Power Engineers and Power Systems Operators

(NOC 9241)

in All Manufacturing and Utilities

Power engineers, also known as stationary engineers, operate and maintain reactors, turbines, boilers, generators, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment to generate electrical power and to provide heat, light, refrigeration and other utility services for commercial, institutional and industrial plants and facilities. Power systems operators monitor and operate computerized switchboards and related equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution of electrical power in transmission networks. They are employed by power generation plants, electrical power utilities, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities and government and commercial establishments.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate decline employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 40 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 1275 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline moderately over the next few years, which will likely limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Power Engineers and Power Systems Operators most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 69% of Power Engineers and Power Systems Operators who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $73,932. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$16.00

Minimum

$26.00

Median

$41.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$21,277

Minimum

$68,260

Median

$118,760

Maximum

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

Hourly Pay

$12.00

Minimum

$18.75

Median

$30.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$6,056

Minimum

$30,111

Median

$70,518

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Power engineers, also known as stationary engineers, operate and maintain reactors, turbines, boilers, generators, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment to generate electrical power and to provide heat, light, refrigeration and other utility services for commercial, institutional and industrial plants and facilities. Power systems operators monitor and operate computerized switchboards and related equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution of electrical power in transmission networks. They are employed by power generation plants, electrical power utilities, manufacturing plants, hospitals, universities and government and commercial establishments.

Job duties

Power engineers perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate automated or computerized control systems, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment such as reactors, boilers, turbines, generators, pumps, compressors, pollution control devices and other equipment to generate electrical power and to provide light, heat, ventilation and refrigeration for buildings, industrial plants and other work sites.
  • Start up and shut down power plant equipment, control switching operations, regulate water levels and communicate with systems operators to regulate and coordinate transmission loads, frequency and line voltages.
  • Monitor and inspect plant equipment, computer terminals, switches, valves, gauges, alarms, meters and other instruments to measure temperature, pressure and fuel flow, to detect leaks or other equipment malfunctions and to ensure plant equipment is operating at maximum efficiency.
  • Analyze and record instrument readings and equipment malfunctions.
  • Troubleshoot and perform corrective action and minor repairs to prevent equipment or system failure.
  • Clean and lubricate generators, turbines, pumps and compressors and perform other routine equipment maintenance duties using appropriate lubricants and hand, power and precision tools.
  • Maintain a daily log of operation, maintenance and safety activities, and write reports on plant operation.
  • May assist in the development of operation, maintenance and safety procedures.

Power systems operators perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate and monitor computerized switchboards and auxiliary equipment in electrical control centres to control the distribution and to regulate the flow of electrical power in the transmission network.
  • Coordinate, schedule and direct generating station and substation power loads and line voltages to meet distribution demands during daily operations, system outages, repairs and importing or exporting of power.
  • Monitor and visually inspect station instruments, meters and alarms to ensure transmission voltages and line loadings are within prescribed limits and to detect equipment failure, line disturbances and outages.
  • Issue work and test permits to electrical and mechanical maintenance personnel, assist maintenance and technical personnel to locate and isolate system problems, and assist during routine system testing.
  • Complete and maintain station records, logs and reports

Sample job titles

  • auxiliary plant operator
  • plant maintenance stationary engineer
  • power engineer
  • power station operator - electrical power systems
  • power system operator
  • refrigeration plant operator
  • stationary engineer
  • stationary power engineer

Skills

This work requires accuracy, attention to detail, good mechanical aptitude, and mathematical ability. You must be alert, reliable, and capable of working with minimal supervision. Verbal communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills are needed, as well as the ability to follow instructions. You should be agile, coordinated, and in good physical condition.

Job requirements

  • Completion of high school is usually required.
  • Power engineers require a college training program in stationary or power engineering and several years of work experience in the field.
  • Power engineers require a provincial or territorial power engineering or stationary engineering certificate according to class.
  • Stationary engineer trade certification according to class (4th, 3rd, 2nd or 1st class) is compulsory in Nova Scotia.
  • Power systems operators require completion of a three- to five-year power system operator apprenticeship program or over three years of work experience in the trade and some college or industry courses in electrical and electronic technology.
  • Control room operators at nuclear power plants require licensing from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Other considerations

People in these jobs are usually required to do shiftwork. The wage rate for apprentices is usually a percentage of the journeyperson rate, increasing upon completion of each stage of the apprenticeship program. There is little mobility between nuclear power generation station operators and other classic or alternative power generation station operators. Progression from lower to higher classes for stationary or power engineers is dependent on further training and experience. Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

By the numbers

Quick look

1,010

employed in 2016

94.5%

employed full-time

1.0%

self employed

2.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
97.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
50.4

median age

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

15,275

employed in 2016

86.6%

employed full-time

3.1%

self employed

27.6%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
72.4%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
44.7

median age

Where will I likely work?

33.9%

Halifax

23.0%

Cape Breton

22.2%

Northern

10.9%

Annapolis Valley

9.6%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

28.1%

Utilities

14.3%

Health Care and Social Assistance

12.8%

Public Administration

5.4%

Food and Beverage Product Manufacturing

5.4%

Paper Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

31.1%

45-54

21.9%

55-64

19.2%

35-44

16.6%

25-34

6.0%

65+

5.3%

15-24

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

41.6%

45-54

28.6%

55-64

20.8%

35-44

5.2%

25-34

2.6%

15-24

Top levels of education

47.8%

College certificate or diploma

$67,760 median annual income
31.7%

Trades certificate

$65,409 median annual income
7.6%

Bachelor's degree

$63,155 median annual income
6.7%

High school

$43,615 median annual income
3.1%

University certificate or diploma

$69,512 median annual income

Compared to: All Manufacturing and Utilities

38.1%

High school

$28,358 median annual income
22.9%

Less than high school

$21,011 median annual income
20.3%

College certificate or diploma

$36,968 median annual income
12.4%

Trades certificate

$37,356 median annual income
4.4%

Bachelor's degree

$36,852 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus

21 Woodlawn Road

Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7

(902) 491-4900

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus

PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road

Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0

(902) 875-8640

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Electrical, electronic and communications engineering technology/technician

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of electrical, electronics and communication engineers. These programs include courses in electrical circuitry, prototype development and testing; systems analysis and testing, systems maintenance, instrument calibration, and report preparation.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Stationary energy sources installer and operator (Canada)

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to install, repair, operate, and maintain large power sources that could include generating electricity and heat.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus

21 Woodlawn Road

Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7

(902) 491-4900

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Apprenticeship Training

Department of Labour and Advanced Education 2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578

Halifax, NS B3J 2S9

(800) 494-5651

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Power Engineer

Certificate of Qualification (Mandatory): This job is a regulated designated trade in Nova Scotia. Certification is required to work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Technical Safety Division
5151 Terminal Road, 6th floor, PO Box 697
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
(844) 424-3200
(902) 424-3239

Contacts

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
204-14 McQuade Lake Crescent
Halifax, NS B3S 1B6
Tel: (800) 450-5366
Fax: (902) 450-5080
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
Tel: (800) 494-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717
Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Occupational Health and Safety Division
PO Box 697, 5151 Terminal Road
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
Tel: (902) 424-5300

Additional resources

Job postings

2nd CLASS STATIONARY ENGINEER

Auxiliary Power Engineer

Aux. Pw Eng. App 6th 6 mos 80%

View all job postings