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Details for Power Plant Operators


Description

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

Tasks

  • Replenish electrolytes in batteries and oil in voltage transformers, and reset tripped electric relays.
  • Collect oil, water, and electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Receive outage calls and call in necessary personnel during power outages and emergencies.
  • Communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate transmission loads and frequencies, and line voltages.
  • Examine and test electrical power distribution machinery and equipment, using testing devices.
  • Inspect records and log book entries, and communicate with other plant personnel, in order to assess equipment operating status.
  • Record and compile operational data, completing and maintaining forms, logs, and reports.
  • Start or stop generators, auxiliary pumping equipment, turbines, and other power plant equipment, and connect or disconnect equipment from circuits.
  • Take readings from charts, meters and gauges at established intervals, and take corrective steps as necessary.
  • Clean, lubricate, and maintain equipment such as generators, turbines, pumps, and compressors in order to prevent equipment failure or deterioration.
  • Adjust controls to generate specified electrical power, or to regulate the flow of power between generating stations and substations.
  • Control and maintain auxiliary equipment, such as pumps, fans, compressors, condensers, feedwater heaters, filters, and chlorinators, to supply water, fuel, lubricants, air, and auxiliary power.
  • Control generator output to match the phase, frequency, and voltage of electricity supplied to panels.
  • Make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking gland and pipe joints; report any needs for major repairs.
  • Monitor and inspect power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems.
  • Open and close valves and switches in sequence upon signals from other workers, in order to start or shut down auxiliary units.
  • Operate or control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, and reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment.
  • Place standby emergency electrical generators on line in emergencies and monitor the temperature, output, and lubrication of the system.
  • Regulate equipment operations and conditions such as water levels, based on data from recording and indicating instruments or from computers.

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.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.

Knowledge

  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Skills

  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Related Careers

  • Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists
  • Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic
  • Gas Compressor and Gas Pumping Station Operators
  • Gas Plant Operators
  • Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
  • Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators
Wages for this career
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