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Local Lines Company to be Represented on International Stage

Unison Networks’ Asset Intelligence Specialist, Dr Thahirah Jalal, is heading to Tokyo tomorrow, to represent New Zealand at the premier international general meeting for upcoming young engineers and engineering managers working in the field of Electro-technology.

Dr Jalal, who won the prestigious New Zealand Electricity Engineers Association (EEA) Young Engineer Award earlier this year, was selected to attend the three-day International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) Young Professionals Programme, as part of the prize. 

Unison Group Chief Executive, Ken Sutherland, said the trip was a fantastic opportunity for Dr Jalal, and for Unison.

“Thahirah continues to play an instrumental part in Unison’s smart network vision, specifically around the development of algorithms to enhance the lifecycle asset management of power transformers.

“The trip to Tokyo will provide a platform for Thahirah to connect with electricity experts from around the world, especially those who are on a similar journey to us in working to achieve a ‘smart’ future.”

Five years ago Unison embarked on a journey to establish an industry-leading smart network with the aim of improving network performance, reducing the number of outages and reducing costs for customers. New technology has been installed across the network to facilitate such benefits including smart switches, sensors and communications equipment.

“Thahirah and the team she is part of are tasked with taking the avalanche of data provided by these new smart assets and translating it into information and knowledge.

“To get the most out of the smart network we need the assets to talk to us, to let us know when things aren’t right, and to tell us what needs doing.”

Dr Jalal has been in charge of an initiative developing smart algorithms for power transformers, one of Unison’s most critical assets.

“The algorithms I am developing use the data provided by sensors, and will allow Unison to optimise the utilisation of power transformers in a safe manner which ultimately means better performance, less power cuts for consumers and lower costs,” said Dr Jalal.

“There are other electricity distribution companies working on similar strategies, so it will be great to be able to gain insight into how they are going about it, and the learnings they have discovered so far.”

Currently, there is no software in existence, anywhere in the world, which provides the solutions Unison is working towards and, while other companies are also investigating smart technologies like this, in many cases this is being done through external consultants.

Mr Sutherland said Thahirah’s achievements along with the ground-breaking work she is involved in, is a testament to the high calibre of people working for Unison.

“It is fantastic, as a local Company in the provinces of New Zealand, to be attracting such high talent, and to be stacking up against industry giants from across the globe.”

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