In the 24 years he’s been on the job, PEC Control Center Operator Armando “Mando” Trevino has seen a lot of change. But one thing’s been consistent: his passion for taking care of people.
“My favorite part of the job is working with the people,” Trevino said. “It’s always been embedded in me to make sure people are happy.”
If PEC’s power lines are its nerves, the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system in the Control Center is its brain. From this darkened room at PEC’s headquarters, Trevino and his fellow operators tirelessly monitor an electrical system that sprawls across 8,100 square miles of the Texas Hill Country. They see every power fluctuation in every line and breaker in PEC’s system and take action — making calls, contacting crews and remotely operating electrical equipment — to make sure your power is as reliable as possible and that everyone working on the system stays safe.
“We’re always in communication,” Trevino said. “It’s a matter of safety. Contractors or PEC linemen will call us and say where they’re working. We’ll make sure they’re protected by the right device.”
The Control Center is a 24/7/365 operation, and the Control Center Operations staff works rotating, 12-hour shifts. There are no holidays, Trevino said, when it comes to monitoring and operating PEC’s sprawling electrical system.
“The most challenging part is probably working storms,” Trevino said. “We’re thinking about linemen working on the lines and keeping them safe, how many people are out of power, what devices do we have open and what we need to address.”
Even on quieter days, the Control Center is integral to maintaining our system’s reliability: By identifying equipment that repeatedly triggers alarms, Trevino and his team help prevent potential issues and outages.
It’s a job that rewards focus, Trevino said, and also teamwork, knowledge of the system and the ability to multitask. Driving him, too, is a genuine love of the work.
“I’ve been doing this for 24 years, and I could do it for another 20,” Trevino said. “I’ll stay here until they kick me out of the room.”