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Powerhouse/Substation Electrician  What They Do

Just the Facts


Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay Career Video



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:

  • Inspects and tests equipment and circuits to identify malfunctions or defects, using wiring diagrams and testing devices such as ohmmeters, voltmeters, or ammeters.
  • Prepares and maintains records detailing tests, repairs, and maintenance.
  • Consults manuals, schematics, wiring diagrams, and engineering personnel to troubleshoot and solve equipment problems and to determine optimum equipment functioning.
  • Analyzes test data to diagnose malfunctions, to determine performance characteristics of systems, or to evaluate effects of system modifications.
  • Opens and closes switches to isolate defective relays, performing adjustments or repairs.
  • Notifies facility personnel of equipment shutdowns.
  • Repairs, replaces, and cleans equipment and components such as circuit breakers, brushes, and commutators.
  • Runs signal quality and connectivity tests for individual cables, and record results.
  • Maintains inventories of spare parts for all equipment, requisitioning parts as necessary.
  • Constructs, tests, maintains, and repairs substation relay and control systems.

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.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • 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 use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running 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 at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overtime work
  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Electrical and Instrumentation Technician (E & I Technician) --
  • Electrical Technician --
  • Instrument and Control Technician (I & C Technician) --
  • Instrumentation and Control Technician (I&C Technician) --
  • 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.
  • Substation Electrician --
  • Substation Mechanic --
  • Substation Technician --
  • Substation Wireman --
  • Wireman --