Proposals

• Design of the control centre for use by highly professional traders opti­mised in terms of furnishings, acoustic, and visual environments. To avoid physical strain and, in the worst cases, health problems, a control centre for energy trading should fulfil the same requirements as other control rooms described in this handbook. In other words, the operators will have access to several local displays at their own workplace and at least one major large-scale overview display. The visual environment needs to be carefully planned to avoid glare and visual fatigue.

• Headsets with attached microphones used to avoid overhearing or disturb­ing general conversations. Obviously, background noise (e. g., from com­puter printers) should be reduced to a minimum. Noise absorption levels should be very good. As in all other control room situations, in this type of control room, chair design is of critical importance. However, the chair should be more designed for active work than for easy chair-type relaxation. The latter is often used in traditional control rooms.

• The physical design of the display and information devices, including over­view displays. This type of work uses many different types of databases. This makes it important that the trader has access to several different desk­top displays. In this way, the trader can operate several databases in paral­lel without start-up delays. A few infrequently-used displays can be placed on a higher level, above the line of sight. It is important that an overview display presents critical information and important indicators that need to be simultaneously available for all operators. The overall display should also present a general process overview. This process overview needs to be designed in relation to the specific requirement of each trading centre. The specific requirements of displays are described in Chapter 4. The main control devices are the keyboard and the cursor mover (e. g., the mouse). However, in each trading configuration it is important to define critical con­trol actions and critical incidents that demand control actions. This type of control needs to be accessible with minimum time delay. Preferably, this type of control should alternatively be carried around by each operator and accessible without time delay.

• Design of software for information processing and display. For this type of trading the traders need to have access to local computers for designing their own software or adapting existing software. This software can be used for predictions, decision making, and general statistical and probabilistic computations. Individual, personalised PCs might be the best solution.

• Job design for traders and related personnel. On the one hand, it is very important that the traders have as extensive a decision-making authority as possible. On the other hand, it is also important that the work is carried out with the optimal level of ethics. Some ethical guidelines must be available covering areas of insider trading and environmental issues, and computer systems should be programmed to give critical warnings.

• Design of simulation models. In many process control situations, it is valu­able to have access to computer-based models of the controlled process. This computer model can be used to simulate and predict different states of the process. In other words it can be a useful tool for decision making. If the background model is good enough it can also be used for training and retraining, particularly on infrequent events and scenarios (in the same way as the on-board training simulators are used in the cockpits of aircraft).

• Design of continuous learning facilities. The simulation models described above can be one tool used for continuous training and updating of knowledge. It is, however, also important for the traders’ continuous train­ing and updating to be related to their complex area of operation (see Chap­ter 11).

• Design of schemes for creative development. In their daily work, traders are very busy and sometimes also in highly stressful situations. Highly educated and competent professionals, the traders are very competent to be the prime developers of their own development. To be able to use this potential, it is essential that they can be relieved from some of their daily workload.