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NOC Code: NOC Code: 9241b Occupation: Power engineers and power systems operators
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
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, institutional and industrial plants and facilities. Power systems operators monitor and operate switchboards and related equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution of electrical power in transmission networks. They are employed by power generation plants, electrical power utilities, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities and government and commercial establishments. 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, institutional and industrial plants and facilities. Power systems operators monitor and operate switchboards and related equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution of electrical power in transmission networks. They are employed by power generation plants, electrical power utilities, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities and government and commercial establishments.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3 4
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading
  • Read short comments on inspection, test and electricity stoppage or outage report forms and handwritten notes from co-workers. (1)
  • Read trade publications such as newsletters from the Canadian Electrical Association and the Electrical Safety Authority to stay abreast of industry events, identify emerging safety and environmental issues, and learn about new equipment. (2)
  • Read email on a variety of topics from supervisors and co-workers. For example, read email from supervisors describing power equipment status, requesting information and notifying them of changes to existing policies or procedures. (2)
  • Read previous shifts' log notes to locate information about unusual occurrences such as anomalies in generation and distribution systems, and upcoming work such as bulk deliveries, unit overhauls and power outages. (2)
  • Read accident and incident investigation reports. For example, read about accidents involving generation operators. Review these reports looking for information which may teach you how to prevent or handle similar incidents in the future. (3)
  • Read and review manuals which contain the protocols and procedures needed to operate generation and power distribution systems. For example, refer to the manuals to review steps to manage spills or other environmental hazards. (3)
  • Read operating manuals for generation or distribution equipment. Refer to these technical manuals to learn how to troubleshoot malfunctions and identify normal values for each operating parameter. (3)
  • Review draft operating procedures to give feedback on their clarity and ease of application. For example, a fossil operating technician may review draft procedures for isolating, locking down and tagging faulty equipment. (4)
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Writing
  • Write email to co-workers and colleagues to request information, coordinate activities and respond to enquiries. (1)
  • Write short descriptions of equipment faults on work order or test permit forms addressed to electrical and mechanical maintenance crews. (1)
  • Write comments into work logs to keep a record of what occurred during shifts, actions taken and outstanding tasks that need to be completed by operators on subsequent shifts. (2)
  • Write brief submissions to supervisors and managers to suggest changes in operating procedures. In these submissions, explain how the proposed changes could save time and money. (2)
  • Write short reports detailing test results or special events such as equipment shutdowns or system outages. These reports vary in length and complexity, but each of them describes how the test or event was planned, executed, monitored and its outcomes. (3)
  • Prepare comprehensive procedures to be used when inspecting, operating or testing power equipment. These procedures establish the rules and steps to be followed when accomplishing tasks. These procedures must be explicit and precise to rule out any ambiguities. (3)
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Document Use
  • Read signs identifying types of personal protective equipment to wear in specific areas. (1)
  • Refer to lists to obtain emergency contact names and telephone numbers. (1)
  • Scan tags on electrical equipment to verify voltages, manufacturers' names, models and capacities. (1)
  • Read shift schedules to determine work locations, times and duties. (2)
  • Obtain information from sketches, pictures or icons on supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA). For example, power distribution systems may be presented as schematics on display screens. (2)
  • Review work order forms completed by electrical and mechanical maintenance crews. Search labelled sections of each form to locate information about types of work done, equipment locations and maintenance crew involved. (3)
  • Complete inspection, test and electricity stoppage or outage report forms. For example, to fill in system test forms, enter checkmarks, gauge and meter readings, and short sentences to describe any unusual readings. (3)
  • Take information from scale drawings when troubleshooting faulty equipment or assisting maintenance crews on equipment repairs and overhauls. For example, look at assembly drawings to understand how boilers are assembled. Interpret scale maps of power lines to determine routing possibilities. (3)
  • Review schematic drawings of mechanical and electrical systems to understand their operation. In some cases, make changes to schematic drawings to reflect modifications to equipment and processes. (3)
  • Interpret information from graphs to identify fluctuations in operating system levels, depict electricity consumption by area, compare generation levels to demand, ensure that measurements and readings are within acceptable operating ranges and trace the origin of equipment faults. Combine information from several graphs to monitor the generation or distribution of electrical power. (4)
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Digital Technology
  • Perform keyword searches to get information about electrical generating stations and equipment from the Internet. Use directories on intranets to access environmental data, procedures, operating manuals, and health and safety information. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, write, edit and format text for reports, procedures and other documents. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, enter, view and retrieve equipment maintenance, test and outage data. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, enter data into existing spreadsheet templates to track the flows of electrical power in transmission networks. (2)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, use supervisory control and data acquisition systems to monitor equipment readings and to assess systems' operational status. (3)
  • Use communication software to create and maintain distribution lists, receive correspondence and send email and attachments to supervisors and co-workers. Relay information to field crews via Blackberries or text pagers. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Talk to suppliers or purchasing departments to order or inquire about personal protective equipment and office supplies. (1)
  • Give directions to electrical and mechanical maintenance crews and discuss equipment failures and repairs with them. For example, a power station operator may give background information about a malfunctioning generator. (2)
  • Interact with outgoing shift operators to discuss events such as equipment shutdowns or system outages that have happened during shifts. Discuss tasks which are scheduled for upcoming shifts and indicate their priority. (2)
  • Meet with supervisors to obtain guidance and approvals, and discuss performance targets, work assignments, equipment failures and other significant occurrences such as electrical storms or flooding. Meet with supervisors and managers to present analyses and recommendations for the shutdown, repair or purchase of equipment. (3)
  • Participate in meetings with other operators and supervisors to discuss the current status of generation or transmission systems, policy and procedure changes, health and safety hazards, test results and upcoming equipment repairs. At these meetings, you may be asked to present procedures you have developed or reports you have written. (3)
  • Interact with co-workers, colleagues and clients to coordinate tasks and transactions. For example, power systems operators stay in close contact with power station operators to ensure enough power is being generated to meet distribution demands. Power station operators communicate with power systems operators and buyers to regulate and coordinate transmission loads, frequencies and line voltages. (3)
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Money Math
  • Calculate line amounts, taxes and totals on purchase requisitions. (2)
  • Calculate travel claim amounts. Calculate reimbursements for the use of personal vehicles at per kilometre rates and add amounts for accommodation, meals and other expenses. (2)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Determine crew requirements and set schedules for the routine inspection and testing of generation or distribution equipment. (2)
  • Schedule power station and transmission system loading and the importing and exporting of electricity to meet distribution demands during daily operations. There are fluctuations in the demand and availability of electricity, so transmission loads must be adjusted accordingly. (3)
  • Prepare and monitor schedules which identify activities and target completion times for power plant equipment shutdowns, planned outages and repairs. Ensure that no service area is left without power longer than originally scheduled and that electricity is available for the transmission networks as needed. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure the volumes of coolant or oil to be poured into machinery by referring to graduations on the sides of containers. (1)
  • Calculate amperages, line voltages and resistances using Ohm's law. (2)
  • Take measurements from scale maps to obtain the distances covered by power lines between generation and distribution equipment. (2)
  • Take precise measurements of water levels on either side of debris using string gauges and automated monitoring systems to detect blockages. (3)
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Data Analysis
  • Assess the accuracy of computer monitoring system readings. Compare system readings with analog and digital readings over several shifts to identify erroneous reporting. Count the number of times alarms went off and the number of false alarms. (2)
  • Monitor temperature, fluid, pressure and other gauge readings on a variety of equipment and operating systems to verify if they are within acceptable ranges and identify the need for equipment recalibration and repair. (2)
  • Collect and analyse data on power usage and generation levels. For example, compare the amounts of electricity used in given areas over certain periods of time to depict trends in consumption. Compare amounts of electricity coming into systems to amounts of electricity going out to assess equilibrium. Then determine generation levels required to meet projected demands based on these analyses. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the time needed by work crews for various maintenance tasks using past experience as a guide. (1)
  • Estimate how long it will take for water to return to pre-release levels by considering factors such as the amounts of water released and precipitation levels. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Power systems and power station operators have to complete a set of routine tasks within their shifts to ensure adherence to operational standards. However, the order in which they perform their tasks is dependant upon what happens during shifts. They must be able to react quickly to situations as they arise and manage priorities. Equipment breakdowns, shortages of maintenance crews, delays in repairs, unplanned outages, storms, floods and other emergencies force them to frequently reorganize job tasks. Power systems and power station operators assist their supervisors in organizing, planning, scheduling and monitoring the activities of mechanical and electrical maintenance crews. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Decide when probes and filters should be changed, and when lubricants should be added to operating equipment. Perform visual checks and consider factors such as the time of the year and the amount of water flowing through systems. (2)
  • Decide which tasks to assign to which field crews. Consider crews' skill levels, experience with particular equipment and ability to work quickly and safely. (2)
  • Decide when to bump up generation capacities due to anticipated increases in demand. Make these decisions based on previous usage rates. Poor decision making may incur unnecessary operating expenses. (3)
  • Decide to shut down power units because of equipment malfunctions and anomalies. Consider factors such as the nature of the failures and potential hazards to personnel and the environment. Failure to make the right decisions may result in emissions or leaks and heavy penalties for the organization. (4)
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Problem Solving
  • Face equipment failures which constitute safety hazards. Advise supervisors and isolate equipment so it can be repaired or replaced by maintenance staff. (1)
  • Face shortages of maintenance crews when work needs to be done on generators, transformers, switching gear and other equipment. Review work orders and identify crews that can be removed from low-priority tasks to enable the needed maintenance to be completed first. (2)
  • You are notified that operators for upcoming shifts have called in sick. Contact on-call employees to check their availabilities. If you cannot find replacement workers, fill in the next shift yourself. (2)
  • Face unscheduled power outages which adversely affect clients. Locate faulty equipment and direct power restoration operations to get systems back on line as soon and as safely as possible. Should a generator cease to be operational, a power systems operator may reroute electricity and increase the capacity of other generators. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Refer to textbooks to find mathematical formulas. (1)
  • Find historical operating data such as temperature, gauge and meter readings by searching databases. (2)
  • Refer to procedures manuals to find the steps needed to manage emergencies. (2)
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Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of planned outages. Consider the perspectives of work crews and consumers and the possible financial ramifications of shutting power down within service areas for specified periods of time. (2)
  • Evaluate the sufficiency and quality of repair work done by mechanical and electrical maintenance crews. Review work orders to verify that specified tasks have been performed, test repaired equipment to determine if it is functioning correctly and visually inspect work areas to ensure there is no dirt and debris remaining. (3)
  • Evaluate the completeness and clarity of procedures that have been written for the inspection, operation and testing of power equipment. Ensure that crucial information has not been omitted and wording is not open to misinterpretation. (3)
  • Assess the appropriateness and efficiency of various rerouting options to accommodate scheduled power outages. Consider factors such as capacity levels of equipment along the routes and the likelihood of overloads and determine the best course of action to minimize inconvenience and loss for customers. (3)
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