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BWL's Test Group in Action


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Restoring power and maintaining our distribution takes maintenance and testing. However, it starts with protection ahead of time - one of the most vital pieces to getting the lights back on. With six journey workers and two apprentices in BWL’s Electric Test Group division, they’re continuously testing our transmission and distribution system to ensure we’re supplying safe, reliable power to the Lansing area.   

Electric Test Group is made up of System Protection Technicians who test our substations and generation facilities to ensure they are up to date to provide reliable and safe power and are NERC (North America Electric Reliability Corporation) compliant. Not only are they the first call when there are outages in our service territory, but they’re always on standby for emergencies. When power goes out, a system protection technician will go to the jobsite first to inspect, test and uncover what’s causing the outage.   

Every five years, Test Group reviews, assesses, checks and provides maintenance testing to every substation and facility that BWL owns. After performing the testing, they store the data to review when we need it. On top of making this rotation, the team is also regularly testing and providing maintenance to transformers and breakers complying with NERC compliance standards to ensure they’re working properly. They’re routinely studying and making sure they’re prepared for audits and that everything in our distribution system is current.   

A large project that Test Group is currently working on is the GM Ultium plant. Most of us know we’ll supply the power to the plant, but our Test Group team is the one ensuring that everything is commissioned properly, up to NERC standards, safe and that the data is accurate before energizing anything.  

On top of all of this, they’re also staying up to date with new technology rolling out. As we prepare for the new battery storage and RICE engines at Delta Energy Park, their team is paying close attention to the details to test and receive data to make sure the BWL is providing reliable power.   

“Our team is a hard-working bunch – they're always up for a challenge and they make work more enjoyable every day,” says Alain Kone, Supervisor of Electric Test Group.   

We rely heavily on our Test Group Department – whether that be commissioning substations, providing maintenance to our distribution system, or continuously learning new ways to test. They’re a large portion of how BWL is able to grow and deliver reliable energy.