Lim Kai Herng maintains the electrical distribution network in Singapore in his role as Executive Engineer at SP Group. He is an SP Mid-Term Scholarship recipient and he holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic Engineering) from Nanyang Technological University.
Behind Singapore's reliable electricity and gas supply is a dedicated team of engineers at SP Group (SP), who maintains Singapore's world-class electricity and gas transmission and distribution infrastructure. The organisation is one our largest corporations, with more than 1.6 million industrial, commercial and residential customers. The power used to light up your home, charge your mobile phone and keep your server running, is delivered by SP.
To Executive Engineer Lim Kai Herng, there is a huge sense of pride in upholding the reliability of the network. The 27-year-old from SP leads and manages a team of technical officers and technicians to maintain high-voltage equipment and power cables and renew ageing equipment.
The SP Mid-Term Scholarship recipient shared with us his roles, responsibilities and aspirations at SP.
How did you get interested in engineering in the power sector?
I have been intrigued by science and technology from a tender age. However, I only realised in secondary school that one of the applications of sciences is engineering. I went on to develop my interest in understanding how engineering is applied to improve our lives, such as in everyday conveniences like electricity, transportation and infrastructures.
Out of all the scholarships that you were considering, why did you choose to apply to SP?
SP is the sole custodian and operator of electricity and gas transmission and distribution in Singapore. For electrical engineering undergraduates like me, there is no better place to be able to put into practice what I've acquired in school than at the heart of the system in SP. For many budding electrical engineers, we know that SP is synonymous with Power Engineering! There is also a sense of pride knowing that your work is responsible for the reliable power supply to all residents and businesses in Singapore.
How was your transit from university to SP?
In my first year at SP, I was fortunate to have experienced mentors who guided me. I constantly asked to shadow them for maintenance jobs. Through their mentorship, I acquired problem-solving skills when attending to network incidents and important techniques in operating High Voltage equipment safely.
If I can offer one piece of advice to new engineers, it is to take charge of your own career and be proactive in asking questions! Tap on the wisdom of your seniors and experienced colleagues – they can share useful tips and advance your learning!
Tell us more about your current role.
As a Distribution Network engineer, my work entails equipment maintenance and renewal, which are imperative to ensure a continuous power supply for our customers. We are also the first responders on the ground when there is any power disruption.
What is your most significant career achievement to date?
When I first started as an engineer, my team and I were tasked to upgrade the existing 6.6kV network equipment in western Singapore. Some of them are at least 20 to 30 years old and did not have in-built remote control and monitoring functions. With advancements in technology, we are now able to retrofit existing equipment to “send” information to our control centre. This means that the power supply can be restored more quickly in the event of disruption. The team successfully completed this project in early 2020 – it is a milestone that I am very proud of as a member of that team!
What are some of your biggest challenges at SP and how did you overcome them?
As electricity and gas networks are critical infrastructure, close customer engagement for timely equipment and network maintenance becomes even more important. One of the key challenges is the rounds of discussions and negotiations with customers to schedule electricity supply shutdowns, before maintenance works can be carried out. Besides the need to be conversant in electricity transmission regulations and specific customer requirements, we also need to help customers minimise disruption to their work operations by providing solutions such as staggering shutdown times or providing alternate electricity supply during maintenance work.
It seems like you'll need to be a team player at SP.
Indeed. In my department, engineers are on rotational 24/7 standby duties and there are times when we need to work extended hours. Safety is our highest priority and the strong camaraderie amongst our fellow engineers and technical officers means that everyone is always ready to lend their support and we build our bonds through these experiences. It is no doubt a tough job, but our focus on keeping Singapore lit keeps us going at SP!
Like many of us, Kai Herng loves travelling and in particular, road trips. He has driven in Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Canada is next on his travel list.
Finally, why should aspiring scholars join your organisation?
In SP, you can learn about the fundamentals of operating at the highest standards of our national power grid. Beyond maintaining reliability, SP is also investing in sustainability energy solutions both locally and overseas. There will also be comprehensive training at SP's training arm, Singapore Institute of Power & Gas (SIPG) and external schools, to prepare you for your journey in SP. SP also supports engineers who are keen to take on professional engineering certification. This is a testament to the company's strong commitment in training.