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Opinion on Substation/T-Line Engineer

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#1 robertplant22



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Posted 28 March 2012 - 09:27 PM


I'm looking to switch career paths from designing electrical systems for the healthcare industry to substation/transmission lines engineering.

I was hoping I could get opinions from engineers who work with medium and high voltage. I want to know what you think the future of the industry looks like. What are some of the most challenging things about working in this field. It seems as though new technology such as electronic relays are changing the way some of the things are done, do you think this is true or not? With the introduction of the smart grid and renewable energy sources, the grid is rapidly changing; is this true or not?

Thanks in advance for your input.




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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:34 PM

The substation/t-line has been pretty hot since i first started in 2007, and there are no signs of it stopping anytime soon. There are tons of projects all over the country and tons of money to be spent in the next ten years in adding/upgrading t-lines, leading to more substation work. Electromechanical relays are things of the past, and everything is being upgraded to digital relays.

If anyone is interested in t-line/substation, i say definitely go for it, this is not oil & gas. The marked is booming and lots of companies are doing international work to cash in on the international market (Asia/Africa.)

#3 illini1022



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Posted 12 April 2012 - 09:33 PM

I've been a substation engineer for 2.5 years (first job out of school) and this field couldn't be doing better. The number of opportunities is seriously impressive. The work itself I find can range from extremely interesting to very boring. All depends on the project.

The field is rapidly changing. Electromechanical relays are a thing of the past and the electronic relays are in full deployment. There are tons of advances and upgrade projects related to communications/SCADA. There are tons of routine upgrades to relays/equipment. There are lots of yard expansions to increase capacity. There is even a healthy amount of greenfield installations.

Lots of new advances to look forward to as well. Substations of the future will likely go in this direction - http://www.gedigital...g/hardfiber.htm

- where each individual relay doesn't need tons of copper wires coming into it to monitor voltages and currents. You can consolidate all of those analog voltage/current signals out in the field and haul them back digitally through fiber communications. Cool stuff going on. Whether its renewable or not, people are using more power and the grid needs improvements. Safe job security here.

#4 Matt Bellott

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 03:02 AM

the substation and T line engineering field is doing very well. When I was at a electric utility in Mississippi and Arkansas we were constantly busy. The only problem with this field is that there is a distinct lack of experience in the workforce. You have either engineers with 30 plus years experience or folks who were maybe one to two years out of school. I am NOT saying that the new folks are not catching on and doing quite well, but the issue is that there is a lot of attrition because of the lack of mentor ship from the older engineers. Overall its a great field and I wouldn't say that if you are interested in this field I would pursue it and also there is a good deal of money to be made for sure. Best of luck.

#5 iwire


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Posted 25 May 2014 - 07:38 AM

This might be a cool interesting switch for me if I ever want to...background in telecommunication (copper, wireless p2p, p2mp and FOC), scada system, ITS, and power distribution....hmm interesting what you guys think? 

#6 KatyLied


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Posted 25 May 2014 - 11:12 PM

I worked in transmission/substations for 17 years and I agree that the industry is growing and offers diverse opportunities.  Are you looking for employment with a utility or a manufacturer/supplier?  Also, are you interested in design, maintenance, relay checkout, or construction scheduling - to name a fe?.  I was partial to substation/T-Line maintenance and construction scheduling.  Different skill sets apply to each.  Just curious.  Good field.  I still work for the utility but I now work in marketing, primarily with industrial customers on process efficiencies after having done three years as an industrial account manager.  My trans/subs experience, along with several years as a distribution engineer, was invaluable when I started working in Marketing.  

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