Van Buren Schools students visit Hancock-Wood Electric
NORTH BALTIMORE, OHIO–January 29, 2016 – Last week, nearly 100 eighth grade students from Van Buren Schools learned the ins-and-outs of the electric co-op world when they toured Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative corporate offices in North Baltimore, Ohio. The staff at Hancock-Wood, including President and CEO George Walton, was excited to share the technology that has kept Member lights on for more than 75 years in northwest Ohio.
Walton said, “Giving these students an inside look at our member services along with IT, Communications, Engineering and Operations functions provides them with a better understanding of how an electric utility works. We emphasize how important their schooling is and what life benefits they could achieve by furthering their education – they might just become our employees one day!”
Walton spoke about the many disciplines of education each department head and employees received to attain the positions they hold at Hancock-Wood.
Students toured the offices and warehouses and even visited the “War Room,” from where operations personnel are dispatched when an outage is reported. Bill Barnhart, vice president of engineering and operations, and Andy Fisher, engineering supervisor, conducted a mock outage so students could see the steps taken in restoring power as quickly as possible. Often, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), advanced technological communications equipment, is utilized to “back feed” power from an alternate substation to the point of delivery.
Josh Soltis, a network support technician, shared with the students the information technology (IT) secure server room, where computer technology systems are stored. Soltis explained to the students how the servers work and how they are climate and security protected.
Ryan Goolsby, distribution engineer, shared technology on the re-closer devices the engineering department uses to help reduce outage time. Goolsby said, “This (technology) can automatically eliminate disruptions caused by tree branches or squirrels without crews being dispatched to the scene.”
Students were especially excited to have a chance to control larger equipment, such as the power auger which is used by the line crew to drill holes or place poles in areas not accessible to a service truck.
Hancock-Wood Electric Cooperative, established April 20, 1938, serves more than 13,000 accounts in Hancock, Wood, Allen, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca and Wyandot counties. Throughout the cooperative’s history, HWEC has delivered reliable, affordable services and supported energy efficiency along with educational and charitable causes to make a positive impact within the communities it serves.
For more information, visit the HWE web site at www.hwe.coop or call 800-445-4840.