Aerial bundled cables (also aerial bundled conductors or simply ABC) are overhead power lines using several insulated phase conductors bundled tightly together, usually with a bare neutral conductor. This contrasts with the traditional practice of using uninsulated conductors separated by air gaps. This variation of overhead power lines utilizes the same principles as bundled conductors, except that they are closer together to the point of touching but each conductor is surrounded by an insulating layer.
Aerial bundled cables (ABC) have been introduced into Australian power systems progressively since 1983. This was partly in response to bushfires sparked by old wires touching.
In some bushfire prone areas though, older Aerial Bundled Cable installations are now creating fires, particularly at points where the cables have damaged or been degraded over time.
In the Dandenong Ranges area Victoria 2014. High Voltage (11KV – 22KV) Aerial Bundled Cable is being replaced with underground cable due to high failure rates of HV ABC, with life expectancy of just 10 years, when original life was expected to be approx 30 years. Due to degraded cable, cost of repairs & maintenance and bushfire risk.