Spotlight On Electronic Technicians

By Abby Bell

Engineering supervisor, Steve Stec.

Cloverland Electric Cooperative’s Electronic Technicians have shown that advanced technological success is imminent when paired with a diligent work ethic, a dependable team, and passion for the position.

In an interview with engineering supervisor, Steve Stec, we learn about the duties of the electronic technician department and how their role is essential in providing safe and reliable electricity to all members.

“My team is dependable, hard-working and everyone is a team player,” said Stec. “They are proud of the work they do and have the education and technical experience needed to get the job done.”

Electronic technicians investigate, install, test, and repair transmission, substation, distribution, and generation equipment. Cloverland’s electronic technicians work with the American Transmission Company (ATC) to ensure all substations receive maintenance on a monthly rotation. Rain, snow, or shine, electronic technicians use advanced electrical equipment to complete routine maintenance on the 46 substations.

Two of our electronic technicians (ETs), Phillip Coullard and Carl Mason, traveled by air to wire up a single-phase current transformer meter on Mackinac Island. ETs test, repair, and troubleshoot a wide variety of special electrical equipment for the co-op.

Cloverland’s broad service territory and 4,000 miles of service line means its electronic technicians spend many days on the road traveling to substations across the co-op’s five divisions. Depending on the season, electronic technicians may use boats, snowmobiles, and even airplanes to travel to island locations to perform maintenance. Routine maintenance ensures all technical equipment is working properly and capable of performing when power outages occur.

Specialized technical equipment is used to perform maintenance on transformers, circuit breakers, relays, and other substation equipment. Over the past decade, Cloverland progressed from hiring outside contractors to having a skilled team who can produce and operate necessary technical equipment in house.

“We have advanced over the years,” said Stec. “We started with three electronic technicians and now have a highly skilled team of seven.”

Electronic technicians are progressing on a major installation project of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems for all substations. The SCADA system is essential for the cooperative since it increases efficiency, helps process data for smarter decisions, and communicates substation and service line issues to the control center.

Electronic technicians work to remove outdated infrastructure from the Dafter substation.

Maintenance is also completed on the ATC’s high-voltage, direct current (HVDC) electric power transmission plant. Located near St. Ignace, this HVDC plant is one of the first in the world using new technologies and requires specialized training to perform maintenance duties. Cloverland’s electronic technicians are trained and capable of completing HVDC routine maintenance.

The electronic technician department has stayed on course with duties throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. With devices to increase access to essential company data from remote locations, the team can perform duties as a mobile workforce.

“We are more prepared than ever before,” said Stec.

The electronic technician team is the technical side behind the cooperative’s mission to deliver exceptional services through the generation and safe delivery of reliable and affordable energy solutions. While their work may not always be visible, it is the results of their diligent work that provides service reliability that is highly appreciated across the cooperative’s membership.