Power Plant Operator Job Description

The Power Plant Operator controls, operates or maintains machinery to generate electrical power.

Primary Objectives:

  • The Power Plant Operator primary objective is to control and maintain auxiliary equipment.
  • The Power Plant Operator primary objective includes controlling the generator.
  • The Power Plant Operator primary objective is that in being capable of making adjustments or minor repairs or reporting when major repairs to keep plant constantly operational.

The Power Plant Operator adjusts controls to generate specified electrical power, or to regulate the flow of power between generating and stations and substations. The Power Plant Operator controls and maintains auxiliary equipment, such as pumps, fans, compressors, condensers, feed water heaters, filters and chlorinators, to supply water, fuel, lubricants, air and auxiliary power. The Power Plant Operator controls the generator output to match the phase, frequency, and voltage of electricity supplied to panels. The Power Plant Operator makes needed adjustments or minor repairs, such as tightening leaking gland and pipe joints. The Power Plant Operator must however report any major repairs that are needed right away to ensure that nothing stops the operations of the plant.

The Power Plant Operator monitors and inspects power plant equipment and indicators to detect evidence of operating problems. When an operating problem exists then he must immediately report to his superiors who will at that time order the maintenance crew to fix the problem before it gets out of hand. This could cause the loss of usage to others or perhaps even the plant being shut down if not attended to promptly. The Power Plant Operator opens and closes valves and switches in sequences upon signals from other workers in order to start or shut down auxiliary units.

The Power Plant Operator must operate or control power generating equipment, including boilers, turbines, generators, and reactors, using control boards or semi-automatic equipment. He must be very proficient in his duties for there is no room for errors. The Power Plant Operator knows how serious his work is and must be capable to place standby emergency electrical generators on line in emergency situations and monitor the temperature, output and lubrication of the system. The Power Plant Operator regulates equipment operations and conditions such as water levels, based on data from recording and indicating instruments or from computers. The Power Plant Operator replenishes electrolytes in batteries and oil in voltage transformers and resets tripped electric relays.

The Power Plant Operator starts or stops generators, auxiliary pumping equipment, turbines, and other power plant equipment, and connects or disconnects equipment from circuits. The Power Plant Operator takes readings from charts, meters and gauges at established intervals and takes corrective steps as necessary. The Power Plant Operator is expected to clean, lubricate and maintain equipment such as generators, turbines, pumps, and compressors in order to prevent equipment failure or deterioration. He collects oil, water, and electrolyte samples for laboratory analysis. The Power Plant Operator must communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate transmission loads and frequencies, and line voltages.

There are three classifications in the position of being a Power Plant Operator. The Power Plant Operator E is the intermediate level. He assists the shift operator while learning the operation and maintenance of a power plant Most Power Plant Operators start out in this position. The Power Plant Operator E9 is considered to be the experienced level. As a shift operator, the employee performs a full range of operator assignments using independent judgment to make decisions requiring the application of procedures and practices to specific work situations. The Power Plant Operator A is considered to be the advanced level. In this level he functions as a crew leader overseeing the work of lower-level Power Plant Operators, prisoner crews, or others and performs experienced-level assignments. Most Power Plant Operators progress through this series to the experienced level based on satisfactory performance and possession of the required experience.

The Power Plant Operator maintains the operation of such equipment as boilers, stokers, pumps, water softeners, water heaters, absorbers, centrifugal chillers, cooling towers, and purge pumps. The Power Plant Operator regulates dampers, dampers, water level in boilers and fuel supply; checks water gauges and steam gauges to see that sufficient steam is generated, regulates the flow of steam through the distribution system; maintains proper temperature of chilled and condensing water. He then analyzes water samples and adds chemicals as required. The Power Plant Operator oils, greases and adjusts machinery and equipment and makes minor repairs while maintaining consumption and production records.

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