Featured Facility: TRC Testing and Training Lab

Sept. 15, 2016
TRC’s Testing and Commissioning group is building a training lab in its Lancaster, Pennsylvania, office. The lab will mimic an actual utility substation environment with control house and yard equipment.

Hands‐on testing and commissioning of substations in the real world can be daunting and dangerous without the proper training. So, TRC’s Testing and Commissioning group is building a training lab in its Lancaster, Pennsylvania, office. The lab will mimic an actual utility substation environment with control house and yard equipment.

TRC is a national engineering, consulting and construction management firm providing integrated services to the energy, environmental and infrastructure markets. One of the unique services TRC provides is testing and commissioning of protection and control systems, which often requires its employees to work in high-risk situations. “The new training lab provides a controlled environment for structured training, ensuring our employees become proficient, efficient, and consistent in hands‐on testing and commissioning, troubleshooting, policies and procedures, safety, QA/QC, planning, communication, and risk reduction,” according to Jason Hostetter, P.E., TRC’s Vice President of Testing and Commissioning.

The lab will give employees the skills they need to “effectively, efficiently and safely perform their job all while delivering a quality product,” said Hostetter.

The lab will not only support the training needs of TRC’s own employees, but also its utility clients - who need to ensure that their in-house teams are prepared to work on the latest protection, control, testing and commissioning equipment -will also have opportunities to use the facility through courses offered directly by TRC’s experts. These customized courses will be designed to meet specific client needs, preferences and standards in the testing and commissioning field.

“We will also use the lab for hands‐on training to further develop employees in protection and control design, system protection, and automation and communication design- all areas critical to job performance for commissioning and relay testing engineers. There are benefits in understanding and working with what designers and engineers are developing on paper,” said Hostetter, “and it’s valuable for our design engineering staff to be cross trained in these areas.”

To manage the ever-changing technology, safety concerns, policy and procedural updates associated with the lab, TRC created a dedicated position to own those tasks. “The Chief Engineer position within our Testing and Commissioning organization, filled by Brian Moores, combines practical hands on field and design expertise with experience writing and developing training modules and procedures,” said Hostetter. “Brian’s experience and leadership has been instrumental in the progress we’ve made to date with our lab.”  

Last but not least, employees will have remote access to connect to the relays and other intelligent electronic devices to troubleshoot problems they are encountering on assignment.

Phase 1 design and construction of the lab is complete, including protection schemes for standard transmission lines, ring bus arrangements, power transformers,  distribution circuits,  buses, and full SCADA/RTU and Annunciation systems for monitoring, all laid out in six cabinets. The final design will be complete this fall and will include a fully simulated substation “yard.” Final construction will be complete in spring 2017.

Structured Training Program


  • Protective relay and scheme programming, testing and troubleshooting
  • Isolation, barricading and cut overs
  • IEC‐61850 Communication based protection architecture and programming, testing and troubleshooting
  • AC and DC circuit functional testing and troubleshooting
  • SCADA RTU and Annunciation programming, testing and troubleshooting
  • Overall understanding of protection and control schemes


  • Develop safe work habits
  • Identify and understand safety risks and hazards and associated mitigation techniques
  • Simulate project scenarios and develop Health and Safety Plan, Job Hazard Assessments, Daily Safety Tailboards, and PPE requirements


  • Simulate project scenarios, implement and understand the TRC T&C policies, procedures, documentation and workflow

For more information, please contact Jason Hostetter, P.E. at [email protected] or visit

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!