Doble: Ensuring Safe and Reliable Power for Nearly a Century

NETA World StaffCorporate Alliance Corner, Spring 2020 CAP Corner

NETA Corporate Alliance Partners (CAPs) are a group of industry-leading companies that have joined forces with NETA to work together toward a common aim: improving quality, safety, and electrical system reliability.

In our CAP Spotlight series, we look at what makes CAPs special and highlight some of their successes. In this issue, NETA World interviews Alex Salinas, Doble’s Director of Vanguard Operations.

NW:  What do people think when they hear Doble?

Salinas: Doble has historically been associated with transformer testing — but that’s certainly not all we do. The depth and breadth of our solutions and expertise address the full range of utilities’ needs: diagnostics and software for testing electrical apparatus and protective relays; data management, integration and analysis capabilities; security and NERC compliance consulting; and more.

For over 100 years, Doble has been a market leader, partnering with electric power companies to minimize risk, improve operations, and optimize system performance. Our clients count on us to keep the lights on, regardless of the threats or issues they encounter. Although our products and services continue to evolve, Doble’s mission to help ensure all people have reliable, safe, and secure energy hasn’t wavered.

NW:  Which recent company achievement or milestone are you particularly proud of?

Salinas: Doble’s acquisitions of Morgan Schaffer and Vanguard Instruments are both milestones that stand out because these additions to the Doble family significantly enhance our portfolio and value offering for clients. Morgan Schaffer, a leader in dissolved gas analysis, and Vanguard, with its wide range of testing instruments, complement each other very well and bring in new, deeper expertise and capabilities for on-line and off-line testing.

Morgan Schaffer’s Calisto product line for
on-line transformer DGA monitoring is a natural complement to Doble’s existing suite of on-line software and hardware solutions. Vanguard expands Doble’s extra-high-voltage (EHV) and transformer testing portfolio with winding turns-ratio testers, mega-ohm meters, circuit breaker testers, and more.

Beyond the technology, the highly regarded reputations and cultures of these companies have integrated seamlessly with Doble’s, and we’ve achieved greater results than we ever expected. We’re consistently looking for new ways to meet utilities’ varied needs, and the acquisitions of Morgan Schaffer and Vanguard are great examples of that commitment.

NW:  What makes Doble stand out?

Salinas: Our global footprint is a key differentiator. Our diverse culture equips us to better serve our clients. We can apply this experience to help utilities world-wide address their unique challenges, as each country has its own environmental, regulatory, equipment shipping, and infrastructure concerns.

Although Doble has always had a presence in other markets, our partners, sister companies, and subsidiaries have really enabled us to deliver the level of local, on-the-ground support and logistical expertise needed to help our clients across the world thrive.

NW:  What challenges do you see going forward for the industry?

Salinas: The past decade has arguably introduced more change than any other. Companies need to set themselves up to continue to adapt quickly, as the pace of change is only going to accelerate. As the power industry digitally transforms and smart grids and microgrids become even more common, utilities need to master data management and understand the foundational role it plays in enabling these concepts to take off and be successful.

Having been around for over a century, power companies aren’t traditionally equipped to manage the high volumes of data now required in today’s digitally enabled world, but data management is quickly becoming a primary responsibility. Utilities need to integrate solutions and processes that enable them to quickly receive and analyze large amounts of data. This is the key to managing assets effectively and making informed, real-time decisions around health, maintenance, and more.

NW:  What evolution do you see on the horizon that will have a positive impact on your work?

Salinas: As the industry transforms digitally, power companies are beginning to fully understand the criticality of cyber protection. As NERC and FERC continue to introduce new regulations, companies will be required to update their systems for better defense against the growing sophistication of modern cyber threats.

Taking advantage of automation and technology can help utilities through this transformative time because it lowers the risk of intrusion through around-the-clock system monitoring and reduces the potential operational and financial impact of breaches. Technology can also free up engineers’ time to focus on more value-add tasks like developing holistic and enterprise-wide cyber defense strategies. Making an investment in the right tools and capabilities today promises an even larger payout tomorrow.

In our digital world, the availability of data from numerous sources poses a growing number of challenges in terms of understanding, managing, integrating, and using the data. The goal is to obtain the value this data makes available.