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Underground cables have been extensively used for Enel’s power distribution networks in Europe and South America, thanks to their suitability for connecting new buildings, better security from illegal derivations and resistance to severe climatic conditions. Underground cables usually have reduced maintenance and operating costs given the reduced number of transitory interruptions that generally affect overhead lines. Finally, underground cables also eliminate the visual impact for drivers and pedestrians on the streets when compared to overhead lines and poles.

But in case of underground cable faults, due to insulation degradation, mechanical accidents, excessive internal/external stresses, a costly and time consuming activity is necessary in order to repair the affected portion of cable: once the exact fault location has been identified through special electronic devices and cable tracers, permitting need to be asked to public authorities (e.g. municipality) and finally excavation and joint’s realization need to be performed.

The entire operation requires high effort in terms of time, resources and budget. To streamline the process, Enel Global Infrastructure & Networks is looking for a cost-effective, technical solution.

This challenge provides contribution to the following sustainable development goal (SDG):

  • SDG 9: Industries, innovation and infrastructure. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.



For questions about the challenge and your proposal you can contact: EnelOpenInnovabilityChallenges@wazoku.com.




Low voltage underground cables are protected from the weather and are less susceptible to damage. However, cable faults do occur and when there is a disruption of electrical service, special devices are used to pinpoint the location of the fault within 5m. When these cables are situated in high traffic area, the current excavation and repair procedures are extremely disruptive. It must be highlighted that the electrical activities (execution of one or more joints) has a negligible impact on costs compared to the civil works (excavation, permitting, etc.) that – by the way – do not affect an asset owned by the distribution company (namely, the cable) but a public or private property.

The ideal solution would be an equipment able to operate with the minimum surface occupancy necessary to reach the faulty point (minimizing excavation duties and costs) and repair the cable with the appropriate intervention, case by case. In South American countries (Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Chile) and also Enel’s European networks (Italy, Spain, Romania), where underground lines are more spread, there is a great opportunity to maximize benefit from these kind of solutions.



Enel is searching for an innovative solution capable of excavating and reaching a faulty low voltage (LV) cable followed by repairing the fault underground. Recognizing that these are independent activities, the challenge will be separated in two different modules (Enel with reserve the right to collaborate with a supplier that can deliver both modules or one supplier for each module):

  • Module 1: Dig and reach, with the minimum surface occupancy and excavation, the faulty point of the cable with a device equipped with a camera which can avoid damaging other cables or devices. For example, an equipment which can perform like a “laparoscopy”.
  • Module 2: Once the fault is located, the equipment shall repair the LV cable. For example, an equipment that can restore the insulation by applying repairing sleeves around the damaged cable.


NOTE: Solvers should identify at least a proposal that satisfies Module 1. Module 2 is a nice to have.



The proposed solution must have the following qualities:

  • Allows for visualization of the cable;
  • Operates with batteries or a generator;
  • Easily transportable by light duty commercial vehicles;
  • Minimizes impact on the street/soil;
  • Complies with health, safety, and environmental (HSE) regulations and local requirements of countries in scope as listed above;
  • Improves/maintains reliability of current methods;
  • Is less time consuming than current methods;
  • Is cost competitive with current methods;
  • Provides flexibility (e.g. different soil conditions).


A proposed solution for Module 1 must have the following qualities:

  • Reaches a soil depth of 1,5m
  • Locates the affected portion of the cable within 5m horizontally from the initial excavation point

A proposed solution for Module 2 must have the following qualities:

  • Determines the appropriate amount of insulator polymer for restoration of function (see attached Enel technical documents)
  • Applies the insulator polymer to repair the cable.



The submitted proposal should contain two parts

1.      Collaboration Proposal including:

a.      A description of the proposed system with an explanation of how the Solver proposes to address the Solution Requirements for Module 1 and/or Module 2 as well as the technology readiness level (TRL) of the solution. The Solver can withhold proprietary details, but should provide convincing evidence for Enel to appreciate the merits of the approach and be comfortable that the solution can work effectively. The description should include, but is not limited to:

  • Presentation of the proposal, outline and how the technology works;
  • Development stage (Under lab-scale development / Under development for practical use / Implemented for practical use);
  • R&D capability (if development is still needed);
  • Past record of application for similar purposes (such as technical papers or other documentation for introducing your developed product);
  • Issues expected toward application of this project;
  • Sample testing conditions:
    • Available sample quantity;
    • Cost;
    • Required time;
  • Pilots realized: pilots with type test realized in accredited laboratory (Attach dossier);
  • Pilot installed in field:
    • Attach dossier;
    • Date, company, location;
    • Technical information about the equipment;
  • Maintenance of the equipment:
    • Instrumentation;
    • Activity and periodicity;
    • anipulation skills;
    • Possible legal considerations;
  • Prospect for scaling up;
  • Costs/benefits analysis;
  • Other;

b.      A brief discussion of capabilities, facilities/equipment, and relevant expertise for executing the proposed solution. The Solver should explain what they can provide and what might be required of the Seeker;

c.      An overview of the proposed path forward (materials, deliverables, timelines, cost estimates).


2.      General Information about the Solver including:

a.      The key contact person for this Challenge (including phone number and email address). 

b.      Organization/Company/University name and address (including website, if available)

(NOTE: For most Challenges, Solvers are not allowed to include personal contact information; however, for an eRFP Challenge, it is required.)

[NOTE: Only proposals from Solvers who have the ability to work as a collaboration partner will be considered.]

Challenge rules

All proposers are invited to read carefully the challenge and the Regulation of this challenge, attached below in the Attachments section, before submitting a solution.

By submitting a solution they automatically accept the attached Regulations other than the Terms of Use of this platform.

Explain your proposal clearly in English, attach documents (max 5 files, 25MB total size) if needed.


SMEs, scale ups, industrials are eligible for the participation in this challenge.


This is an electronic Request-for-Partners (eRFP) Challenge; the Solver will need to submit a written proposal to be evaluated by the Seeker with a goal of establishing a collaborative partnership.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (CET) on June 20, 2021.

Late submissions will not be considered.


20210318 - CSA eRFP Challenge Regulation

PDF (0.32MB) Download

What happens next?

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s).

All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions.

Enel will evaluate the response using the following criteria:

  • Overall scientific and technical merit of the proposed approach
  • Approach to proof of concept or performance
  • Potential for proprietary position (i.e., is the technology novel or protectable)
  • Economic potential of concept
  • Respondent’s capabilities and related experience
  • Realism of the proposed plan and cost estimates
  • Timing.


Once suitable proposals are identified Enel will reserve the opportunity to assign a direct contract to one or more Suppliers regarding the following activities:

  1. Type testing execution;
  2. Supply of prototypes of the above mentioned system;
  3. Installation and site tests;
  4. Follow up and monitoring of the equipment behavior during a specified time (e.g. 2 years).


The final award for this Challenge is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the verification process, including acceptance of the Challenge-Specific Agreement (CSA) that is the regulation for this Challenge.

The verification process includes obtaining the following from the Solver: signed affidavit (based on the CSA), employer waiver (if applicable), proof of identify, and Counterparty Analysis Questionnaire.



Global Infrastructure and Networks is the business line in charge of steering and coordinating the electricity transmission and distribution activities of Enel Group in 8 Countries (Europe and South America).

With a view of sharing and fostering the best practice in network digitalisation and industry 4.0, from field operations to a new customer experience, Global Infrastructure and Networks is today an international benchmark for Smart Meter and Smart Grid solutions.


About the seeker Enel-Global Infrastructure and Networks

PDF (0.36MB) Download

Enel Open Innovability User Guide

PDF (0.66MB) Download

20210318 - CSA eRFP Challenge Regulation

PDF (0.32MB) Download

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