Faces of Texas Public Power: Melissa Saddler, Lubbock Power & Light
Melissa Saddler, Energy Management Systems Administrator, Lubbock Power & Light (LP&L)
As the third largest municipally owned electric utility in Texas, getting power to every customer takes more than meets the eye. Lubbock Power & Light’s system includes over 107,000 meters, 4,936 miles of power lines, three power plants and 38 substations.
Overseeing the many operational, technical, and physical assets of a utility takes the right technology and skilled operators. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a key management tool. It is a computer system that monitors, gathers and processes data from across the LP&L system in real time. SCADA allows operators to easily monitor for any interruptions in the city’s electrical grid. Without it, pinpointing the cause of a service interruption would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
SCADA Administrator and native Lubbockite Melissa Saddler has been involved with the SCADA system for over 27 years.
“When I first started as an operator, I loved the quick pace, problem solving and analytical aspects of the position,” said Saddler. “I began volunteering to help the administrators and used every opportunity to learn about the system. Eventually, I transitioned over to the administration side of SCADA.”
SCADA is monitored on a continuous basis in order to spot trouble early on, whether it’s identifying power outages during a storm or managing peak energy demands in the summer. SCADA allows LP&L to safely, rapidly and efficiently restore and stabilize systems.
“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes during an outage,” said Saddler. “Customers can see a high-level view of any outages on the outage map, which automatically updates each time an activity happens.”
Because outages don’t follow a 9-5 workday, Saddler and one other administrator are both on call 24/7 for the SCADA system and outage support.
“Our Operations Department is made up of about 30 people,” said Saddler. “Technology is always changing, so we’re routinely attending workshops and trainings to ensure we’re doing the best possible job for our customers.”
As one of the leaders at LP&L, Saddler says this job “chose me,” and encourages others to not hesitate to go after what they’re passionate in.
“I feel that by being confident, self-assured and an expert in your job, you can be successful in any field. Be a person of value and be a leader, and that’s what should stand out.”
TPPA salutes Melissa Saddler for her outstanding commitment and inspirational work in public power.
TPPA’s “Faces of Texas Public Power” highlights employees in the hard-working, dedicated public power workforce and community. Thanks to Lubbock Power & Light for submitting this column. TPPA welcomes submissions of member employees for future columns.