Power engineers and power systems operators (NOC 9241)

About this job

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Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

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.

People in this group:

  • work for power generation plants, electrical power utilities, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities and government and commercial establishments.

Common job titles
  • air compressor
  • auxiliary plant equipment
  • biomass plant technician
  • nuclear generating station
  • operating engineer - power plant
  • power control room / switchboard
  • air compressor
  • auxiliary plant equipment
  • biomass plant technician
  • building HVAC systems
  • controller, system
  • conversion substation

Earnings

Annual provincial median salary

$65,175

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report

Duties

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.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Power engineers require a college training program in stationary or power engineering and several years of work experience in the field.
  • Power engineers require a provincial or territorial power engineering or stationary engineering certificate according to class.
  • Stationary engineer trade certification according to class (4th, 3rd, 2nd or 1st class) is compulsory in Nova Scotia and Quebec and available, but voluntary in New Brunswick.
  • Power systems operators require completion of a three- to five-year power system operator apprenticeship program or Over three years of work experience in the trade and some college or industry courses in electrical and electronic technology.
  • Trade certification is available, but voluntary for power system operators in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Control room operators at nuclear power plants require licensing from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Skills

  • General Learning Ability
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Numerical Ability
  • Verbal & Written Comprehension
  • Methodical
  • Directive
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Power Engineering

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Cariboo
Employment in 2016:
510
Average annual employment growth:
-0.2%
Expected number of job openings:
150
Kootenay
Employment in 2016:
310
Average annual employment growth:
0.3%
Expected number of job openings:
120
Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
1,610
Average annual employment growth:
0.7%
Expected number of job openings:
610
North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
170
Average annual employment growth:
-2.5%
Expected number of job openings:
0
Northeast
Employment in 2016:
360
Average annual employment growth:
1.1%
Expected number of job openings:
170
Thompson-Okanagan
Employment in 2016:
460
Average annual employment growth:
-0.2%
Expected number of job openings:
150
Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
700
Average annual employment growth:
-0.6%
Expected number of job openings:
220

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

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