Stephen Hirsch

The EEA is pleased to award Stephen Hirsch a Life Membership of the Association to recognise his contribution to the EEA and the NZ power industry, and to congratulate him on his outstanding career.

Stephen has a unique profile that gives him a broad understanding of power issues and standards in the industry. Originally born in the UK, he was raised in Canada where he graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, covering both electronics and power. Unfortunately at the time - but fortunately for our industry, the lack of engineering job opportunities in Northern America after the end of the Vietnam War led Stephen to try his luck in New Zealand in 1971… and what was supposed to be a simple OE became a long and fruitful contribution of over 40 years!

When Stephen first arrived here in the early 1970s, he joined the NZED (New Zealand Electricity Department) in the hydropower industry, commencing work in Hamilton District which managed the Waikato River Hydro system and other major power plants in that region, then in Wellington for the design of the control system for the Upper Waitaki hydro system. After a couple of years’ ‘break’ working at Lincoln College for the NZ Agricultural Engineering Institute and his graduation in 1982 with a Master of Engineering Degree at Canterbury University on variable speed drive in induction motor drive technology, he re- joined the Electricity Supply Industry in 1987 as a substation design engineer at the CCEPB (Central Canterbury Electric Power Board), then as a Design Projects Manager in 1991 for Southpower. He is currently employed as a Control and Protection Systems Development Engineer at Orion.

Stephen’s contribution to the EEA dates back to 1990 as an industry representative on the EL-034 Joint NZ/Australia Standards Committee on power quality, where he is still involved with the production of the AS/NZS series of standards for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and with standards related to the consideration of reference impedances and public supply network impedances for use in determining the disturbance characteristics of electrical equipment having a rated current ≤75 A per phase. Stephen shared his knowledge and expertise on numerous occasions, as a writer, contributor or presenter for various papers selected for our EEA Conferences. In 2006, his paper entitled “Resonant Earthing – Advantages and Disadvantages. Why do we not use it in New Zealand?” was recognised as the EEA Conference Best Paper. Stephen has also served on the LV Supply Earthing Committee, and on the NZCCPTS (NZ Committee for the Co-ordination of Power and Telecommunication Systems) as a technical representative and Treasurer since the mid ‘90s.

Throughout his career, Stephen has shown a particular interest and a real passion for not only power quality as mentioned earlier, but also for power system modelling, protection systems design, communication system design and SCADA and NMD systems implementation. This is Stephen’s impressive knowledge and willingness to contribute to these particular sectors, but also to the electricity industry in general, that we would like to recognise with this award.

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