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Powerhouse/Substation Electrician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Inspects, tests, repairs, or maintains electrical equipment in generating stations, substations, and in-service relays.

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


A person in this career:

  • Constructs, tests, maintains, and repairs substation relay and control systems.
  • Inspects and tests equipment and circuits to identify malfunctions or defects, using wiring diagrams and testing devices such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, or ammeters.
  • Consults manuals, schematics, wiring diagrams, and engineering personnel to troubleshoot and solve equipment problems and to determine optimum equipment functioning.
  • Notifies facility personnel of equipment shutdowns.
  • Opens and closes switches to isolate defective relays, performing adjustments or repairs.
  • Prepares and maintains records detailing tests, repairs, and maintenance.
  • Analyzes test data to diagnose malfunctions, to determine performance characteristics of systems, or to evaluate effects of system modifications.
  • Tests insulators and bushings of equipment by inducing voltage across insulation, testing current, and calculating insulation loss.
  • Repairs, replaces, and cleans equipment and components such as circuit breakers, brushes, and commutators.
  • Disconnects voltage regulators, bolts, and screws, and connects replacement regulators to high-voltage lines.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work at heights above 8 feet more than once a month on structures such as ladders, poles, scaffolding, and catwalks

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • 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

  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Relay Technician -- Performs electrical tests and repairs concerned with maintenance and performance evaluation of in-service relays to prevent and remedy abnormal behavior or failure of transmission and distribution lines and equipment.
  • Electrician, Powerhouse -- Repairs and maintains electrical equipment in generating station or powerhouse.
  • Electrician, Substation -- Inspects, tests, and maintains substation electrical equipment, such as oil circuit breakers and transformers.
  • Electrician's Mate --
  • Power Plant Electrician --
  • Power-Generation Equipment Repairer --
  • Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay Electrician --