In UPM Energy business area, one of nerve centres of electricity production is the control room in Tampere where a team of six monitors UPM's eight hydropower plants as well as ten other plants. One team member is always on duty.
Situations change constantly
Both Teemu Kerttula and Miika Tuovinen think that one of the best things in three-shift work is its versatility.
"The electricity market is in constant flux and water situation changes all the time in waterways, so we need to keep an eye on many things at the same time. Sometimes it is really busy, there's plenty to do even during the slowest night shifts," says Tuovinen.
The job is characterized by mainly working alone, constantly changing situations, and close contacts with the hydropower plants and factories. People who can withstand pressure, multitask, and express themselves clearly do best in the control room.
They also need to be exact. Making the wrong decision in the control room can lead to losses in the electricity market, broken equipment, or even injuries."If, for example, there is a maintenance dive going on at a power plant, raisin a generator's power could even endanger the diver's life," team leader Kerttula underlines.
Lights on, floods in check
In practice, work in the control room would not look very exciting to an outsider – a team member and a lot of blinking displays.
The team follows the electricity market, hydropower plants and permit conditions as well as production and consumption forecasts. Situations that change all the time require quick responses and decision making that can have a big impact.
Hydropower plants are an excellent way of increasing electricity production quickly, if it is necessary, for example, because of a major disruption.