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Career profile Power System Dispatcher

Also known as Control Operator, Distribution Dispatcher, Distribution System Operator, Electric System Operator, Power System Dispatcher, Power System Operator, System Operator, Transmission System Operator

Power System Dispatcher

Also known as Control Operator, Distribution Dispatcher, Distribution System Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$58,450 - $129,010 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Respond to emergencies, such as transformer or transmission line failures, and route current around affected areas.
  • Prepare switching orders that will isolate work areas without causing power outages, referring to drawings of power systems.
  • Control, monitor, or operate equipment that regulates or distributes electricity or steam, using data obtained from instruments or computers.
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What does a Power System Dispatcher do?

Power System Dispatchers coordinate, regulate, or distribute electricity or steam.

What kind of tasks does a Power System Dispatcher perform regularly?

Power System Dispatchers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Respond to emergencies, such as transformer or transmission line failures, and route current around affected areas.
  • Prepare switching orders that will isolate work areas without causing power outages, referring to drawings of power systems.
  • Control, monitor, or operate equipment that regulates or distributes electricity or steam, using data obtained from instruments or computers.
  • Coordinate with engineers, planners, field personnel, or other utility workers to provide information such as clearances, switching orders, or distribution process changes.
  • Distribute or regulate the flow of power between entities, such as generating stations, substations, distribution lines, or users, keeping track of the status of circuits or connections.
  • Manipulate controls to adjust or activate power distribution equipment or machines.
  • Record and compile operational data, such as chart or meter readings, power demands, or usage and operating times, using transmission system maps.
  • Track conditions that could affect power needs, such as changes in the weather, and adjust equipment to meet any anticipated changes.
  • Calculate load estimates or equipment requirements to determine required control settings.

The above responsibilities are specific to Power System Dispatchers. More generally, Power System Dispatchers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is a Power System Dispatcher salary?

The median salary for a Power System Dispatcher is $95,100, and the average salary is $93,260. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Power System Dispatcher salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Power System Dispatchers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Power System Dispatchers earn less than $58,450 per year, 25% earn less than $75,850, 75% earn less than $109,260, and 90% earn less than $129,010.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Power System Dispatchers is expected to change by -7.0%, and there should be roughly 800 open positions for Power System Dispatchers every year.

Median annual salary
$95,100
Typical salary range
$58,450 - $129,010
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-7.0%

What personality traits are common among Power System Dispatchers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Power System Dispatcher are usually higher in their Realistic, Investigative, and Conventional interests.

Power System Dispatchers typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Power System Dispatchers typically have strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Lastly, Power System Dispatchers typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Power System Dispatchers typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Power System Dispatcher tend to value Support, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Power System Dispatchers very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Power System Dispatchers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Power System Dispatchers moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Power System Dispatchers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and stress tolerance.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Power System Dispatchers, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Power System Dispatchers need?

Power System Dispatchers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Power System Dispatchers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Power System Dispatchers

  • 1.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 30.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.3% completed some college coursework
  • 18.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 16.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Power System Dispatchers

Power System Dispatchers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as public safety and security, engineering and technology, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Power System Dispatchers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Power System Dispatchers

Power System Dispatchers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Power System Dispatchers need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Power System Dispatchers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Critical Skills needed by Power System Dispatchers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Power System Dispatchers frequently use skills like active listening, critical thinking, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Power System Dispatchers, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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