Best Paying Jobs in Public Utilities: A public utility company (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service (often also providing a service using that infrastructure). Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to statewide government monopolies.
Public utilities are meant to supply goods/services that are considered essential; water, gas, electricity, telephone, and other communication systems represent much of the public utility market. The transmission lines used in the transportation of electricity, or natural gas pipelines, have natural monopoly characteristics. If the infrastructure already exists in a given area, the minimal benefit is gained through competition. In other words, these industries are characterized by economies of scale in production.
A utility worker performs general maintenance tasks, often for a public space or a plant that oversees a public utility, like power or water. These positions usually require physical labor and lifting, and depending on the industry may include the operation of specialized equipment or vehicles. Typical duties involve cleaning facilities, repairing and maintaining equipment, and more.
The public utility offers many rewarding careers with excellent benefits and opportunities for advancement;
1. Nuclear Licensing Engineer
Nuclear power provides a world of scientific possibilities but is less than forgiving when things go wrong. The job as a Nuclear Licensing Engineer requires you to keep up to date on the latest safety rules, and there are a lot of them. From rules on how the power plant or research lab should be set up and maintained, down to the permits and licenses it needs to stay open, you keep records of it all. The laws are always changing, and you spend time as a Nuclear Licensing Engineer, reading about them, requesting more information, and finding ways to keep your employer’s company on the path of safety.
Assisting in the successful implementation of licensing actions
Coordinating with design personnel to ensure designs and design changes meet regulatory requirements
Preparing, reviewing, and maintaining licensing documentation in compliance with regulations and strict quality assurance standards
Interfacing with technical discipline teams, partners, and contractors
Preparing and examining technical material designed by themselves and others
Reviewing correspondence to and from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Drafting and assisting with safety analysis report (SAR) revisions and preparation
Preparing or examining the safety and environmental evaluation
salary: $76,000-$145,500 yearly
2. Nuclear Criticality Safety Engineer
As a nuclear criticality safety engineer, you’ll be responsible for conducting research and analyzing methods of transporting, managing, and storing nuclear material to avoid a nuclear-related accident.
You investigate and examine nuclear fuel characteristics and calculation papers, as well as analyze nuclear plant fuel transfer and storage plans. Other responsibilities include detecting possible risks and places in a nuclear facility that may violate rules, devising new transport or storage ways, writing proposal papers outlining your ideas, and submitting these reports to the government review board.
Understanding nuclear, radiological, and chemical safety requirements, guidance, and standards from the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP) and the Department of Energy (DOE)
Understanding examination operations, equipment, and processes
Evaluating nuclear, radiological, and chemical hazards, developing creative prevention or mitigation strategies, and formally documenting technical conclusions.
Advocate for safety-in-design as the nuclear safety expert on design teams.
Collaborating with and advising design teams, analysts, operations, other stakeholders, and Naval Reactors on safety-related topics.
Providing other support as assigned within the Exams Recapitalization Program.
Interface with a multi-site, multi-disciplined group of team members, subject matter experts, and stakeholders.
Salary: $89,000-$124,000 yearly
3. Petroleum Pump System Operators
A petroleum pump system operator is someone who sets up, tends, operates, and controls petroleum refining units at a petroleum refinery or a large ship pumping station. They control the operation of petroleum refining and processing units. This task is performed by operating steam or electric-driven pumps to circulate crude, semi-processed, and finished petroleum products, water, and chemical solution through processing, storage, and shipping departments. They must work as a team with other operators to maintain a large operation.
Control pumping systems to circulate liquids through a refinery.
Move product through lines to processing and shipping units.
Open and close valves.
Operate steam or electric-driven pumps to circulate crude, semi-processed, and finished petroleum products, water, and chemical solution through processing, storage, and shipping departments.
Check temperatures and gauges.
Record how much is pumped and what stocks were used.
Read operating schedules.
Take directions from the dispatcher.
Synchronize activities with other pumphouses to ensure a continuous flow of products.
Ensure minimal contamination between products.
Turn handwheels to open line valves.
Monitor process indicators, instruments, gauges, and meters.
Regulate the flow of oil into pipelines.
Coordinate and regulate process variables.
Operate auxiliary equipment.
Control multiple processing units.
Verify products are moving through the correct meters.
Ensure meters are functioning properly.
Record logs and test results.
Read automatic gauges at specified intervals.
Control manifold and pumping systems.
Salary: $49,420-$104,470 yearly
4. Power System Dispatcher
A power system dispatcher directs the distribution of electricity between providers and consumers, both residential and commercial. As a power system dispatcher, you monitor generator systems to ensure optimal efficiency and determine how much power is needed for each day. Discretion is particularly vital during extreme weather conditions, such as heatwaves or snowstorms. Other job duties include responding to calls of shortages or repairs and coordinating crews out to the location to fix the problem.
Distribute and regulate the flow of power between entities such as generating stations, substations, distribution lines, and users, keeping track of the status of circuits and connections.
Inspect equipment to ensure that specifications are met, and to detect any defect
Manipulate controls to adjust and activate power distribution equipment and machines.
Monitor and record switchboard and control board readings to ensure that electrical or steam distribution equipment is operating properly.
Record and compile operational data, such as chart and meter readings, power demands, and usage and operating times, using transmission system maps.
Direct personnel engaged in controlling and operating distribution equipment and machinery, for example, instructing control room operators to start boilers and generators.
Prepare switching orders that will isolate work areas without causing power outages, referring to drawings of power systems.
Repair, maintain, and clean equipment and machinery, using hand tools.
Accept and implement energy schedules, including real-time transmission reservations and schedules.
Calculate and determine load estimates or equipment requirements, to determine required control settings.
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, and other utility workers to provide information such as clearances, switching orders, and distribution process change.
Respond to emergencies, such as transformer or transmission line failures, and route current around affected areas.
Tend auxiliary equipment used in the power distribution process.
Track conditions that could affect power needs, such as changes in the weather, and adjust equipment to meet any anticipated changes.
5. Power Plant Operators
A power plant operator controls the various systems required to run a power plant to produce electricity. They work in a control room that contains status information about various components that are needed to produce electricity and this information must be closely monitored. This information allows power plant operators to control the voltage and electricity flow from the plant.
Operates plant equipment to generate enough electrical power to meet demand; regulates the flow of power between generating stations and substations.
Uses software, tools, and other devices to control and change equipment settings.
Monitors plants and dams and coordinates stream flow to meet power demands.
Regulates transmission loads, frequencies, and line voltages.
Performs preventive and required maintenance and troubleshoots equipment problems; tasks may include testing auto-start features or repacking valves.
Inspects turbines, generators, boilers, and other equipment; makes necessary repairs or modifications.
Cleans lubricates and maintains parts and equipment to prevent failure and degradation.
Drafts and maintains documentation related to equipment, rainfall data, and general operating instructions and schedules.
Maintains knowledge of plant operation best practices and safety protocols, which may include active participation in refresher and new training coursework.
The duties of a gas controller include operating pipelines to ensure customers receive proper gas or oil flow requirements. As a gas controller, you work with gas and oil companies to ensure major problems do not occur, monitor live pipeline pressure data, and identify and respond to abnormal flow volume and emergency readings. You adjust settings in gas chambers like temperature, pressure, and flow rate. You record and review records of the overall operation, and test equipment to ensure accuracy. Other responsibilities include maintaining, repairing, and cleaning equipment, or hiring a crew to do this. You reinforce safety guidelines, conduct safety checks, and oversee oil and gas transport. Some collaboration with other workers occurs, especially while problem-solving.
Develop budget estimates by performing accurate quantity take-offs using plans and specifications, or conceptual information.
Review, interpret and accurately estimate the scope of assigned work as described in the project documents.
Apply unit costs and productivity rates, as provided by the supervisor.
Solicit and collect subcontractor and vendor bids and/or quotations.
Communicate effectively with subcontractor and client to meet project schedule deadlines.
Prepare subcontractor analysis sheets for the assigned scope of work.
Evaluate changes and subcontractor change order estimates.
Provide expertise in all phases of construction work.
Perform other duties that are reasonably associated with the above essential functions and additional duties assigned by the supervisor.
salary: $77,000-$120,000 yearly
7. Water Engineer
Water engineer is a generic title given to engineers who specialize in water-based projects. Many have a civil engineering or environmental background. Water engineers are responsible for the supply of clean water, the disposal of wastewater and sewage, and the prevention of flood damage.
The provision of clean water is the main concern of water engineers but they also work with a variety of other liquid as well. Asset management will play a major part in your work and you’ll be involved in the repair, maintenance, and building of structures that control water resources. Examples include sea defense walls, pumping stations, and reservoirs.
They also get involved in broader water-related issues, such as global warming, aging infrastructure, population growth, and quality of living standards.
design overall schemes, such as sewer improvement schemes or flood defense programs, and associated structures, such as pumping stations, pipework, and earthworks (the scale of the design may range from an initial outline to a full, detailed design)
prepare tender documents as a basis for construction
review technical submissions
liaise with various bodies and individuals, including local authorities, government agencies, clients, contractors, residents, suppliers, technical experts, and other consultants
work collaboratively with other businesses
support other project managers and directors within the business and across the wider market
keep up to date with environmental matters, and be aware of policy and developments in this area
present technical data or project results to both technical and non-technical clients and colleagues
monitor the progress of projects from beginning to end – from design through to construction and handover – or supervise one section of a large project
control budgets at the project level
administer contracts and ensure that work is completed by the deadline
supervise the operation and maintenance of water and sewerage infrastructure
use computer simulations to analyze, for example, potential dam failure
devise flood defense strategies, perhaps including river and flood plain modeling, economic studies, and consultation with affected people
monitor flood levels at times of high risk
manage staff, including other engineers, technicians, and site workers
maintain and expand the portfolio of clients by developing professional relationships that lead to secure repeat business.
Salary: $59820-$153200 yearly
8. Radiation Engineer
The duties of a radiation engineer are to conduct experiments that test and evaluate radiation effects in a variety of settings. Their responsibilities include providing theoretical analysis based on a test they perform in an experimental environment. Professionals in this career often focus on the performance of systems, equipment, or networks during and after radiation exposure. While reporting their findings, a radiation engineer may suggest layouts, parts, and designs that meet requirements for operating under realistic levels of radiation.
ensure that radiation safety regulations are observed
draw up and implement radiation protection policies and procedures
monitor and maintain records of radiological and environmental conditions
develop and review radiation protection systems and inspect their operation
liaise with management and the workforce (including plant managers, designers, engineers, laboratory staff, academics, accountants, and other health and safety professionals) on matters of radiation safety and legislation
ensure all staff are fully trained and supervised
provide a dosimetry service and measure radiation, using both basic and complex scientific equipment
assess radiation risks in the workplace and advise on the design of the plant, equipment, and waste disposal to ensure safety
ensure all equipment and devices are maintained properly
assess the impact of releasing radioactive material on the environment
advise on the safe transport of radioactive materials
prepare emergency plans and contingency procedures for responding to radiation incidents
lead and coordinate inquiries into accidents or incidents
visit companies to provide radiation protection consultancy and write reports based on these visits
liaise with inspectorates and other bodies
identify training needs and lecture and/or train other staff
Salary: $72,500-$118,500 yearly
9. Utility Manager
Public utility managers audit operations to ensure that they provide utilities to residents and businesses at the lowest possible cost. As a utility manager, you oversee facilities that provide necessary services to residents in a city, town, or region, such as water treatment facilities, electrical plants, and telecommunications organizations. Your duties include managing water, sewer, or power systems. You ensure that infrastructure is up-to-date, inspect facilities, and order maintenance and repairs if necessary. Your responsibilities also include coordinating with response teams in the event of an unplanned shutdown and looking for ways to lower costs or improve service quality.
Ensure all job responsibilities
Responsible for operation, maintenance, efficiency tracking, and improvement of powerhouse equipment (i.e., chillers, compressors, boilers)
Lead site implementation of utility services continuous improvement process
Monitors the implementation of necessary safety traffic control and erosion control measures consistent with contract documents and applicable guidelines at the construction site
Monitors follow-up and responses to citizen complaints, City Management, and City Council Member requests
Develops and executes all phases of the sales plan
Power Transmission Engineers plan and develop new routes for delivering energy from sources to homes, businesses, and public spaces.
The primary tasks of a power transmission engineer are to plan energy transmission routes. You will play a critical role in the electricity infrastructure system in this job. Your responsibilities include surveying maps and GIS data to determine the optimal transmission line routing from the energy source (e.g., a power plant) to the end customer (e.g. home, building, street light, etc.).
You must be able to create the most effective route while still adhering to safety and environmental regulations. A power transmission engineer supervises the building of the power system in addition to the design and logistics of the power system.
Possess efficient verbal and written communication skills
Acquire keen attention to detail
Ability to execute functional tests on power transmission components and perform calibrations
Utilize specialized computer software programs to perform electrical tests and design computer-based, models
Perform troubleshooting in electrical circuits and transmissions
Worksites may require some travel and include physically strenuous situations
Install, repair, and test a multitude of electrical components such as circuit breakers, insulators, conductors, transformers, and panels
Ability to read and produce drawings and develop design opportunities
Conscious and concerned for health and safety and relative personal protective equipment
Salary: $70,000-$114,000 yearly
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