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job descriptions

What does a Power Systems Operator do?

If you like being at the centre of the action, a career as a Power Systems Operator won’t disappoint you. It’s sort of like being an air traffic controller, but instead of airplanes you’re controlling the transmission and distribution of electrical power. You are at the centre of communications with the various electrical workers in the field, and your ‘mission control’ is the hub of a highly computerized and complex network. Your focus is to ensure the smooth operation of distribution circuits, power generation stations and substations, so you are constantly monitoring the grid. This means you need to be an expert multitasker.

Power Systems Operators must also be comfortable making quick and calm expert decisions in a number of different circumstances, including the pressure of an emergency situation such as a power outage. Fortunately, power outages don’t happen often…but BC can have extreme weather and terrain conditions that could knock out equipment in several places at once. As the person responsible for a certain portion of the power system, you must dispatch crews to different sites and be ready to switch out equipment when repairs are being made. Communications skills are critical and your spoken English has to be excellent. You must give clear and concise directions to guarantee the safety of the people in the field who are working to restore electrical power. These skills are also put to good use in keeping customers and co-workers informed on the status of a situation.

Everyone depends so much on electricity that Power Systems Operators are needed 24hrs a day, 365 days a year to keep things running at optimum performance. It’s a big responsibility that requires confidence, alertness and decisiveness…but it’s always nice to know that you’re indispensable.


What’s the commitment?

The Power Systems Operator Apprenticeship program consists of a maximum of 24 months of classroom, on-the-job technical training and self-study. Public utilities such as BC Transmission Corp. are the main employers and provide all the training related to this apprenticeship.


What do I need to apply?

Apprentices must be eligible to work in Canada.
A high school diploma or equivalent is required, including Gr 12 Math, English or Technical and Professional Communications, Gr 11 Physics.
An ability to work your way up and gain knowledge of the industry.

electricity council Trade Up Programs Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources BC HYDRO IBEW 258 Columbia power Fortis BC Copy Right 2008