Tailor’s daughter, now lead engineer of Davao Light

Engr. Nesvelle Mae Pascua-Amper, commonly known as “Nes,” has a friendly face that makes people feel at ease when talking to her. We were seated in a small conference room at Davao Light and Power Co. Inc., an AboitizPower subsidiary, talking about her role in the company.

When asked how she became a Planning Engineer for Network Protection of Davao Light, Nes recalls that she started as an AboitizPower scholar. “Since my father’s job as a tailor cannot fully support my studies, I applied to several scholarship programs, including the AboitizPower Distribution Utilities scholarship during my fourth and fifth years in college,” Nes shared.

Aside from the tuition and stipend, the scholarship also provided her with board and fare expenses as well as books. Nes graduated Cum Laude from Mindanao State University (MSU) - General Santos City in 2017.

After passing the board exam, she applied to Davao Light as part of the Engineering Corps program of the company. Since 2019, Nes has been assigned to the Power Systems Planning Department (PSPD) of Davao Light. “We provide settings for all the devices that protect the electric distribution networks such as the substations of Davao Light,” Nes explains.

Responsible for planning design and the implementation of approved protection and control systems of Davao Light’s power systems, she takes the lead in the improvement of the digital substations of the power utility. Nes is also responsible for stimulating and foreseeing protection methods to protect the company's power system components during abnormal conditions.

For example, on the one hand, engineers provide a protection scheme to ensure the devices’ reliability before a substation is energized. On the other hand, the same engineers maintain the protection scheme of the reclosers - an automatic high-voltage electric switch - so whenever a customer experience a power interruption, a recloser will automatically open whenever there is a short circuit and then automatically close to ensure faster restoration of power.

Among her major projects during her career was the Calinan Substation, a partially digital substation as digitalization is on the station level only. Nes shared that the project was memorable because it was implemented during the height of the pandemic. Nes has then led several projects, including Maa Substation Upgrade (a hybrid digital substation) and one of Davao Light's first fully digital substation using Software Defined Network, Binugao Substation.

Protection schemes are important to ensure a reliable, safe, and secure power supply to Davao Light customers. They are in place to ensure the safety of electrical devices such as power lines and substations during electrical faults caused by strong winds, animals, vegetation, or branches falling off trees. They also ensure the reliability of Davao Light’s power supply since the devices are kept in good condition. Lastly, these schemes help secure that the power supply will not be cut off despite electrical faults, so there is a steady supply of electricity to keep appliances running.

I’m used to working in a male-dominated environment just like any other woman who’s studying electrical engineering or working in the same field. There isn't also any difference when it comes to opportunities offered for both men and women in the company. In a conversation with our President and COO Rodger Velasco, I heard that the company is now more conscious of hiring more women engineers,” Nes openly shared when asked about her opinion on the ratio of men and women engineers working in Davao Light.

Nes practices a vegan lifestyle and enjoys badminton, bowling, weight lifting, and going to the gym during her free time.