ICEA, the CEC began a review of its activities to ensure that it continued to add value to the utility industry and the utilities within the AEIC organization.
A Special Committee on Load Research was established to investigate and report on load characteristics. The committee published a report that addressed load trends, including trends in sales of electric energy per residential customer; peak day load curves and relative load growths by periods of the day; industrial load growth and hours use of billing demands; and sales of fluorescent lighting. The Committee concluded that load research is fundamental to the continued welfare of the electric utility industry, and that consistent study and interpretation is necessary to provide the information needed for intelligent planning for future developments.
The Load Research Committee was officially established and held its first Annual Meeting, with Constantine Bary as the first chairman. The committee would publish its first report later that year.
The Committee produces a report analyzing the effects of World War II on industrial class load characteristics. The report detailed the impact of war-time blackouts and government conservation programs during the war.
The committee produced several reports addressing a wide spectrum of customer groups. With the advent of new domestic appliances, the “all-electric” home concept, and the electrification of industry and commerce, the Committee recognized the importance of properly appraising the impact of such load growth on the electric system.
The Committee collaborated with Middle West Service Company under the sponsorship of the General Electric Company in conducting a nationwide survey of residential lighting. Twenty-two companies tested 131 homes. Consolidated Edison Company provided staff support for analyzing data and preparing reports.
The Load Research Committee and the EEI Rate Committee formed a joint task force to study the kilowatt-hour consumption of various residential appliances under differing conditions. The study was intended to be conducted on a national basis and in a manner similar to the residential lighting survey that took place 10 years earlier.
The Committee held its first Load Research Seminar for companies desiring to begin a load research program and to train entry-level personnel in the fundamentals of load research. The seminar was held in New Orleans and was meant to serve as an introduction to load research. Annual seminars have been held ever since.
The Committee conducted a major study on heat pumps in collaboration with Westinghouse and EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute).
The Committee held its first Load Research Workshop in Philadelphia, where participants thoroughly explore a single topic in the field of load research. Subsequent workshops have dealt with such topics as weather normalization of sales and demands, transferability of load data, and the application of load research to commercial marketing issues.
The Committee held its first regional conference in Atlanta. Today, the committee holds three regional conferences each year for the southeast, northeast, and midwest.
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