Linemen, engineers, substation technicians and box managers got here in combination in Pasadena, California, for a unmarried venture — sharing methods — on the 44th annual Transmission Distribution Upkeep Control (TDMMA) convention.
It didn’t make a distinction if the attendees hailed from huge utilities or small municipalities, from the USA or Canada, or from the road business or engineering division, all the way through TDMMA, they have been all a part of the similar circle of relatives, operating in combination to spot issues and devise answers. A document choice of attendees — 178 — registered for this yr’s tournament, and most of the registrants have been first timers.
“Folks bringing new folks in assists in keeping the convention going,” stated Andrew Kendall, senior assistant common supervisor energy device, building, upkeep and operations for the Los Angeles Division of Water and Energy (LADWP), the host application. “I’ve been to a large number of other meetings within the business, however that is the one who I see as probably the most precious. It’s now not simply the ideas that you just get all the way through the convention, however it’s additionally the relationships that you just construct. You’ll meet individuals who do the similar issues and face the similar issues.”
Kendall stated he were given desirous about TDMMA after he confronted a problem, and his coworker prompt that he flip to the group.
“We despatched out an e-mail, and we quickly had 40 responses,” Kendall recalled. “That’s what that is all about — having the ability to proportion in truth and know that we’re in the similar boat and will paintings in combination.”
Embarking on a Technical Excursion
Like previous meetings, this yr’s tournament kicked off the week with a technical excursion. With one of these prime choice of attendees, the TDMMA host committee needed to flip possible registrants away for the sold-out tour, stated Karyn Dust, administrative supervisor, Energy Government Place of work for LADWP.
The attendees who have been in a position to check in forward of time for the technical excursion boarded considered one of two buses to trip to 2 other locations. On one a part of the excursion, the attendees may just apply LADWP’s new Human Exterior Shipment (HEC) program in motion on the Hokinson Heliport.
Inside of a big hangar, the ability business execs inspected the apparatus required for HEC, sat in an Air Chair suspended from the again of a LADWP bucket truck and took a detailed have a look at the helicopters used for the paintings apply. Whilst the attendees watched from within the hangar, the HEC workforce walked outdoor the heliport development to provide an indication of the long-lining manner. The usage of the HEC manner, the pilot then lifted a lineman off the bottom, situated him at the tower after which flew again to select him up and take him again to the beginning spot. The workforce additionally demonstrated methods to carry out a rescue by means of a helicopter.
Robbie McIntosh, supervisor of transmission strains, North Team for AltaLink, who additionally attended the TDMMA meetings in Alberta, Canada, and Myrtle Seaside, South Carolina, stated he loved the HEC demonstration.
“A large number of us have hopes to do it as it’s a more secure and extra environment friendly techniques to do paintings,” McIntosh stated. “I’d love to ship considered one of our guys down right here to LA to look at and use it for our program.”
Following a bus journey via a canyon, the registrants loved an outside BBQ lunch in Show off Park adopted through a excursion of LADWP’s oldest energy vegetation — San Francisquito Energy Plant #1. Alongside the best way, they’d the chance to be informed in regards to the historical past of the corporate. Throughout the park house, they considered a piece of the unique First Los Angeles Aqueduct, a cable-winding reel and a response turbine got rid of from carrier. Out of doors the doorway of the ability plant, they peeked into the historic automobile development, which housed a antique software trailer found out at the mountainside, an early style of a cable stringer and a horse-drawn transformer oil-filter trailer.
As soon as within the energy plant, they walked previous the fairway hydroelectric plant apparatus and up the steps to a museum, which featured extra memorabilia from the early days of LADWP. Subsequent, they walked down the steps and up right into a regulate room, the place a regulate room operator defined the aim and venture of the 70 MW capability hydroelectric plant, which opened greater than a century in the past.
All through the week-long tournament, the attendees had the chance not to simplest attend the technical excursion, but additionally attend an off-the-cuff reception within the govt suite, a Meet and Greet at a local billiard corridor and several other gatherings close to the pool on the lodge or native venues. The spouses of the attendees may just additionally bond with one some other via specialised visitor reports akin to a excursion of Los Angeles and a talk over with to a vineyard or the department stores of Pasadena, California.
Sean Veley, energy manager for Tacoma Energy, stated this yr’s convention was once his first time attending TDMMA. After operating as a substation electrician and journeyman, the Military veteran lately moved into control and shifted into the substation crew.
“I’m right here to soak all of it in, pay attention and communicate to folks,” Veley stated. “I need to know if different individuals are confronted with the similar or other issues in numerous sides.”
Wes Horne, upkeep manager for Arizona Public Provider, stated he’s found out that there are one million techniques to do the similar activity, and most of the firms have already found out one of the simplest ways to resolve a definite drawback. He can then take that wisdom again to his management workforce to enhance productiveness and protection at his personal corporate. On the convention, he stated there’s a mix of various kinds of attendees — from linemen to foremen to administrators and superintendents, which is effective.
“All of us have other views and we will be informed so much from one some other,” Horne stated.
Mandeep Parmar, lead electric engineer for the Town of Crimson Deer Electrical Mild and Energy in Canada, agreed, pronouncing the convention offers attendees the chance to fulfill folks in numerous positions and ask questions.
“There’s a loose drift of data, and everyone seems to be prepared to lend a hand,” Parmar stated. “It is helping you stay your finger at the pulse of the whole thing.”
Finding out About Perfect Practices
Over the direction of 3 days, the attendees may just earn proceeding schooling credit and know about various subjects together with asset control and EPZ bonding. As in previous years, the convention additionally featured panel classes on main demanding situations and successes and screw ups and protection to permit attendees to proportion their reports overcoming a selected problem or coping with an emergency state of affairs. For instance, the audio system shined the highlight at the contemporary Nebraska floods, a wind hurricane in Salt River Challenge’s carrier territory and the “Manitoba Ice Wars.”
This yr’s new applied sciences panel featured displays on dielectric rope, distribution automation and UAV use within the application surroundings. Shawn Reimer, supervisor of substations for AltaLink, gave a presentation on how his corporate is the usage of two water-proof military-grade drones with thermal imaging functions to habits site-specific inspections.
“In Canada, drone operators can transcend line of sight in rural spaces through acquiring a different allow from Shipping Canada,” he stated.
The convention featured panel classes within the mornings adopted through interactive workshops and open boards within the afternoons. The afternoon classes allowed the attendees to take a deeper dive into the problems introduced all the way through the morning panel discussions.
All through a workshop on body of workers control, the attendees voiced issues about now not simplest recruiting the following era of linemen, but additionally keeping apprentices after they have got finished their coaching. Some utilities are requiring apprentices to signal contracts whilst others are providing them sign-on bonuses.
The attendees additionally explored methods on methods to inspire linemen to step clear of the sector and transfer into control roles at their firms. San Diego Gasoline & Electrical’s Charlie Tuck, who moderated the panel together with Alan Katz of Colorado Springs Utilities, stated his corporate lets in workers to check out out control alternatives via a procedure referred to as “blue slipping,” through which they spend a six-month rotation within the place of work.
Without a distributors provide, the ability business execs had the liberty to talk their minds in regards to the subjects handy and be informed from one some other about what works and what doesn’t paintings when it comes to equipment, era and paintings practices. “There’s now not many puts the place we will community with those who do what we do,” Katz stated.
All through the open boards, the attendees break up off into 3 other sections — transmission, distribution and substations — which allowed them to hook up with different registrants of their paintings crew and get their questions responded at the spot. McIntosh stated at TDMMA, everyone seems to be open to sharing.
“The wonderful thing about this convention is having the ability to proportion from side to side,” he stated. “We don’t seem to be competing towards one some other, and we’re all operating for the typical just right.”
Editor’s Word: To peer a photograph gallery from the development, talk over with www.tdworld.com/electric-utility-operations. Talk over with www.tdmm.com to be informed about subsequent yr’s convention, backed through Sask Energy, in Saskatoon, Saskachewan, Canada.