What does a Power Plant Operator do?

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

Jobs Roles

  • Monitor power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems.
  • Adjust controls to generate specified electrical power or to regulate the flow of power between generating stations and substations.
  • Control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, or reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment.
  • Regulate equipment operations and conditions, such as water levels, based on instrument data or from computers.
  • Take regulatory action, based on readings from charts, meters and gauges, at established intervals.
  • Start or stop generators, auxiliary pumping equipment, turbines, or other power plant equipment as necessary.
  • Inspect records or log book entries or communicate with plant personnel to assess equipment operating status.
  • 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.
  • Clean, lubricate, or maintain equipment, such as generators, turbines, pumps, or compressors, to prevent failure or deterioration.
  • Communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate line voltages and transmission loads and frequencies.
  • Record and compile operational data by completing and maintaining forms, logs, or reports.
  • Open and close valves and switches in sequence to start or shut down auxiliary units.
  • Collect oil, water, or electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Make adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking gland and pipe joints.
  • Control generator output to match the phase, frequency, or voltage of electricity supplied to panels.
  • Place standby emergency electrical generators on line in emergencies and monitor the temperature, output, and lubrication of the system.
  • Receive outage calls and request necessary personnel during power outages or emergencies.
  • Examine and test electrical power distribution machinery and equipment, using testing devices.
  • Replenish electrolytes in batteries and oil in voltage transformers, and reset tripped electric relays.
  • Inspect thermal barrier coatings on integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) equipment for sintering, phase destabilization, or temperature variances to ensure compliance with standards and insulation efficiency.
  • Operate or maintain distributed power generation equipment, including fuel cells or microturbines, to produce energy on-site for manufacturing or other commercial purposes.
  • Operate, control, or monitor equipment, such as acid or gas carbon dioxide removal units, carbon dioxide compressors, and pipelines, to capture, store, or transport carbon dioxide exhaust.
  • Operate, control, or monitor gasifiers or related equipment, such as coolers, water quenches, water gas shifts reactors, or sulfur recovery units, to produce syngas or electricity from coal.
  • Operate, control, or monitor integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) or related equipment, such as air separation units, to generate electricity from coal.
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