Power Plant Operators

Description

Control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.

Tasks

  • Monitor power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems.
  • Adjust controls to generate specified electrical power or to regulate the flow of power between generating stations and substations.
  • Control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, or reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment.
  • Regulate equipment operations and conditions, such as water levels, based on instrument data or from computers.
  • Take regulatory action, based on readings from charts, meters and gauges, at established intervals.
  • Start or stop generators, auxiliary pumping equipment, turbines, or other power plant equipment as necessary.
  • Inspect records or log book entries or communicate with plant personnel to assess equipment operating status.
  • Control or maintain auxiliary equipment, such as pumps, fans, compressors, condensers, feedwater heaters, filters, or chlorinators, to supply water, fuel, lubricants, air, or auxiliary power.
  • Clean, lubricate, or maintain equipment, such as generators, turbines, pumps, or compressors, to prevent failure or deterioration.
  • Communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate line voltages and transmission loads and frequencies.
  • Record and compile operational data by completing and maintaining forms, logs, or reports.
  • Open and close valves and switches in sequence to start or shut down auxiliary units.
  • Collect oil, water, or electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking gland and pipe joints.
  • Control generator output to match the phase, frequency, or voltage of electricity supplied to panels.
  • Place standby emergency electrical generators on line in emergencies and monitor the temperature, output, and lubrication of the system.
  • Receive outage calls and request necessary personnel during power outages or emergencies.
  • Examine and test electrical power distribution machinery and equipment, using testing devices.
  • Replenish electrolytes in batteries and oil in voltage transformers, and reset tripped electric relays.
  • Inspect thermal barrier coatings on integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) equipment for sintering, phase destabilization, or temperature variances to ensure compliance with standards and insulation efficiency.
  • Operate or maintain distributed power generation equipment, including fuel cells or microturbines, to produce energy on-site for manufacturing or other commercial purposes.
  • Operate, control, or monitor equipment, such as acid or gas carbon dioxide removal units, carbon dioxide compressors, and pipelines, to capture, store, or transport carbon dioxide exhaust.
  • Operate, control, or monitor gasifiers or related equipment, such as coolers, water quenches, water gas shifts reactors, or sulfur recovery units, to produce syngas or electricity from coal.
  • Operate, control, or monitor integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) or related equipment, such as air separation units, to generate electricity from coal.

Knowledge

Food Production
Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Fine Arts
Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.

Abilities

Dynamic Flexibility
The ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Explosive Strength
The ability to use short bursts of muscle force to propel oneself (as in jumping or sprinting), or to throw an object.

Interests

Realistic
Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional
Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Enterprising
Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Investigative
Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
Artistic
Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
Social
Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Work Style

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Persistence
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Achievement/Effort
Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Work Values

Support
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Relationships
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Independence
Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Working Conditions
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Achievement
Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Recognition
Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Lay Titles

Auxiliary Equipment Tender
Auxiliary Operator
Auxiliary Power Equipment Operator
Boiler Operator
Booster Operator
Booster Plant Operator
Booster Pump Operator
Control Center Operator
Control Operator
Control Room Operator
Diesel Plant Operator
Electric Operator
Equipment Operator
Generator Operator
High Pressure Firer
Hydro Plant Operator
Hydro Station Operator
Hydroelectric Operator
Hydroelectric Station Operator
Operations and Maintenance Gas Turbine Technician
Operations and Maintenance Technician (O & M Technician)
Plant Control Operator
Power Generating Plant Operator
Power Operator
Power Plant Operator
Power Plant Technician
Power Station Operator
Powerhouse Attendent
Powerhouse Operator
Powerhouse Tender
Rectifier
Rectifier Operator
Station Operator
Station Tender
Stationary Engineer
Steam Turbine Operator
Turbine Operator
Turbine Room Attendant
Turbo Electric Operator
Turbo Operator
Unit Operator

National Wages and Employment Info

Median Wages (2008):
$31.79 hourly, $66,130 annual.
Employment (2008):
41,350 employees