A Message from Meera

Posted: January 20, 2020

December 2019

Cellular phones are changing our lives – at home and at work.Today there are 2.7 billion cellphones in use worldwide – most being smart phones with capabilities greater than the largest super computers of forty years ago. They have revolutionized our lives and AVEC work has also been dramatically changed in many ways as shown below. An AVEC technician is working in a village when a generator goes down unexpectedly. He takes a look at the generator, a type he has not worked on before. He calls in to report the outage and requests troubleshooting advice.

Soon he has the generator partially disassembled and, based on the latest troubleshooting text received, suspects one of the rotating diodes is bad. He takes a picture of the wiring and texts the readings to the office. He receives confirmation that the diode is indeed bad and is instructed to look for a replacement at the power plant. He finds several, sends a picture of them and receives a text telling him which one to use and how to test it. He installs it, restores the generator to full availability, informs the office of the resolution and returns to his original job.

Three years ago, two wind technicians found themselves stranded on top of a wind tower that was on fire below. They used their cellphones to notify the City and the home office. The fire was extinguished within an hour and they were able to descend safely with help from the first responders. These are examples of the value and flexibility that cellphones bring. Our technicians know they have back-up support in their pockets. Safety is improved. They can take pictures when necessary to accurately inform the office of what they see so that they and support staff can be on the same page.Text messaging allows conversations in noisy power plants and enables more detailed information to be exchanged. Technicians can receive factory documentation and pictures whenever needed, with no interruptions to their work.

When AVEC first started providing electric service, phone service was a luxury. Making a phone call required waiting in line for the only phone in the village, usually at the City. Finding a technician in the field to send him to an emergency elsewhere required the cooperation of others in the community to track him down. VHF and CB radios were used – and often still are. Satellite communications have changed the way we all do business and the value today of having a cellphone in your pocket is hard to overstate. So if that teenager has a new cellphone on their Christmas list, maybe that’s not such a bad idea.

From all of us at AVEC, jave a safe and happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year!