Power engineers and power systems operators (NOC 9241)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Power engineers and power systems operators work for power generation plants, electrical power utilities, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities, government, and commercial businesses.

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Power engineers operate and maintain reactors, turbines, boilers, generators, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment to generate electrical power and to provide heat, light, refrigeration and other utility services for commercial, industrial and institutional buildings and other work sites.

Power systems operators monitor and operate switchboards and related equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution of electrical power in transmission networks.

Common job titles
  • air compressor
  • auxiliary plant equipment
  • biomass plant technician
  • building HVAC systems
  • controller, system
  • conversion substation


Power engineers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • operate automated or computerized control systems, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment such as boilers, turbines, generators, pumps, compressors, pollution control devices and other equipment to provide heat, ventilation, refrigeration, light and power for buildings, industrial plants and other work sites
  • Start up and shut down power plant equipment, control switching operations, regulate water levels and communicate with systems operators to regulate and co-ordinate transmission loads, frequency and line voltages
  • monitor and inspect plant equipment, computer terminals, switches, valves, gauges, alarms, meters and other instruments to measure temperature, pressure and fuel flow, to detect leaks or other equipment malfunctions and to make sure plant equipment is operating at maximum efficiency
  • analyze and record instrument readings and equipment malfunctions
  • troubleshoot and perform corrective action and minor repairs to prevent equipment or system failure
  • clean and lubricate generators, turbines, pumps and compressors and perform other routine equipment maintenance duties using appropriate lubricants and hand, power and precision tools
  • maintain a daily log of operation, maintenance and safety activities, and write reports about plant operation
  • may assist in the development of operation, maintenance and safety procedures

Power systems operators perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate and monitor computerized switchboards and auxiliary equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution and to regulate the flow of electrical power in the transmission network
  • Co-ordinate, schedule and direct generating station and substation power loads and line voltages to meet distribution demands during daily operations, system outages, repairs and importing or exporting of power
  • Monitor and visually inspect station instruments, meters and alarms to ensure transmission voltages and line loadings are within prescribed limits and to detect equipment failure, line disturbances and outages
  • Issue work and test permits to electrical and mechanical maintenance personnel, assist maintenance and technical personnel to locate and isolate system problems, and assist during routine system testing
  • Complete and maintain station records, logs and reports.

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work takes place in a controlled indoor environment.
  • Working with equipment, machinery, instruments or power/hand tools may be a source of injury.
  • The workplace may be noisy enough to affect hearing. Safety equipment is worn to diminish this risk.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Progression from lower to higher classes for stationary or power engineers is dependent on further training and experience.

Additional resources