The Operating Regulations for HV Systems (ORHVS) course will be held online and presented by Frank Hampton from 23 to 27 November.

Frank Hampton

By Frank Hampton, Technical Training Manager, MTW Investments

It was during my tenure as Operations Manager at Malaysian Switchgear Distributors that I realised there was a need for training, especially within the operating and switching of medium voltage switchgear.

My electrical career officially started in late 1981 at the SAR&H apprentice school situated in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, where I went on to qualify as an Electrician in 1984. I first became interested in the MV field when I moved to Randburg Electricity Department where I spent 14 years. It was here that I first encountered the process of switching/operating MV apparatus from both aspects, namely, the actual switching as an operator, and continuing to the planning and issuing of operating instructions as a control superintendent.

MV Switchgear

I was also involved with the manufacturing, testing, installation, and commissioning of MV switchgear when I later joined the company Hawker Siddeley Switchgear, based in Roodepoort. Both these companies played a pivotal role in gaining the necessary hands-on knowledge and experience, which I am now able to pass on to others. 

Malaysian Switchgear Distributors (part of the Diesel Electric Services group of companies) opened its doors on 1 June 2010, and this company was instrumental in my decision to become actively involved the field of training and assessment. After being accredited by EWSETA to present ‘Operate on MV Networks’ (unit standard 259204) in November 2014, a decision was taken to consolidate all the group’s training requirements under one umbrella and so MTW Investments was born. We received accreditation with EWSETA on 19 November 2014 and have continued training ever since.

This flagship course, Operate on MV Networks (U/S 259204), which consists of a theoretical and a practical component, was created to provide prospective operators with the necessary skills and    knowledge to safely carry out operations on MV networks.

Practical application

The advantage of this programme is the practical application where operation, safety testing, earthing and phasing can be safely simulated on different types of switchgear under the supervision of the assessor. This takes place in our practical training bay where the procedure and safety aspects are also assessed to ensure the learner has a sound foundation before undertaking any switching on site.

The dynamics of standby generation have evolved as the load requirements have been increased to accommodate not only critical loads, but non-essential loads as well. This has resulted in medium voltage generation or the stepping up of conventional 400 V generation, a viable option. This process can also be attributed to the introduction of load shedding        

This progression has resulted in a new set of challenges, as most electrical personnel are not,  firstly,  familiar with the MV systems and secondly, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that all personnel who operate within the MV spectrum must be deemed competent to do so. This was another reason for the development of the course which will assist in this requirement. 

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The aim of this training is also to assist FET colleges, where the lack of practical facilities has proved to be restrictive. We provide some real hands-on experience for young technicians who have a good theoretical background but lack the practical application thereof.

The five-day course, with a focus on indoor MV substations, consists of three days of theory, one day of practical training and one day of practical assessment.

Aspects covered in the course are:

  • Single line drawings                                                             
  • Ring and radial circuits
  • Plan and prepare to switch                                                                     
  • Switch/link/isolate apparatus
  • Safety testing and earthing of apparatus
  • Prepare apparatus for safe working conditions
  • Lock out procedures
  • Issue of work permits and risk assessments
  • Restoration of supply

ORHVS or HV Regs

The training centre also offers Operating Regulations for HV Systems (unit standard 242766) sometimes better known as ORHVS or HV Regs. This course is theoretical with no practical component and consists of 12 modules over five days. The emphasis is on the regulations pertaining to working and/or switching in HV/MV live chambers, prohibited and restricted areas and is an extension of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.     

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The COVID-19 pandemic has presented training companies with many challenges, but one positive outcome is the increase in online training, and MTW has reconfigured some courses for the online market. ORHVS is easily adapted as there is no practical aspect, therefore the entire course is presented online. However, Operate on MV Networks is more of a challenge as the practical application and assessment would still have to be conducted in the practical training bay.

At the current COVID-19 Alert Level 1, it is possible to conduct both forms of training with a limited number of students.

Two courses are planned in October and November:

The Operating on Medium Voltage Networks (Switching) course was held from 19 to 23 October 2020 and was presented by Frank Hampton. The theory was done at the ECA(SA) Meadowdale and the practical module was presented at the MTW Training Centre

The Operating Regulations for HV Systems (ORHVS) course will be held online and presented by Frank Hampton from 23 to 27 November.

For more information or to book for the upcoming courses, contact your local ECA regional office.

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