By Paul Hughes
Southern California Edison
Behind a secured door and down a series of hallways, Alex Cabrera and Katherine Won sit at computers, often with multiple monitors above, and work with “bleeding edge” technology.
The SCE energy operations specialists are at the forefront of power procurement and are now gearing up for big changes set to occur on January 31, 2008. That’s when the Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade, perhaps better known as MRTU, goes into effect.
Between now and then, Cabrera and Won will take part in market simulations, practicing new steps to be involved in procuring energy from the state grid overseen by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO). They are part of a group that is responsible for determining the next-day power needs of SCE ratepayers.
With a new application from CAISO called SIBR (Scheduling Infrastructure and Business Rules), and SCE’s own newly launched program, known as PCI, Cabrera and Won are among the first to use the new software. In the coming weeks they will input data, project electrical loads, and make sure everything works as it should by January 31, 2008.
Because the programs are new, there is much that is still to be learned, Cabrera said. “Katherine and I are on the front line with this new software and so far there is no well designed manual and our help line is limited to some of the software testers.”
“We’re trying to find where the errors are in the system,” said Won, a six-year SCE employee who earned a bachelor’s in comparative literature from the University of California, Irvine.