Distribution Planning Studies

Prudent investments to transform, maintain and operate distribution infrastructure require thoughtful planning. The current evolution of customer expectations and technologies has increased the need for distribution planning studies and the corresponding scrutiny from external stakeholders and regulatory bodies.

We have extensive experience modeling and studying distribution systems for a range of objectives and utilities — from long-range plans to specific device placement recommendations — for both smaller rural utilities and large investor-owned utilities.


Our diverse team, spread across the nation, can be deployed as individual subject matter consultants or as scalable project teams, depending on the specific need. As a part of Burns & McDonnell, we are uniquely capable of seamlessly leveraging our strategic consulting and design/construction resources to provide a one-stop shop for services ranging from ideation to change management to studies and analysis to engineering and construction. We help clients:

  • Forecast and model near-term and long-term load, generation and system conditions.
  • Enhance planning models and other tool capabilities.
  • Assess and develop system capacity, reliability and resiliency investments.
  • Develop long-range plans, master plans and expansion plans.
  • Optimize device deployments and placements.
  • Perform protection coordination analysis and develop device settings.
  • Support ongoing construction efforts.
  • Complete contingency planning studies.
  • Analyze and develop volt/var optimization and/or conservation voltage reduction programs and deployments.
  • Model and assess the reliability benefit of distribution investment projects.
  • Assess the feasibility and appropriateness of microgrids or other non-wires alternatives.
  • Perform harmonics studies and investigations.
  • Calculate system losses and analyze loss-reduction opportunities.
  • Assess the impacts of electrification.
  • Perform hosting capacity analysis.


At 1898 & Co., we believe in planning and analysis grounded in feasibility and engineering knowledge. We strive to simplify the transition from planning to construction by delivering planning results that are constructable and easy to understand. This starts with thoughtful integration with and an understanding of each of our clients’ unique criteria, standards and constraints. We license and train our consultants in the use of industry analysis tools such as Cyme, Synergi, WindMil and CymTCC, as well as common data visualization and collection tools such as ArcGIS, Smallworld, Pi Historian and more. This approach allows our consultants to:

  • Quickly integrate with your teams.
  • Limit your oversight burden.
  • Increase responsiveness and reduce project delivery times.