Substation operators, also known as switchmen, are responsible for the monitoring of the machinery that distributes electricity to residential, business and industrial areas. They function in electrical substations monitoring equipment that increases or decreases voltage. They have to check the electric substations throughout the country to check charts, oil levels in equipment, temperature changes, load conditions, oil leaks, and any irregularities. In addition, switchmen have to function switchboard levers to control the flow of electricity in and out of the substations. They are working closely with strength generation operators and transmission engineers in order to anticipate and solve the change in strength needs. If the strength requirements change, substation operators have to start or stop distributing lines and switch them between the circuits.
These workers work at the micro-level of strength generation and dispensing. Switchmen are also the operators responsible for taking immediate emergency switching when strength plant operators anticipate an issue in the strength dispensing. Often, they also can take decisions related to strength dispensing or warning strength plants about possible issues regarding strength dispatch.
How to become a substation operator or switchman? possible candidates to work in this field must at the minimum possess a high school diploma. But most recruiter will favor candidates who obtained a college degree and had prior experience or training in mechanical or electrical sales jobs. You have to know that by starting a substation operator or switchman, which is the entry-level, you may be promoted as a strength generation operator or dispatcher. Successful candidates are expected to have excellent skills in mathematics, science skills and computer science, and also a good physical condition since most work is done outside in substations.
In the U.S., there were about 47,000 strength generation operators or plant technicians including substation operators in 2004. Most of them were employed in electric strength generation, transmission, and dispensing companies or in local government authorities. However the job prospects for substation operators are quiet negative in the near future with a declining overall the employment rate by 2014. This situation can be mostly explained by the slow speed of construction of new plants and deregulation of the sector.