The grid’s reliability is at stake. Extreme weather events influenced by climate change causes outages and has a huge impact on our electricity dependability. Undergrounding is one of the solutions. But will the light stay on in areas with buried power lines?

In many areas the power grid is ageing and strengthening the grid is one of the highest priorities. The last decades utilities and industries worldwide have made enormous steps in engineering and developing reliable solutions to improve the grid. Underground systems is one of the most promising.

Underground technologies

The technologies for connecting underground cables vary quite a bit. Heat shrink technology in which the splice is shrunk around the connector with a gas torch, a cold shrink technology in which the splice body shrinks by removing a spiral cord or ejects a hold out. Or a liquid insulation technology in which the connection is insulated in a housing with liquid silicone.

Besides their differences they all offer protection against strong winds, falling trees and other severe weather events.


While every infrastructure is unique it is interesting to have a look at other countries. The Dutch power grid has outages at an average rate of 24 minutes per year. How come? In the Netherlands more than 98% of the grid is buried. One of the major reason for this is the fact that Holland is a very densely populated country. Lovink Enertech has its origin in Holland and is a manufacturer of silicone insulated cable splices, distributed worldwide. Since 1919 they supply splices for underground applications and they have built a strong track record.

Watertight solution

In the Netherlands, the groundwater level varies from 0.5 to 1.0 m below surface in the western parts of the country. Lovink’s challenge was to develop a splice that could withstand this high water table. In the early 80’s they introduced LoviSil® – the first liquid silicone based trifurcate splice. If in contact with moisture, a soft, water resistant and perfectly insulating rubber is formed. This cured LoviSil® provides an additional layer of protection. Compared to shrink technologies LoviSil® splices are tested under a 29 psi pressure (65 feet depth in water)!

Triple protection

In fact LoviSil® cable splices offer a triple barrier that prevents the ingress of moisture in the electric field. The mechanical insulation is provided by the ABS outer splice, with sealed tape, containing Protolin®, a 2-component polyurethane resin. This ensures long-term moisture barrier. The silicone seal between outer and inner joint provides the following protection against moisture. Finally, the liquid silicone, LoviSil®, also provides the seal to the electric field.

Installer safety

LoviSil® cable splices can be direct buried or installed in manholes. The robust, compact shells and flame free installation make it very safe and comfortable for the installer. After installation the splice can be directly put into service.

Avoiding is better than healing

Building the grid infrastructure above ground is cheaper but much more vulnerable. In the last decade, the average annual number of weather-related power outages increased by roughly 78%. We rely on electricity in nearly every aspect of our lives. Undergrounding the grid is the best solution to avoid economic and societal disruptions caused by these outages. Last but not least, considering the long term benefits: minimizing outages also results in an extended system lifespan and reduced maintenance.