Keeping a keen eye on underground networks

With many different types of cables installed beneath the roads, it sure takes a keen eye to identify, divert and renew the power cables owned by SP Group. Mohamed Faisal, an Executive Engineer from Projects at SP PowerGrid, is trained to do so.

The 29-year-old is responsible for laying new 66kV underground electrical cables. Some require diversion to prevent obstruction while others beyond their useful life of 30 to 35 years have to be renewed. Faisal has to work closely with the authorities and key customers to lay cables within areas under their purview.

Once, Faisal had to find a suitable location to lay the cables as there were deeply rooted trees that were causing obstruction to the cable alignment. Faisal worked closely with NParks to find a suitable place to lay the cables. Both parties work towards the common goal of maintaining the nation’s power network infrastructure.

He said, “Managing people and project timelines comes with some pressure but I find it fulfilling. Seeing the projects through and ‘come to life’ keeps me going.”

Faisal conducting a routine cable drum inspection at a storage site in Singapore. These cable drums need to be inspected for any damages that may arise during shipment. After inspection, they are transported to work sites for cable laying works.

Describing himself as ““Agile” and “Adventurous”, it is easy to understand why this budding engineer has chosen to navigate his career in the energy sector.

Faisal’s father is an engineer too. In his younger days, Faisal would tag along with his father during his school break to learn about building services such as electrical, air-conditioning, lighting and mechanical ventilation. His father has shaped Faisal’s love for electrical engineering over the years. Faisal’s younger brother, a former intern with SP PowerGrid in 2019, is also inspired to follow his footsteps to become an Electrical Engineer.

Faisal (in yellow) witnessing a pre-commissioning test
conducted by the Professional Engineer and his testing team at the end of the
cable installation project. This test is integral in ensuring the health of new
or diverted cables before they are connected to the national power grid.

Beyond his core engineering work, the Engineering Development for GraduatEs (EDGE) engineer is also an app creator. With his natural engineering instincts to “fix stuff”, Faisal did not hesitate to roll up his sleeves when he noticed some gaps at work. He said, “The daily reporting process at work was manual and it took up a lot of administrative time. I was keen on creating a system to improve everyone’s productivity and make their work easier! I learnt how to create an app in three months by watching online tutorials, YouTube videos and reading forum comments. The app was first implemented in my section before it got rolled out to the entire branch after the idea took flight in the annual productivity workshop at SPPG. It is so encouraging to see that the app is now used by all SPPG staff. Now, it pushes me to create better apps!”

Faisal overseeing the process of trench excavation for
one of his diversion cables. Trench excavation poses challenges to contractors
such as working near existing services, working in confined spaces etc. Faisal
ensures that workers are always safe during trench excavation process. 

To Faisal, he finds meaning in doing his part for the nation. Beaming with pride, he said, “Everyone depends on us for their power needs. It is important to provide high quality of life for all customers as it keeps them safe and secure. I have many engineering friends who are keen to join SP. It’s really not the traditional utilities company you used to know. Beyond upholding reliability, we are now driving sustainability in and beyond Singapore!”

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