T&TEC discusses saving energy and financial resources in T&T
By TT Guardian
Petroleumworld 11 16 2021
The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) Engineers proposed ways of saving energy and financial resources in the light of the current climate change conversations. Details follow in this press release from T&TEC:
A remote lighting system solution for recreation grounds to save energy and money; considerations on the impact of extreme weather on T&TEC’s infrastructure; and a new call centre to improve telephone customer service were some of the solutions examined recently by Engineers of the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission (T&TEC) at its inaugural Engineering Conference. The conference ran from October 20th-22nd and was themed “Over Frequency, a Symposium of Exceptional Engineering”. While not a climate change forum, solutions that would contribute to achieving T&T’s climate change goals were key topics on the agenda.
It was staged to showcase in-house engineering innovations and to discuss ideas on operational matters. Over 16 Engineers presented solutions, several already in-train or fully implemented, to improve efficiency and service delivery in areas like telephone customer service and reliability.
The Conference was organised for virtual and limited in-person attendance and opened with welcome remarks from T&TEC’s Chief Technical Officer, Chrisalton Belle and from Member of the Commission, Solange De Souza. Mr. Belle reminded Engineers of their role as the core of T&TEC’s operations, saying, “we must be exceptional and produce work of the highest quality.” While also acknowledging the supportive role of other members of staff, he said he was proud of the fine work produced and hoped it can positively impact on the product T&TEC delivers. Ms. De Souza, who is also Chairperson of the Board’s Sub-Committee on Performance, Reliability and Rural Electrification and Public Lighting, said that the Conference gives “the opportunity for our Engineers to share ideas, innovations and successes…and engage in discussion on the evolution of engineering practices.” As she acknowledged the strides the organisation made over its 75-year history, she noted that as professionals, “we have the power to create the environment which can either reflect impeccable principles or mirror disrepute, dishonour or even shame.” General Manager, Kelvin Ramsook, addressed employees on the final day of the conference and cautioned that “whatever we do, this must not just be a conference where we present papers. We must apply the engineering to better the service to our customers.” He noted that the appetite of the customer is always changing, with increasing demands every day and, “we have to be always mindful of their needs”.
Among a number of presentations addressing matters related to climate change, Engineers Saidah Hosein and Alden Henry addressed the issue of conservation of electricity on underused recreation grounds across the country, putting forward a proposal that has the potential to reduce our carbon footprint by saving 8,660 megawatt hours of wasted energy annually.
While all grounds have an automatic timer which operates from 6:00 p.m. to9:30 p.m., underutilisation wastes approximately 46% of the energy consumed at such facilities. A new system, already being piloted at the St. Mary’s Recreation Ground, Freeport, will allow for remote monitoring and control of the floodlights at 200 recreation grounds. Using field devices and24-hour surveillance and communication equipment, operators at a Control Centre will monitor the presence of people and turn the lights on and off or adjust the light intensity as required. The system is also expected to increase the lifespan of floodlights, reduce maintenance costs and protect against vandalism, where persons may have broken into switch rooms to override the timer systems.
Civil Engineer attached to the Civil Engineering and Facilities Management Department, Praim Sookdeo, considered the impact of extreme weather, caused by climate change, on T&TEC’s infrastructure. His paper was presented by colleague Valmiki Seepaul, also of the same department. The case study, “Evaluating existing transmission and distribution infrastructure to code requirements— structural considerations including climate change”, employed a structural analysis of existing distribution steel and pre-stressed concrete utility poles, as well as transmission towers, to determine any failure points and the impact of increasing levels of wind pressures on T&TEC’s existing infrastructure. The study cited previous research that projected a 30%increase in the number of major hurricanes in the region, with a concomitant increase (between 12%-44%) in the design wind pressure on T&TEC’s transmission and distribution infrastructure. Design wind pressure refers the amount of force (“wind load”) that the structure is designed to withstand. The case studies provided design and retrofitting techniques and considerations, several of which have been adopted. It also highlighted the importance of carrying out frequent infrastructure inspections to determine maintenance regimes and to ensure that T&TEC’s infrastructure is constructed in accordance with the latest engineering codes.
The three-day conference stimulated engaging discussion on various aspects of electrical and civil engineering. Some topical presentations included the security of T&TEC’s computer monitoring and control system; proposals to transform Tobago’s sub-transmission system in the long term and further expansion of electricity generation on the island; and measures, some already implemented, to improve the electricity reliability in Matelot. Engineer-in Training, Jabari Seaforth who invented a remote circuit breaker switching device intended to improve the safety of employees, also demonstrated the prototype.
As it related to customer service delivery, Kurt Narine of the Communications Department presented the Mitel Mi Contact Contact Centre solution, a digital system to efficiently handle telephone calls. The system is already partially deployed at T&TEC’s call centre and allowed the Commission to discontinue outsourcing its 800-TTEC telephone service in January. It integrates with the pre-existing 800-BULB system and, overall, provides intelligent routing and queuing of calls to reduce the number of blocked calls and provides auto matedreports and updates to customers on general and specific outages. Further Contact Centre improvements will allow customers to contact any T&TEC office via one common number and will also include email and web-chat facilities.
The conference closed with a panel discussion on the evolution of engineering practice from the 1980s to today, moderated by Manager, System Control &Generation Interface, John Colthrust, with veteran engineer Engineering Controller, Ravi Shukla and retired Senior Supervisor, Ashton Bandoo and younger Engineers Marcus Choo Ying, and Viren Ramrekersingh.