Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers
Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers held about 60,000 jobs in 2014.
In 2014, most power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers worked in the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry. About 8 in 10 nuclear power plant operators and about 7 in 10 power plant operators worked in this industry.
Power distributors and dispatchers are less concentrated in the electric power generation, transmission, and distribution industry, in which only about half worked.
Operators, distributors, and dispatchers who work in control rooms generally sit or stand at a control station. The work is not physically strenuous, but it does require constant attention. Workers also may do rounds, checking equipment and doing other work outside the control room. Transmission stations and substations where distributors and dispatchers work are typically in locations that are separate from the location of the generating station where power plant operators work.
Because power transmission is both vitally important and sensitive to attack, security is a major concern for utility companies. Nuclear power plants and transmission stations have especially high security, and employees work in secure environments.
Because electricity is provided around the clock, operators, distributors, and dispatchers usually work rotating 8- or 12-hour shifts. As a result, all operators share the less desirable shifts. Work on rotating shifts can be stressful and tiring because of the constant changes in living and sleeping patterns.