SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

Occupational Certificate: Electrical Substation Operations Technician (Power System Controller) 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
96462  Occupational Certificate: Electrical Substation Operations Technician (Power System Controller) 
ORIGINATOR
DQP - Eskom Academy of Learning 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
Occupational Certificate  Field 12 - Physical Planning and Construction  Physical Planning, Design and Management 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  256  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-ELOAC 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Registered  SAQA 02108/15  2015-07-30  2018-07-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2019-07-30   2022-07-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:
The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to:
Maintain the safety, security and stability of an electrical power system within a specified geographical area by controlling conditions and coordinating operations and events.
A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Control the stability of the power distribution networks for a demarcated area through operational controls and instructions.
  • Analyse Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) information, identify and respond to issues and distribute system information to key receivers.
  • Manage power outages on a specific grid to ensure safety of personnel and equipment, and continuity of supply.

    Rationale:
    Power System Controllers play an essential role in the management and control of the country's power network. Their primary function is to maintain the safety, security and stability of the electrical power system within a specified geographical area by monitoring and controlling conditions and co-ordinating operations and events related to electrical transmission and distribution systems.
    Learners will typically be people who have qualified in electrical trades and have worked in electrical sub-stations. However, school leavers, Further Education and Training College and University of Technology graduates may also be trained as Power System Controllers if they are given sufficient exposure to the functioning of, and activities related to, electrical sub-stations.
    Qualifying learners will be employed by electrical power distribution utilities such as Eskom, municipalities and large industrial power users to manage and control the electrical power grid to allow construction, maintenance or repair work to take place and to restore and stabilise power networks in response to power outages.
    Customers of electrical power networks will benefit by having power restored efficiently during periods when the electrical network is subject to constraints arising from events such as equipment failure, lightning, weather conditions, fire, theft or vandalism.
    Without competent Power System Controllers the country's power system would be less safe and power outages would be more frequent and would last longer. This capacity is particularly critical during periods when the electrical network is subject to a number of constraints. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    RPL for access to the integrated assessment:
    Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and conform prior learning. Prior learning must be acknowledged by a statement of results.
    RPL for access to the qualification:
    Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
  • NQF Level 4 with Mathematics and Science. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge and Practical Skill Modules:

    Knowledge Modules:
  • Power System Technology, at NQF Level 5, 45 Credits.
  • Power System Protection, at NQF Level 5, 10 Credits.
  • Legislation and Regulations for Power Systems, at NQF Level 4, 25 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 80.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • Maintain system voltage stability, load stability and capacity, control the operations of equipment and respond to system changes, at NQF Level 5, 48 Credits.
  • Evaluate and record real time data on SCADA systems, identify and respond to faults and abnormalities, and communicate with and report to key receivers, at NQF Level 4, 21 Credits.
  • Evaluate what outage entails, co-ordinate and execute outages or restoration plans and continuously maintain system stability, at NQF Level 5, 11 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 80.

    This qualification also requires the following compulsory Work Experience Modules:
  • Power system management centres, NQF Level 5, 48 Credits.
  • SCADA systems, at NQF Level 4, 32 Credits.
  • Planned and unplanned power outages, at NQF Level 5, 16 Credits.
    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 96. 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1 .Demonstrate understanding of power systems, network control and the regulatory environment required to perform network control operations.
    2. Demonstrate understanding of how stability, security and safety is achieved on a typical power system.
    3. Demonstrate understanding of the power system controller's role within a control centre.
    4. Control the stability of the power distribution network for a demarcated area through operational controls and instructions. 

    ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Explanations and discussions demonstrate understanding of how legislation applicable to power generation impacts on network control operations.
  • Descriptions and explanations demonstrate understanding of how Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) information is analysed and issues are identified and responded to.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Descriptions and explanations demonstrate understanding of the principles and methods of controlling conditions and co-ordinating operations and events on a power system.
  • Descriptions and explanations demonstrate understanding of the principles and methods of managing outages so as to ensure safety of personnel and equipment and continuity of supply.
  • Power system calculations are performed as required in the normal working situation to identify power flow magnitude for single and three phase circuits.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Explanations and discussions relate the principles and concepts of network control to typical situations within the control room environment.
  • Descriptions and discussions of strategies, options and choices are in terms of best network control practice.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • A real-time power system is controlled according to organisational standards for a period of one complete shift.
  • Operations are performed consistently and confidently and without hesitation and undue delays.
  • Communication with field staff is clear, provides the relevant instructions succinctly and follows the regulatory protocol.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the exit level outcomes and associated assessment criteria.
    The external assessment will be conducted through a combination of a written assessment of at least three hours and an on-the-job evaluation of one complete shift by a registered assessor, at an approved workplace site. The written examination will be conducted at an approved assessment site and marked by a registered assessor. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    The most comprehensive qualification in this field that could be found to benchmark against was the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Electrical Transmission Systems Technology offered by Bismarck State College in the USA. This qualification represents best practice. Its development was commissioned by the US Department of Energy in response to industry demand for qualified System Operators. This Associate Degree runs over 3 semesters and can be completed via online learning. Running parallel with the Associate Degree is the mandatory practical workplace training that operators have to complete with a final certification examination as set by the North American Reliability Council (NERC), before they are deemed certified and allowed to perform operational functions at relevant electrical utilities within the USA.

    Similarities:
    Throughout the development of the South African qualification the focus was on local industry's educational, training and regulatory requirements, resulting in a well-rounded curriculum that has very similar content, scope and duration to the world best practice found during research.

    Content:
    The knowledge subjects for the qualification are Power System Technology NQF Level 5, Power System Protection at NQF Level 5, and Legislation and Regulations for Power Systems at NQF Level 4. A detailed comparison between the subjects in this qualification and the international example shows a fairly direct correspondence, even though the terminology differs slightly. The only significant difference is that the South African qualification does not include a separate mathematics subject. The required calculations are built into the knowledge component and the practical skills where required.

    Scope:
    The main function of an Electrical System Operator in the USA is the operation and control of a city's electrical system using the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition/Energy Management System (SCADA/EMS).
    The main function of a Power System Controller in South Africa is to maintain the safety, security and stability of an electrical power system within a specified geographical area by monitoring and controlling conditions and coordinating operations and events.

    Duration:
    The Associate Degree in Applied Science in Electrical Transmission Systems Technology offered by Bismarck State College runs over two years and includes other general subjects in order to make up the credits required for the full qualification.
    The Electrical Substation Operations Technician (Power System Controller) qualification as developed would have a minimum duration of 72 weeks that includes the theoretical, practical and work experience components. With this qualification it is assumed that a person completing the curriculum and successfully completing the external assessment would be competent to perform the daily duties of a Power System Controller.

    Differences:
    The main differences between the two qualifications are firstly the level, and secondly the national certification examination.
    The Electrical Substation Operations Technician (Power System Controller) qualification has been pitched at entry level controller staff. It supports natural progression and facilitates entry into the occupation via electrical trades, FET College or Matric. Promotion within the occupation will then be to Senior Power System Controller at N5 level and Shift Supervisor at N6 or National Diploma level with relevant years of control experience.
    The national certification required by US utilities has been initiated by the National Energy Reliability Council (NERC) to ensure that all Power System Operators/Controllers know and understand the application of national standards related to power systems and emergencies and does not form part of the Associate Degree. In South Africa, certification is outside the scope of the qualification itself, and this needs to be taken up with the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) which also has published national standards to regulate the electrical industry and more specifically the control thereof. Thus as a separate initiative after registration of the Electrical Substation Operations Technician (Power System Controller) qualification, a position paper will be lodged with NERSA proposing a national certification examination and a 3 yearly recertification examination. 

    ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    This qualification can articulate vertically with the following qualifications currently being developed:
  • Occupational Certificate: Power Plant Electrical Reticulation Controller.
  • Occupational Certificate: Hydro Power Plant Process Controller.
  • Occupational Certificate: Fossil Power Plant Process Controller.
  • Occupational Certificate: Nuclear Power Plant Process Controller. 

  • MODERATION OPTIONS 
    N/A 

    CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    N/A 

    NOTES 
    N/A 

    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.