Power utility is a diverse industry, which means that when it comes to pursuing a career in the field, there is a large range of options. The cool thing about it is that lifestyle preferences can help define the career path taken. Geotechnicians, for example, travel often and many are on call 24 hours a day, but those who work in power plants tend to work eight-hour workdays. No matter which path is taken, the industry needs qualified individuals with critical thinking skills.
But what does a career as a power utility technician actually look like?
Life as a Power Utility Technician
In the simplest terms, the power utility technician is a kind of conductor. But instead of making music, he manages an orchestra of instruments that control electricity flow. Power utility technicians – sometimes referred to as power plant operators, systems operators, hydroelectric station operators, linemen or turbine operators – are often responsible for monitoring power output and adjusting electrical components to prevent power surges and make sure there is enough power being supplied.
Job duties may include:
- Controlling power-generating equipment which may use any one type of fuel, such as coal, nuclear fuel, or natural gas
- Reading charts, meters, and gauges to monitor voltage and electricity flows
- Checking equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems
- Adjusting controls to regulate the flow of power
- Starting or stopping generators, turbines and other equipment as necessary
Power utility technicians must be able to see the bigger picture and work well under pressure. It is also important that they have spatial and safety awareness and are self-directed individuals. From working in plant installation and design to maintaining power plants, a base knowledge in power utility can be applied to a large number of career paths.
There's also great demand for power utility technicians in the renewable energy industry. Companies that operate hydroelectric dams or steam plants that use nuclear power or biomass power employ professionals who can operate and adjust equipment and find solutions to problems that arise.
Overall, a degree in power utility technology gives individuals the ability to look for jobs in a ton of places across the industry. Those looking for flexibility in their career paths are likely to be a good fit in this field.
Download our free career guide, “The Complete eBook to Starting Your Career as a Power Utility Technician”, to learn more about getting a job in power utility.