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Occupation information for

Power Plant Operators

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

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Currently Employed: 430

Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

Typical Hourly Wage: $40.59 - $50.88

Typical Annual Salary: $84,400 - $105,800

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typical training

Typical education needed for entry: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical work experience needed for a job in this occupation: None

Typical on-the-job training once you have a job in this occupation: Long-term on-the-job training

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typical job duties

  • Adjust controls to generate specified electrical power or to regulate the flow of power between generating stations and substations.
  • Monitor power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems.
  • Control generator output to match the phase, frequency, or voltage of electricity supplied to panels.
  • 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.
  • Control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, or reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment.
  • Operate, control, or monitor equipment, such as acid or gas carbon dioxide removal units, carbon dioxide compressors, or pipelines, to capture, store, or transport carbon dioxide exhaust.
  • Start or stop generators, auxiliary pumping equipment, turbines, or other power plant equipment as necessary.
  • Open and close valves and switches in sequence to start or shut down auxiliary units.
  • Communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate line voltages and transmission loads and frequencies.
  • Inspect records or log book entries or communicate with plant personnel to assess equipment operating status.

tools & technology

  • Electrical control panels for generators
  • Heat exchangers
  • Steam engines
  • Steam generators
  • Wet scrubbers

  • Electronic mail software
  • Industrial control software
  • Office suite software
  • Presentation software
  • Word processing software