FERC FIVES – Marc Anderson
FERC FIVES – Marc Anderson
Five questions that help us get to know employees within and that support the FERC Jurisdiction
Marc Anderson began his National Grid career in 1987 in operations maintenance at the substations in New England. He transitioned to the Control Room in 1993, working in transmission and distribution at various times. He’s been a manager there for almost six years.
Marc shares his thoughts on the job he does along with his team.
Describe your role at National Grid. What comprises a typical day?
We have two main functions – the first, “switching and tagging,” is the process for taking lines and equipment out of service so crews can perform their work safely. The second involves ensuring there is always enough transmission capacity available to deliver power in the event of an emergency, such as an unplanned service interruption on a major transmission line, or if a power plant unexpectedly goes offline. We continually run “real-time” models that simulate different scenarios that could potentially occur, and create response plans to deal with them. Luckily these emergencies don’t happen very often, but we always have to be prepared and ready to respond.
We also prepare for long-range maintenance or construction projects that require transmission lines be taken out of service. We coordinate closely with ISO New England and neighboring utilities to make sure adequate transmission capacity is always available. Multiple studies are conducted right up to within minutes of when the line will be taken out of service to make sure nothing has changed. In major areas like Boston we have to take extra precautions regarding unexpected events and be able to anticipate the worst-case scenario that could happen when the line is out of service, and, if that happens, what is the next thing that could happen? We then must prepare response plans to cover both situations.
What changes have you seen in the New England power grid since you started working in the control room?
The control rooms themselves have changed. When I started there were three Distribution rooms and one for Transmission. Now there is one transmission room and one distribution room in New England. There’s been more work on the system in the past 10 years than there was in the 30 years prior, consisting of upgrades and improvements to the transmission grid, and it looks like that trend is going to continue. For the control room this means more coordination, more switching.
What do you like best about your job?
I love storms, putting the power back…the challenge. No two are the same. There’s a level of satisfaction after getting the job done, getting power back on for customers. I was told once “you’re not the one putting the power out; you’re the one putting the power back on.”
What do you do for fun outside of your work at National Grid?
Play a lot of golf. I had an eight handicap this year. We took a trip out to Washington and Idaho and played some great courses. I was able to play on a “floating green” this year. It’s accessible only by boat. We saw a scuba diver collecting some of the thousands of balls that didn’t stay on the green.
Who would make up his ideal golf foursome: “Jack Nicklaus, Jordon Spieth, and Arnold Palmer.”
Along with his three sons and three grandchildren he also enjoys family vacations during the summer in Vermont.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
One of my old bosses used to say “If it was easy they wouldn’t need us!” That’s always stuck with me.