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What does a Power Systems Engineer do?

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  • Written By: Daphne Mallory
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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A power systems engineer is responsible for constructing and maintaining the infrastructure of an electric power company. These engineers work for companies that generate power for the public, governments, and large plants and manufacturers that have their own power systems. They also have to create and implement practices and procedures to ensure public safety and the safety of other workers. Some of the periodic tasks that an engineer does include testing power system applications, analyzing electrical power outputs and distribution, and developing the company’s utility systems. Not all power systems engineers work as employers, but some work as consultants to suppliers, manufacturers, and power supply stations.

Individuals who work as power systems engineers are often involved with designing the infrastructure of electrical power systems. For example, an engineer might be hired to plan the layout of a power distribution station. His duties would include preparing drawings and making a list of the equipment needed, including transmission lines, and a list of materials for construction and installation. When an engineer designs a power generating plant or supply station, she often includes cost estimates, such as for labor and material costs. After the system is constructed and implemented, the engineer inspects it to ensure that it complies with regional and national safety standards and conforms to his original design.

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Knowledge of computer programming and power system application is often necessary to work in power systems engineering. Part of the duties of a power systems engineer is to implement software applications and to create and test algorithms. Many engineers are required to understand C programming in addition to other educational and training requirements, including a bachelor of science degree or higher in engineering, with a power systems engineering emphasis or a related field. The engineer can use software to optimize the utility systems and to evaluate how well the power generating company is meeting customer needs.

The safe operation of power generating systems is often a chief concern for a power systems engineer. Government regulations are often in place to issue safety standards for the protection of the public at large, but also for employees who work where power is generated. It’s often the engineer’s duty and responsibility as an employee or consultant to develop systems in order for the company to comply with those standards. A power systems engineer may also develop operational standards that go above and beyond what is required by government safety regulations.

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