Our Thinking

Utilizing an Operator Training Simulator in Distribution Ops

In many control rooms, work processes involved in keeping the meters spinning and lights on have been digitized, integrated, and developed into complex activities over the last two decades.

Before digitization:

  • Distribution Operations work processes were generally well defined.
  • The control room’s visibility and interaction with the electric system were limited.
  • On-the-job training (OJT) was not only an effective strategy for building competence in new hires but also the only option.

As digitization and consolidation of work processes occurred, the need to understand and practice job tasks and duties in a system that replicates as close to real-world conditions as possible became necessary.


An Operator Training Simulator (OTS) provides operations personnel the ability to understand and practice job tasks and duties in end-to-end, role-specific scenarios in a system that replicates as close to real-world conditions as possible.

  • Scenarios create varying complexity for multiple use cases.
  • Learners can start, pause, play, and restart scenarios quickly.
  • It allows for the simulation of remote thin client functions to replicate field interactions.
  • It introduces new technology and functionality not yet available in the production system.

Users can replay real-world events from the production environment.


For new system deployments, there must be an understanding of OTS environment expectations need before training creation, and OTS environments must be functionally ready and available in time to develop end-user training. The following questions are critically important to ensuring environment readiness:

  • What information/data does the training environment need?
  • What basic system configurations and business process decisions regarding those configurations need to be available in the OTS to best simulate production behaviors?
  • What functionalities must be operational within the OTS to perform critical end-user tasks and processes?
  • What group provides OTS technical support?
  • How many training environments are needed?

If system functionality configurations are made too late, and training development occurs without those decisions, the simulation quality will be severely limited. If system behaviors differ between OTS and production, or if switching or clearance statements do not look the same in training as they do in production, confidence in and acceptance of both systems will drop.