Power plant operators control the machinery that makes electricity. They also control the flow of power over the lines.
Power plant operators control and monitor power plant machines such as:
Power plant operators adjust controls to distribute power demands among the generators. They make sure the plant follows safety rules and minimizes environmental impact. They also monitor the instruments that regulate the flow of electricity from the plant.
When consumer power needs change, operators start or stop the generators. Many operators use computers to keep records of switching operations and track the loads on generators and lines. They often use computers to prepare reports of unusual incidents and reports of malfunctions or repairs.
Operators in plants with automated control systems work mainly in a central control room. Others work throughout the plant checking valves, switches, and gauges.
In nuclear power plants, operators control equipment that affects the nuclear reactor. They oversee the operation of all the controls in the control room. They may test for different amounts or types of radiation. If there is an accident, they manage the clean-up effort.
For power plants that change coal to gas or liquid, operators may use equipment to remove carbon dioxide or recover sulfur. They may operate the gasification equipment that changes the coal to a liquid fuel.
Power distributors and dispatchers
Power distributors and dispatchers control the flow of electricity through the transmission lines. Some factories have power plants on site. Operators at these places may work on fuel cells or small generators called micro turbines.
Power distributors and dispatchers operate equipment that controls the flow of power. They operate:
- Circuit breakers
Power dispatchers monitor the equipment and record readings at specialized computers. They anticipate consumer power needs and call control room operators to start or stop boilers and generators. They handle emergencies such as line failures. They route current around the affected areas.
Dispatchers operate and monitor the equipment in substations. They control the flow of power in and out of the substations.