Wetteraukreis The network control center of Ovag near Friedberg is not only the centerpiece, but also the linchpin of the supply of electricity and water. Even in corona times, Ovag ensures supplies around the clock. The networks must be controlled and monitored to ensure the supply and to be able to react quickly in the event of any malfunctions.
Where normally the colleagues who watch the electricity and water network work in a large room with lots of screens, a lot is currently not as usual. Ovag has developed a concept to do what can be done and what is possible so that operations in the Wetterau, in the Giessen region and in the Vogelsberg district as well as in particular in the region’s hospitals are ensured.
“Ovag has currently put its redundant second control center into operation,” explains Christian Weber, head of network management. This means that some of the network operators had to leave their traditional workplace and move into a separate building with another control center. “This is how we ensure that the control center employees have been separated and that they have no contact with the other colleagues. There are four network operators for electricity and water, in teams of two people who no longer meet in person Shift changes and all other meetings take place by telephone. A dedicated telephone line connects the two control centers and is used when needed. Nobody except the network operators is currently allowed in, not even the cleaning staff, “explains Weber.
It is clear that there have been no tours and visits for almost a month, and external service providers are currently not coming into the building. “Since nobody is immune from becoming infected and may then fail as a worker, we also have a concept for this,” says Christian Weber. If several employees fail, the others have to change from a three-shift operation to a two-shift operation of twelve hours a day.
Minimizing the risk of infection is essential. Because there are things that are not possible, for example employing untrained and inexperienced personnel. Because a network operator needs special training, even if he has previous knowledge. Simply assigning someone else to this workplace is not possible. It is almost impossible to get outside staff because all energy and utilities are currently in the same situation. It is also not possible for employees of the network control center to work in the home office because the security requirements in the area of network management are very high and require presence in the network control center.
The on-call duty for the control center is also divided between the two control centers. If necessary, network operator and on-call staff work together on a fault and are not in the same room. There is an increased need for coordination there, “This form of organization already passed its baptism of fire at the first disruption,” reports Weber.
“We want to reduce the risk that all or most of the network operators and on-call service fail, to a minimum. But even if it gets this far, those who are the least sick will still work here. We will become the network control center for the Do not leave Ovag and their on-call service vacant, “promises Christian Weber.