A Day in the life of Ramiz Ahmed
13 April 2021
My name is Ramiz Ahmed and I look after the Monitoring Services team in the Operations Business. The team is responsible for adding value to the data generated by various monitoring solutions we provide to our customers. This includes HV and LV, such as Astute HV Partial Discharge (PD) Monitoring, Alvin Reclosers, VisNet LV Monitoring Hub and Lightning Location Service. Our team deals with vast amounts of data generated by these devices, we do the first pass and help our customers make sense of that data, whether that is preventing HV switchgear or cable failures, managing LV faults to improve network performance (CI & CML), or monitoring LV Networks for future de-carbonization (Net Zero & EVs).
We are currently involved in a number of large-scale, complex projects where we are rolling out significant numbers of VisNet Low Voltage Substation Monitoring Systems across the UK Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), this includes nearly 700 VisNet units across the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) region, which is a logistical challenge on its own. In addition to that, we are managing a large fleet of Alvin LV Auto Reclosers.
From an HV point of view, my teams provides Astute Monitoring Services across the energy sector looking for partial discharge detection on high voltage switchgear and cables. And if this is not enough, we also provide lightning location services to customers across UK & Ireland.
In the monitoring world, everything is working 24/7, 365 days a year, so we don’t really have a typical 9-5 day. However, in a typical week, in addition to catching up on all the alerts/notifications received during the previous evening, I will have numerous project update meetings with various stakeholders, catch-up meetings with EA Technology’s development/data teams and customers. Monitoring active networks means we deal with engineers on the ground, throughout the day. From new equipment installs, any network fault issues, to internal project governance meetings.
I have a team of brilliant engineers and across the operations business who continue to support and further develop the service offerings we provide to our customers, day in and day out.
Amongst all the things we do, we’re always pushing the boundaries of what we can do with our instruments. UK DNOs have strict licensing conditions and are subject to penalties if there are any customer without electricity for a period of time. If the DNO engineers have an active LV cable fault and they can’t find it, they cannot restore the supply to customers, resulting in fines. The quicker they can restore power, the better savings there are and the better their customer service. This is where we come in. We are currently involved in a trial with a UK DNO where we are using the VisNet as an LV Cable Fault Location Device.
The idea, in simplest terms, is for a Faults Engineer to turn up at a substation, install a VisNet and use the clever apps built into it to locate the fault, all within 1 hour of arriving on site. We’re currently supporting a number of customers in determining the fault locations. We’ve successfully carried out numerous fault locations, in many instances, the location has been verified within 40 minutes of the engineer arriving on site, and within 4 metres of our estimated location. Which, considering the complexity of LV networks, accuracy of records, and tough on-site conditions, is ground-breaking (pun intended). The complexity of each trial means we get to test the limits of our instrument and our knowledge each time. Every single one of them is a nail-biting experience.
The best part about my job is that no one-day is the same. The variety of things we are involved in is so huge, that there’s never a boring day. There’s always a problem to solve, or new things to learn. There’s never enough hours in the day. From Electricity Networks point of view, the availability of network condition data is the one of the biggest challenges in the UK’s drive to net zero. Without tangible, accurate data it will be difficult for asset managers to identify weak points, and make informed decisions. This is where VisNet can help most of these customers and we need to capitalise on the opportunity.