Thursday, March 1, 2007

Why do we Need an Expert ?

Recently, we were asked by one of the VPs on the following questions.

a. Why do You Need Experts in your Department ?
b. Would You be able to generate sufficient workload for the experts
c. What level of knowledge and experience required for the expert positions ?
d. Why Security Assessment, Reliability Assessment and Power Quality ?

When you are talking to your VP in a formal discussion, all words that come out from the mouth must be articulated properly and not just sputter of meaningless words. Although we are very certain on what is the answer,circumstance sometimes overwhelms our nerve but nonetheless, we somehow answered the three questions as following.

Why We Need Experts
We need experts in the office because our job can be best described as both routine and non-routine. Our routine task include preparing the daily system security assessment to ascertain our compliance to the regulatory requirements and to secure reliable network for our system thus, meeting customers' satisfaction. Due to the nature of our routine function which is detail and huge, the focus on non-routine functions can sometimes be lessened if not taken for granted. For instance, we need experts to guide the routine engineers conducting security and reliability assessment to tackle new issues arising in changing network condition. We also need experts to focus on unexpected abnormalities in the system such as consideration of optimal reserve for avoiding partial blackout, or to look into matters pertaining to possible system security breach by connected generators or loads. From time to time, expert help is also needed in the area of commissioning new generators or to conduct post-mortem studies after major incidences. We also feel that there is a need to retain the expertise of our engineers who are deeply interested and talented in their jobs. It is only fair that more opportunities be created to them to meet their aspirations in tandem with the company's objective. In addition,we also believe that greater focus and more comprehensive analysis on specific non-routine task can be done by someone who is not bogged down by the routines and thus this serves as our primary reason for requiring experts in our department.

Sufficient Workload for Experts
Our current system is already huge but still expanding. With the growing demand and expanding system, there will always be new problems and incidences bound to happen in the system despite careful planning and execution. Thus, the role of any experts will also increase with time and the likelihood of expert deprived of task will not happen. With possible market deregulation in the future, the role of experts are even more required.

Knowledge and Skill Required
To become an expert, one must have sufficient knowledge about power system engineering particularly in the area of power system security, reliability and quality. Sufficient means one must already have strong fundamental understanding of power flow analysis, contingency study, short circuit study, transfer limit analysis, transient stability and general understanding of machine control system theory. The likelihood candidates already possessing such skill are within the SPOD department and also possibly from other departments in the division. Preferably, candidates should have at least 5 year working experience but this is not the main criteria for suitability if the candidate can demonstrate his capability and knowledge already acquired.

Area of Expertise Required
Security assessment expertise is required in the department because at present it is the final check-point before endorsing the plan for securing a reliable, secured and economical operation of the system on daily basis. Having an expert in security assessment will definitely benefit the company with very little investment to be made.

Reliability Assessment is needed to help define a state of the system in a probabilistic manner. Reliability assessment can facilitate in decision making especially when security enhancement requires huge operational cost. Such analysis requires possible contingency situation albeit some might have very small possibility of occurrence but yet this catastrophe incidence will cause major economic impact to the system. At the moment, this method of assessment is yet to be carried out in the department and thus the learning curve to groom an expert on this field has to begin now.

A Power Quality Expert is basically needed to analyze specific problems of power quality (i.e. customer complaint) and submit specific report as per the requirement under the License, the Malaysian Grid Code and the Standards. The PQ expert is also responsible in identifying impact of new User connections on power quality and coordinate for full compliance of the Malaysian Grid Code and the License standards, and drafting the sections related to power quality in Relevant Agreements. In addition, the role of a PQ expert is also to provide leadership towards the compliance of transmission level PQ requirements as per the Statutory and License Condition Requirements.

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