Technical Session Abstracts

Opening Session – Field Engagement is Key

Marketta Franklin, Director Transmission Learning & Development Programs, American Electric Power

The lynchpin to a safe and effective organization is a thriving workforce. As a tenured workforce retires, attracting new talent while retaining and developing the current workforce is imperative. By providing dynamic learning and development opportunities, an organization can positively impact their recruiting and talent management strategies. Marketta Franklin, director of Learning and Employee Development will share how AEP Transmission is working to ensure knowledge transfers across the organization, and provide insight on the focus on competency and “skilling up” all employees regardless of tenure. She will also will share what AEP Transmission is doing to understand the future of work and how Transmission can be flexible in this adaptive space.

Mark A. Gabriel, Administrator and Chief Executive Officer, Western Area Power Administration

Capturing maintenance knowledge and asset management data is one critical method of engaging the many talents of field personnel. Western Area Power Administration encourages its maintenance employees to be proactive in finding more efficient and effective ways to complete their work, developing the next generation of leadership and preparing for a connected energy future. WAPA’s Administrator and CEO Mark A. Gabriel will discuss the importance of integrating field personnel into all aspects of running a utility, including innovation, strategic planning, inclusion and diversity, culture and psychological safety to unlock the unique perspectives of the people on the frontlines of power delivery.

Ronald D Critelli, Jr. P.E., Senior Director, Power Delivery – Building a Stronger and Smarter Energy Grid

Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) customers were impacted by seven hurricanes in a mere 18 months during the historic 2004 and 2005 seasons, which culminated with Hurricane Wilma. Following Wilma, FPL embarked on a journey to build a stronger, smarter and more storm-resilient energy grid for its customers. The initiative was coined as the Storm Secure Program. The more than $3 billion of investments made as part of the program were put to the test with Hurricane Irma in 2017. The presentation will discuss how FPL’s investments into the energy grid performed, and other projects the company has planned to deliver reliable service its more than 5 million customers can count on in good weather and bad.

Brent Stegner, Distribution Technical Skills Manager, American Electric Power

Distribution Technical Training at AEP

  • Overview of Distribution Training organization at AEP
  • Overview of distribution line mechanic apprentice process
  • Trends in distribution technical training
  • Opportunities and challenges on the horizon for distribution technical training

Carl Segneri, VP of Business Development for M. J. Electric, A Quanta Services Company

I have been fortunate to team with spectacular field and craft personnel at both electric utilities and contracting companies. Both groups are highly skilled and trained. Both groups continue to improve their safety performance and accountability to levels not imagined possible 15 years ago. Utilities started the drive for safety excellence and contractors became better as a matter of price of entry.

Our industry does an excellent job of technical skills and methods training. Improved tools helps our field employees work safer and more productively. What I have learned is that the most effective way to improve safety and productive performance is to engage the hearts and the minds of the field workers. I plan to share many examples where true employee engagement developed significant advances in safety and better methods to get work done. Utility and contractor employees both share a pride in their craft and are very passionate about being part of the solutions. Successful leaders set the expectations and goals and let the employees use their creativity to meet those goals. We maintain our core rules and guidelines such as minimum approach distance, FR clothing policy, test before touch, use of seat belts, proper grounding of equipment, etc. but when we let the employees use technology or ingenuity to achieve the goals we are amazed at the results. Utility employees have used their intimate knowledge of the system and the local culture to develop ideas that make their work easier or improve customer satisfaction. Contractor employees can bring in ideas they have seen or developed elsewhere that the local workers might not have seen or adopted.

Whether you work for a utility, vendor or contractor, your Field workers are the face of your company to the customer. When they are respected and valued, they respect and value the customers they interface with.

Physical Security of the Grid and Substation

Kerry Cheung, DOE – U.S. DOE Activities in Grid Security and Resilience

The Office of Electricity (OE) provides national leadership to ensure that the Nation’s energy delivery system is secure, resilient, and reliable. OE works to develop new technologies to enhance the infrastructure that brings electricity into our homes, offices, and factories and to improve the federal and state electricity policies and programs that shape electricity system planning and market operations. This presentation will discuss key programs and R&D activities at the U.S. Department of Energy that address grid security and resilience with an emphasis on physical security and hardware solutions.

Thomas Propts, Dominion

  • Dominion Philosophy of Resiliency
  • Transmission – Rapid Response, Replacement, and Restoration
  • Substation – Deter, Detect and Delay
  • Information Usage and Optimization, Coordinated Response
  • Spare Equipment Philosophy and Strategies
  • Design Philosophy for Minimizing Impacts to Equipment Operations and Maintenance
  • Challenges Faced and Lessons Learned in Equipment Operations and Maintenance
  • Design Philosophy for Minimizing Facilities Maintenance
  • Challenges Faced and Lessons Learned in Facilities Maintenance

Tim Stelljes, AEP – AEP’s Physical Security Program for Substations

Physical security is one aspect of AEP’s philosophy for grid resiliency. This presentation will discuss how AEP has approached this aspect of grid resiliency in substations, and resulting experience with lessons learned, design considerations, impact to operations, and anticipated ongoing maintenance needs. Each site has its own requirements and presents its own obstacles and challenges.

Late Breaking Technologies

Wayne Bishop Jr. Head of Marketing for North America, OMICRON:
Industry Trends and Why It’s an Exciting Time to be Part of the Electric Power Industry

Some in the industry have said that more changes have taken place in the past 5 years than the last 100 years. The changes and buzzwords include: Distributed Energy Resources (DER), wind and solar, microgrids, energy storage, electric vehicles, etc. Some would say these are emerging technologies and others would call them disruptive technologies. One thing we can all agree on is that it is an exciting and interesting time to be in the electric power industry. This presentation will look at some of the major trends and how they are impacting our industry.

Jean Marie George, Scientific Director, Sediver:
Insulator Pollution Condition Monitoring

Airborne dust or coastal salt contamination of overhead line insulators can seriously compromise the performance of a transmission line, either AC or DC, generating potential heavy financial losses and additional maintenance costs. Understanding basic concepts of the contamination process as well as the tools available for their evaluation can help finding the most appropriate sustainable mitigation methods. Among the diverse options offered in the relatively large spectrum of possibilities, utilities are often selecting designs which long term performance especially in harsh conditions is known today to be questionable, imposing additional inspection costs as well as service interruptions. CIGRE and IEC have established guidelines which can be considered as a good starting point in a rational approach for pollution mitigation. Specific creepage distance, profiles and shapes of insulators as well as surface properties of dielectric materials are taken into consideration on a theoretical level which still must be challenged by reality and actual laboratory testing.

While these parameters will be introduced in this paper, a specific mention for DC is necessary since the polarized effect around the conductors will act like a magnet amplifying the level of pollution compared to an AC line on the same route. Examples will be shown to better demonstrate the specificities of a unidirectional field on the performance of a DC overhead line.

Classical evaluation and mitigation methods require an outage during which either samples are periodically taken down to measure the pollution level or preventive line washing at predefined intervals is performed. Ideally information on the condition of the string of insulators should be more useful if provided on a real time basis. This would allow maintenance action at the proper time without any risk or unnecessary premature spending.

Innovative techniques for real time evaluation of the condition of a string of insulators are now possible thanks to smart insulators capable to communicate in real time their pollution condition. This paper will describe the fundamental aspects of this IoT technology where the insulator itself produces a diagnostic. Instead of measuring the level of contaminants through physical sampling on a string, this development will concentrate directly on the consequence of the environment on the performance of the string by measuring the actual leakage current. Using wireless communication technologies, the data is transferred to a dedicated server where the information will be analysed and presented to the end user with a diagnostic of risk of pollution related flashover. Such processes imply a detailed knowledge of the signature of each type of insulator in terms of leakage current since threshold values depend upon shape and profile. Actual examples will demonstrate this aspect.

John Parks, VP Mobile Solutions, Smart Wires:
How Mobile Power Flow Control Solutions will Change your Approach to Upgrading your Grid