A day in the life… with John Kent, Mobile Electrician

20th September 2022

John’s career as an electrician has taken him from France to the Netherlands, gathering plenty of industrial experience along the way. But when he started working at Selwood, around 14 months ago, it’s the “camaraderie and can-do attitude” that makes his role here different from the rest.

“Every day is different and fast paced. If we’re in the depot, we’re working on equipment that’s been out to hire and we check it over to sure it’s not damaged. These are called post-hire checks.

“When a pump is being prepared to go out, we do a pre-hire, checking all the circuitry and making sure everything is working correctly so it goes out to site in tip top condition.”

Electrical installations

When John’s not in the depot, he’s out on site, which could be for a planned job or an emergency.

“Generally, the site has been surveyed before I get there, and the team know how many pumps are going to be needed and equipment that goes with them. Typically, we have a pump and panel that controls it called a VSD, as well as generators that supply the electricity. They will be delivered to site – one running as a duty and one will be the standby if the duty fails.

“The generators will run into a distribution board (DB) panel, where the power will feed into our VSD’s. We will wire the pump into this. We then have a telemetry system with an ultrasonic panel which measures the level of the water, telling the pump when to turn on and off.

“The system has a SIM card and GSM unit, which sends an alert via phone call, if there is a fault or warning. This provides early warning to prevent failure, breakdown or flooding. The team will receive a call, and someone can come out to look at the problem.”

This is a challenging part of John’s role as an electrician, especially if the “customer asks to connect up to their own telemetry. We’ll need to sit down and do a CAD drawing to make sure it’s connected correctly.”

Pumps and PLC units

MCC containers, however, can make the life of an electrician easier and enable John to complete a job in double quick time, which means less disruption for the customer and an improved service.

“If an MCC container is available and fits the space requirements of the job, we’ll use it” says John. “These units are containers where all the equipment that we would normally have to install separately is pre-installed into it. All we need to do is connect the pump to it, connect the power and switch it on!”

“In October I completed a job at a treatment works, with the help of the team, that took us four days. On a job with similar requirements last month, we installed an MCC container and completed and commissions in a day.”

“An MCC container isn’t always suited to the job, especially if there isn’t much space where the pump is needed.”

Working as a team

As a Mobile Electrician, John often works on his own, but says “we’re still very much a team”.

“Across the depots, we (electricians) all know each other and work well together. If I’ve got heavy cables to move, or if a job is taking longer than expected, which might be because of a delay with deliveries, I’ll call the guys and they’ll help – and vice versa.”

“When you go out to an install, everyone’s goal is the same, so I’ll help the installations team out and they’ll help me!”

Back to the blog