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Feature | SP Group

Building a Brighter Future with SP Group

SP Group is committed to maintaining the nation’s world-class electricity and gas networks, and driving a sustainable energy future for Singapore and the region. Building capabilities for these responsibilities means nurturing high potential and dedicated engineers like SgIS Mid-Term Scholar Terence Tian Peng Yu. He shares about his exciting role in upholding reliable performance.
SP Group

Terence Tian Peng Yu is an SgIS Mid-Term Scholar who currently works as an Executive Engineer in SP Group's Electricity Operations. He has a Masters in MSc Electrical Engineering from NUS and a Bachelor of Electrical & Electronic Engineering from NTU.

A leading energy solutions provider in the Asia Pacific, SP Group (SP) owns and operates Singapore’s electricity and gas networks, which ranks as one of the most reliable in the world and serves more than 1.6 million residential, commercial and industrial customers.

Its high level of service can be attributed to a continued dedication to reliability in the form of systematic maintenance, regular checks and equipment replacement, digitalisation, timely restoration should there be supply interruption, as well as detailed monitoring of all aspects of the network to ensure they perform up to par.

The company continues to cultivate dedicated engineers who carry forward this important work. One of the avenues through which SP contributes to grooming the next generation of engineers is through the SgIS Scholarship. It is a multi-industry scholarship that provides enriching exposure to different industries and development programmes such as leaders’ forums.

We spoke with Terence Tian Peng Yu, an SgIS Mid-Term Scholar who currently works as an Executive Engineer in SP’s Electricity Operations to learn about his career trajectory with SP and the opportunities it offers.

To start with, we understand that SgIS allows its scholars to contribute to a local organisation of choice in industries from medical to the arts. So, why did you choose SP Group?

With a strong passion in power engineering, I decided to choose SP to fulfill my eight months internship as part of my university course requirement. It was an eye-opening experience to work behind the scenes, handling daily electricity network operations and maintenance work that powers the entire Singapore. After the internship, it affirmed my decision to take up the SgIS Mid-Term Scholarship with SP.

Terence Tian

Terence Tian

What are some unique advantages of this scholarship? How does it help your studies and career?

As an SP Scholar, I was offered learning and career development opportunities under the Engineering Development for GraduatEs (EDGE) programme. Through EDGE, we received on-the-job training to understand the workings of our network operations before being deployed to our permanent roles.

The consistent advice from our seniors and industry leaders during our networking sessions and the SgIS induction programme not only helped me in school, but also prepared me for the challenges of the working world.

We heard that you furthered your studies at NUS with a Masters in Electrical Engineering. Tell us more about the support you received from SP Group for your studies?

As part of our career progression, SP strongly encourages its engineers to be certified as a Professional Engineer (PE) by fully sponsoring the preparatory courses and examination fees. SP has one of the highest number of certified PEs among engineering companies in Singapore. With a strong pool of experienced engineers, I can find help easily when I was pursuing my PE certification.

It was not an easy feat juggling work and studies when I was pursuing my part-time Master’s programme in Electrical Engineering. I am thankful to have supportive colleagues who readily stepped up to cover my duties during examination periods.

Overall, what are some key understandings you have acquired throughout your education? How did you apply what you have learnt to your current work?

My engineering studies laid a strong foundation in understanding network configurations and how different equipment, cables, protection system come together in our electricity network. Working at Singapore’s national grid operator for transmission and distribution of electricity and gas networks allowed me to effectively apply what I learnt in school on a national scale!

“SP Group, a leading company in the energy sector offers great exposure for aspiring power engineers. You will be enthralled to work at the nation’s world-class grid with networks that consistently rank amongst the most reliable in the world.” Terence Tian

Sounds like your studies have certainly prepared you well for working at SP Group! Could you tell us what your responsibilities at work?

I am an engineer in Regional Network East cable team, which oversees the operation and maintenance of high voltage cables and conducts cable diversion works for national projects such as advance cable diversion for the Land Transport Authority’s North South Corridor and Cross Regional Line projects.

Outside of our core responsibilities, we are also trained to handle work exigencies. Faced by border closures, safe distancing measures and manpower constraints during the pandemic two years ago, I was tasked to gather and collate information such as workers’ particulars, dormitory details, periodic commuting arrangements and Covid-19 status to ensure we have sufficient workforce in case of emergencies.

There is a common perception that working with high voltage cables and dealing with such emergencies can be very dangerous. Can you share your thoughts on this?

I cannot emphasise enough that safety is our highest priority at SP. A strong safety culture has been established over the years through measures such as regular safety briefing, risk assessment workshops and constant reminders on work safety. We even have a safety pledge which we would recite daily during our toolbox meeting before work commences.

And what would you say is your most significant career achievement to date? What are your career goals?

Attaining my high-voltage (66kV) switching certification gave me the greatest satisfaction. I am now authorised to operate and supervise electricity operations that impact key commercial customers with high electricity demand.

I look forward to attaining my Professional Engineering certification to sharpen my engineering knowledge and skills to be a competent engineer. There are stringent examinations and interviews with the Professional Engineers Board in Singapore and only upon passing these hurdles, can one be qualified as a Professional Engineer.

Apart from your work as an engineer, what other exposure have you gained with SP Group?

As part of the organising committee for staff volunteers, who are known as Heart Workers, we piloted the first grocery truck event with NTUC FairPrice to bring grocery shopping to the doorsteps of seniors at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Seeing the smiles of the seniors at Ang Mo Kio Family Service Centre gave me a great sense of satisfaction as I was able to brighten the day with greater convenience for our seniors. It was also rewarding to help drive our company’s scaled up efforts in community service and outreach to more families during this much needed time. The experience helped build teamwork among colleagues from other business units, and hone leadership and stakeholder management skills.

How does SP Group support your development as a staff?

With a strong emphasis on training and development, we can apply for suitable courses easily. Singapore Institute of Power and Gas, our in-house training arm, provides many learning opportunities such as in areas of operations and maintenance, sustainable energy solutions and planning.

Your enthusiasm and love for the company is palpable! Finally, what qualities do you think are necessary to excel in SP Group?

The effects of climate change are a pressing global issue that requires us to take firm action today. As Singapore works towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050, we need to invest in sustainable solutions such as transiting from fossil fuels to renewable energy. If you enjoy problem solving, are game to face challenges and work with a greater purpose, SP will be the right organisation to learn and grow amidst the paradigm shift in the energy industry!

Thank you for a great interview. Any words of encouragement for those who aspiring to join SP Group?

SP is a leading company in the energy sector that offers great exposure for aspiring power engineers. You will be enthralled to work at the nation’s world-class grid with networks that consistently rank amongst the most reliable networks in the world. With an expansion into the sustainability sphere, there are also abundant opportunities to widen your portfolio to work on low carbon, smart energy solutions!