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Power Distributor/Dispatcher  What They Do

Just the Facts


Coordinates, regulates, or distributes electricity or steam.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Power, Structural and Technical Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Responds to emergencies, such as transformer or transmission line failures, and routes current around affected areas.
  • Prepares switching orders that will isolate work areas without causing power outages, referring to drawings of power systems.
  • Controls, monitors, or operates equipment that regulates or distributes electricity or steam, using data obtained from instruments or computers.
  • Coordinates with engineers, planners, field personnel, or other utility workers to provide information such as clearances, switching orders, or distribution process changes.
  • Distributes or regulates the flow of power between entities, such as generating stations, substations, distribution lines, or users, keeping track of the status of circuits or connections.
  • Records and compiles operational data, such as chart or meter readings, power demands, or usage and operating times, using transmission system maps.
  • Manipulates controls to adjust or activate power distribution equipment or machines.
  • Calculates load estimates or equipment requirements to determine required control settings.
  • Tracks conditions that could affect power needs, such as changes in the weather, and adjusts equipment to meet any anticipated changes.
  • Directs personnel engaged in controlling or operating distribution equipment or machinery, such as instructing control room operators to start boilers or generators.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Feeder-Switchboard Operator -- Operates switchboard to control distribution of electric power over feeder circuits between generating station and substations of electric power system.
  • Load Dispatcher -- Coordinates activities of personnel engaged in operating generating stations, substations, and lines of electric power system or electrified railway system to ensure adequate production and distribution of electricity to meet power demands.
  • Motor-Room Controller -- Controls generation and distribution of electrical power from in-plant power station to plant facilities, such as rolling mills or machine shops, and maintains equipment in efficient and safe operating condition.
  • Substation Operator -- Controls equipment, such as current converters, voltage transformers, and circuit breakers, that regulate flow of electricity through substation of electric power system and over distribution lines to consumers.
  • Switchboard Operator -- Controls central switchboard in electric generating plant to distribute power output among generators according to generator capacity and power demands, and to regulate flow and distribution of power from generators to transmission power lines.
  • Switchboard Operator Assistant -- Compiles gauge readings and performs other tasks as directed by SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (utilities) in electric-generating plant.