Interview with PACWorld guru Jack Chadwick

PAC World:  When and where were you born?
J.C.: I was born in New Bern, NC on June 30, 1923, and grew-up in Rocky Mount, NC.
PAC World:  Is there something special in your childhood that you think affected your future career?
J.C.:  When I was 14, I went to work (in summer and after school) for a motor & transformer rewind company. While this was not a high tech company, I got my hands dirty and found that you could determine wire size, count turns, replace insulating paper, and (if the motor/transformer iron is not damaged too severely) end up with a good product. 
PAC World: Do you have any engineers in your family to follow in their footsteps?
J.C..:   No.
PAC World:   Did you have any special interests while in school?
J.C.:  I played in the high school band and in some local dance bands.
PAC World:   How did you decide to study electrical engineering?
J.C.:  The year after I graduated from High School, in addition to taking some additional high school courses, I also took some elementary electrical courses that were N C State extension courses. This, plus my job experience made me decide to go to N C State and take Electrical Engineering.

PAC World: Where did you study?
J.C.: North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University) in Raleigh, North Carolina.
PAC World: Did you study protection while in university?
J.C.: No.
PAC World:  Did you have any other interests while studying in the university?
J.C.: Girls and playing in dance bands.

PAC World:  Where and how did you start your career?
J.C.: In 1947, I was employed by TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). I entered a 2-year graduate engineer training program (1-year field assignments testing power equipment and 1-year rotating in various offices in Chattanooga, Tennessee with 3-days a week of classroom instruction on various components and systems of an electrical power system (generation and transmission only.)

PAC World:  Why did you focus on power system protection?
J,C. It seemed a smooth transition from the training program to Field Engineer: initial acceptance tests, periodic maintenance tests, special tests following system disturbances – performed on protection & control, metering, communication, load control and telemetering equipment as well as major components of the power system i.e. circuit breakers, transformers, generators, synchronous condensers, capacitor banks, shunt reactors, coupling capacitors, line traps, current & voltage transformers, etc.

PAC World:  You worked for only one company.  Did you ever think about doing something different ?
J.C.: I did in the early part of my career, but when I moved to Chattanooga (from field work to design) I became involved in Standards … and the PSRC … and CIGRE and a very little IEC. I found this to be very rewarding. Staged-fault field tests were another big “plus” for me. I learned to live within the “system,” and I enjoyed it. I looked forward to going to work every day and being around the other TVA employees that were intelligent, dedicated, knew their job, and were fun to be around. TVA has some extremely “bright” employees.

PAC World:   How do you compare the transition from electromechanical to solid-state relays with the transition to microprocessor based relays?
J.C.: Solid-state relays had such a short “life,” that in my mind I just consider them an “asterisk” in relay history. They only replicated existing components with discrete solid-state components. Whereas with digital it is very flexible and once you have a digital value it can be used for numerous other tasks. It also allows for innovation and invites new ways to accomplish a function and possibly do it better, safer, and hopefully in a more straight-forward manner. 
PAC World:  IEC 61850 allows the replacement of copper cables with fiber optic in the substation. Do you believe that there will be a time when we will have copper-less substations?
J.C.: TVA had some fiber for copper in the middle 1980’s with plans to do more. As for copper-less substations, I don’t think that will happen. There will still be a need for copper cables in a substation to provide ac power to breakers for compressors, heaters, etc. You also need dc power to the breaker for trip and close. The largest ac power needs at a substation are for power transformer oil pumps and fans. PAC World:  Working for a utility you probably had to deal with different manufacturers? Did you see any major differences in their protection philosophy and relay design?

J.C.: TVA was a government corporation and, as such, had to abide by a number of government requirements, one of which was “to purchase from the lowest bidder that meets the TVA specification”. TVA specifications strived to be “functional” specifications as opposed to “detailed” specifications that “effectively” specified a particular product manufactured by one company. Manufacturers had to use different methods to avoid infringing on the patents of other manufacturers. Therefore all of the major manufacturers had very similar philosophies, with minor variations, but the relay designs could be entirely different. This is not to say that one company might recommend “phase comparison” line protection, a second company recommend “permissive overreaching”, and a third  “directional comparison.”

PAC World:  What awards and recognitions have you received and which one do you consider the most important?
J.C.: It’s hard to compare them and select one as the most important, because they are all different. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. But … if I must select one, then it will have to be PSRC Chairman, and the once preceding it. This is 6 years of very satisfying and rewarding work.

  • IEEE:  Fellow (1983); Life Fellow (1988)
  • PSRC:  Chairman (1997 and 1980); Distinguished Service Award (1988); Outstanding Working Group Award (1991)
  • CIGRE: The US Representative to Study Committee 34 (Power System Protection and Local Control) (1981 through 1993); Elected Attwood Associate in the US National Committee (1990); The CIGRE Technical Committee Award (1994) for Study Committee 34
  • NSPE: National Society of Professional Engineers Life Member (1989)
  • TSPE: Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers Life Member (1989)
  • The Order of the Engineer (1973)


PAC World:   What do you think about the use of two identical relays as Main 1 and Main 2 protection on an important transmission line?
J.C.: This may be the best “economic” solution to provide redundancy and improve dependability and security.

PAC World:  We have seen significant improvements in the functionality of distance protection relays. Do you think that there is something more that can be done?
J.C.: There should be more attention placed on a lot of the details: i.e. dc fusing, vt fusing, separate attention to the non-delayed and the intentionally-delayed tripping, etc.
PAC World:  What do you think about the importance of protection relays testing?
J.C.: Relay testing requirements should always reflect the monitoring and self-checking available as a part of the relay, as well as that available locally or remotely. After all, the purpose of relay testing is to ensure that the relay is ready to perform its function when called on to do so. I assume that acceptance tests,  tests to apply settings, and tests to investigate disturbances are a given. This leaves only routine maintenance tests. Any routine relay test schedule should be determined be the utility’s experience with the relay plus the monitoring and self-checking available.
PAC World:  How did you get involved with the IEEE PSRC and what do you think about it?
J.C.: I first became involved with the AIEE (now IEEE) PSRC in the early 1960’s when my Branch Chief took me with him to the Winter Power Meeting in New York. He told me that I should get involved with the PSRC. I enjoyed the people I meet at the PSRC meeting (the Sub-Committee meetings, and the Working Group meetings) and the paper sessions. I was told to attend and participate. At the meetings you get to meet and talk to very intelligent people from around the country (and some from outside the country). They have different problems as well as similar problems that are freely discussed and there is a free and open exchange of information. My experience has been extremely good, I don’t see how it could have been any better. I believe that an individual that attends and participates can have a problem that he needs input on. He can discuss it with several individuals and he may not get an answer, but he can certainly get headed in the right direction.
PAC World:  When and how did you get involved in CIGRE activities?
J.C.: On several projects, in particular TVA’s installation of 500-kV single-pole switching, I found a number of CIGRE papers to be very useful. I became an Individual member in about 1965. I was approached by the then Chairman of CIGRE Study Committee 34 (Gerard Dienne of Belgium) to accept the US Representative to Study Committee 34. I also found out that Stan Horowitz, who had just been appointed US Rep was to replace Gerard Dienne as the Chairman of Study Committee 34. As Chairman of the PSRC, I was invited to attend the 1979 meeting of CIGRE Study Committee 34 in Australia. Dienne, Horowitz, and I agreed on a plan to try and get TVA approval for me to be the US Rep. After a lot of twists and turns it succeeded and I was exposed to a whole new world beyond what I had known.

PAC World:  How do you compare CIGRE with PSRC?
J.C.: CIGRE is not involved in Standards, per se, but issues reports and presents them to IEC for their use in developing Standards. The representation on the 16 Study Committees is limited to 24, one per country, with about 10 member countries more or less fixed and the other 14, or so, subject to change. This is quite different from PSRC where membership is not limited, you only need to attend and participate. Standards are voluntary, and not mandatory and are consensus Standards: i.e. They are a consensus of the Working Group, as approved by the voting body. I think that the PSRC draws on a larger body of talent and that shows up in the PSRC Standards being more functional and the CIGRE/IEC Standards being more detailed. The CIGRE/IEC Standards tend to tell you how to build a relay while the IEEE/PSRC Standards tend to tell you how to use the relay.
CIGRE paper sessions are completely different from IEEE paper sessions. The allocation of papers is on a country basis, with the US having 10, out of a total of about  200. About 30 countries have allocations, from 1 to 10, accounting for a major portion of the total. The papers are not presented, only discussions are presented and a Special Reporter prepares a summary of the discussions.
PAC World:  What do you think is the importance of being involved in IEEE and CIGRE working groups?
J.C.: If I had to pick, I would pick IEEE and IEC. These are both Standards, but with a large majority of the IEC Working Group meetings being held in Europe, I think you will find it hard to get support for membership in IEC Working Groups. One thing that I think should be tried would be on-line meetings. With today’s technology and several hour on-line meetings, it does not seem too much of a stretch to have multi-day meetings.
PAC World:  Were you involved in any IEC work?
J.C.: I was involved when TVA started to purchase equipment overseas because the manufacturers talked about meeting IEC Standards and TVA needed to know how the IEC Standards compared to IEEE Standards. I also was peripherally involved with other TVA engineers on various IEEE committees striving to benefit from IEC Standards.
PAC World:  You visited the Soviet Union before the fall of the Iron Curtain. How did you find the people there? What about their protection philosophy?
J.C.:  The Russian engineers that I meet both in this country and in Russia were very bright, intelligent engineers and they were fun to be around. Working through an interpreter, it was very difficult to get very detailed. You could look at the relays (which looked like a BBC or an ASEA relay with a different name plate. On close inspection you could tell that it was a copy. Sometimes it would take days to get an answer. But you could tell that they were trying to answer all of our questions. You did not get the feel that they were trying to hold back anything. 
PAC World:  How did you share your knowledge and experience? Did you write papers or books, or did you directly teach your younger colleagues?
J.C.:  I wrote very few papers. I co-authored a few more, but had trouble finding time to do more. There were several groups in TVA that had some in-house training and I did do several classes on various topics.
PAC World:  Do you still participate in conferences? Do you still present papers?
J.C.:  I still try to attend the Georgia Tech Relay Conference and the Fault & Disturbance Analysis Conference at Georgia Tech. In addition, I try to attend the (3) PSRC meetings. I do not try to present any papers. Things are moving very fast and its hard to keep up.
PAC World:  How do you see the protection system in a substation in 2020?
J.C.:  I could see current and voltage transformers vanishing and black boxes on the bus that measure currents and voltages and transmit directly to the switch house. So you need means for power to the breakers. Controls to the breaker will be through communications. One screen in the control house displays all information. Relays work through the same scheme.
PAC World:  What was the biggest challenge that you faced as a protection engineer?
J.C.:  The single pole protection on 500 kV at TVA’s Davidson substation at the Paradise Generating Plant. Single pole trip and reclosing with GE solid state relays. Another one was the replacement with solid state meters of energy meters for Oakridge. Convincing people that this works was one of the main challenges.
PAC World:  What do you consider your greatest achievement professionally?
J.C.:  Enjoying working – the challenges of finding the solutions. Some small things related to changes in the way we do things I consider major achievements.
PAC World:  What is your definition of retirement?
J.C.:  Doing things in a much more leisurely ways.
PAC World:  How did you mix your family and professional lives?
J.C.:  My wife felt very strongly that she needs to stay home with the kids. I did not travel that much when they were still in school. When they grew up she started travelling with me to many places around the world. But she did not want to come to some places. She was very selective.
PAC World:  What do you consider your greatest personal achievement?
J.C.:  I think it is my family – the way our kids grew up and the people they are today.
PAC World:  What do you like to do when you are not working?
J.C.:  Sit on the porch and watch the ocean. It is the most relaxing thing one can do. I also like sitting at the airport and watching the people.
PAC World:  What do you think is the impact of the Internet on people in the workplace and in their personal life?
J.C.:  I feel I am not aware of what people do in the work place, but I can see the potential. I think it has changed everybody’s life tremendously. It is unbelievable.
PAC World:  What books do you like to read?
J.C.:  I have not gotten interested in a new author lately. But I like Brown and books like the Davinchy Code. I buy all the books from such an author and I read them. I also like to read IEEE and other magazines. I really enjoy reading PACWorld as well and I don’t put it down until I finish it.
PAC World:  Do you have a favorite food?
J.C.:  Seafood and anything containing ground beef.
PAC World:  Do you like to travel? Do you have a favorite place to visit?
J.C.:  I like to travel. I prefer English speaking countries because of the language. But I love many other countries.
PAC World:  What music do you usually listen to?
J.C.:  A variety. I like the big band era. I also like classical music and jazz.
PAC World:  What do you think we need to do as an industry to attract more young people to our field?
J.C.:  Get rid of a lot of the managers that do not see anything but dollars and replace them with managers that care about engineering.

PAC World:  What do you think about the young engineers in electric power systems protection?
J.C.:  I don’t really have any contact with them except through the PSRC. Those that I do see are able to resolve a lot of problems with the new technology that it is available.
PAC World:  Do you have a motto?
J.C.:  No.
PAC World:  Is there something that you like to tell the young protection engineers?
J.C.:  Communicate, communicate, communicate! People need to talk to each other about anything. Getting background information about something is as important as the question. The more people that you are in contact with in any field, the better job you’ll do.
PAC World:  Is there something your regret you did not do?
J.C.:  How can you regret that you did not do something when you have been busy all the time doing the things you wanted or had to do.

Let?s start with organization in protection testing