Powering up your faults team

By Nigel Russell, Account Director, Kelvatek

Field engineers carry a professional pride about what they do with some even being regarded as ‘fault whisperers’. Natural problem solvers, they have a ‘sixth sense’ that helps sniff out stubborn but inexplicable LV faults from a mile away.

Like a snooker champion’s lucky cue or a sushi chef’s knife collection, there can be a near-superstitious trust in the hardware they carry with them on the job. Every engineer keeps their preferred piece of fault finding kit close to hand. Ultimately, it’s about getting the job done efficiently, whatever it takes.

But as every Distribution Network Operator knows too well, there is soon to be a skills gap in this highly experienced workforce. During the transition to DSO, it’s expected that 20% of the workforce will retire. Not only will that leave operators grappling through the challenges of ED2, but it will also leave them competing for a share of the same talent pool.

DNOs have a guiding purpose to keep the lights on for their customers, plus some stiff regulatory and commercial incentives. And to achieve that, they’ve got to match serious investment in their network assets with a corresponding commitment to people with the skills, training and resources.

At Kelvatek we’re all too familiar with the pressures facing network operators, where a big last-mile distribution challenge is making the right call based on limited information. You can do nothing and hope that an intermittent fault either disappears or goes permanent quickly – but that’s rolling the dice. Or you can pre-emptively try and find and fix the fault before this. Ideally, digging one hole rather than excavating half the neighbourhood as well as saving on that limited people resource.

But how do operators juggle the proactive management of faults and the effective management of field teams? Actionable insights from our SAPIENT platform give DNOs a clear picture about how their LV fleet is being utilised… and what it’s telling them. The right tool for the right job is essential and so too is the mix of equipment in their arsenal, ultimately maximising field engineers time and driving up productivity. If nothing untoward is reported by one of our devices, that’s a clear sign it could be better deployed elsewhere. This allows engineers to focus their efforts (and their sixth sense) in other areas of the network.

To find out how Kelvatek can help you see the big picture of your network, and the dedicated team that maintain it, contact us today.