Hoosier Energy began annual substation training for the Member Systems in late July, and the sessions will continue through early November.
“Whereas Hoosier employees are in the substations potentially hundreds of times a year, the co-op linemen have very limited exposure to the substations and the equipment within,” said Cory Berg, Hoosier Energy Safety and Training Specialist.
As a result, the training starts with safe entry procedures — looking for evidence of tampering, vandalism and theft. This goes hand-in-hand with covering basic troubleshooting techniques to determine whether the linemen can fix the problem themselves or if it’s a problem for Hoosier Energy to deal with.
Among the hazards they need to identify are whether it is a man-made hazard, or an environmental hazard caused by wildlife or inclement weather. There is also a need to identify the different pieces of equipment so that if there is damage caused by any of the previously mentioned hazards, that information can be relayed to Hoosier Energy.
“We also hand out questionnaires that encourage the linemen to dig deeper into the controls on the reclosers and the regulators,” Berg said. “This makes them familiar with pulling vital information from the device.”
One side effect is that the linemen gain knowledge about the system — what kind of load they have on circuits and minimum trip settings that could be useful later when paralleling circuits together.
These things aren’t necessarily new information for the linemen, but it is an important reminder.
“They cover these things in the apprenticeship, but because of the lack of exposure, it is necessary to have a visit once a year to keep the knowledge they have already obtained fresh,” Berg said. “It’s one of those, ‘If you don’t use it, you lose it,’ type of things.”