Job: Power Engineer

By , March 23, 2010

Power engineering is advanced thinking in an advanced industry, surging with demand. Sometimes called stationary engineers, power engineers run the heating, ventilation, refrigeration, light, power and other utility services for industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings.

Couch potatoes beware–the name is misleading. There’s no sitting still on this job- you’ve got to be able to think on your feet! There are computers to operate, gauges to monitor, temperatures to check, valves to activate. It’s a busy job.

Power, Money, Opportunity

Power or Stationary engineers are also sometimes called boiler operators because they run the large boilers that produce steam for heating buildings like industrial plants, office towers and shopping malls. They must be alert to changes in the operation of their equipment and they must keep accurate logbooks about it all. They need to keep upgrading their skills–either to improve their certification level, or when they are working with new equipment, or when the government introduces new regulations.

Power engineering is an exciting field in the power industry. You could be controlling power generating plants, gas or petrochemical plants, the various systems that create electricity and more! It’s also a lot to do about protecting the environment, working in facilities that supply power to process and production facilities you need to be aware of the legal requirements and responsibilities of the industry.

Specific Duties

Power or Stationary engineers:

  • Operate automated or computerized control systems, stationary engines and auxiliary equipment such as boilers, turbines, generators, compressors and other equipment to provide heat, ventilation, refrigeration, light and power for buildings, industrial plants and other work sites.
  • Monitor and inspect plant equipment, 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 normally.
  • Analyse and record instrument readings and equipment malfunctions.
  • Make adjustments or minor repairs as required.
  • Clean and lubricate generators, turbines, pumps and compressors and perform other routine equipment maintenance duties using appropriate lubricants and hand tools.
  • Maintain a daily log of operation, maintenance and safety activities, and write reports about plant operations.
  • May assist in the development of operation, maintenance and safety procedures.

Education & Training

  • Grade 12 education is preferred
  • Provincial or territorial certification or licensing according to class (4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st class) is required. You start at fourth class and as you gain skills, training and experience you work your way to the top: first class. You’ll take an examination in order to be certified at each level.
  • After completing the one level program offered through Northern Lights College, you will receive a Certificate in Power Engineering and Gas Processing and hold the following credentials: FourthClass Power Engineering (firing time will be provided onsite at NLC-Fort St. John Campus); Part A of Third Class Power Engineering; All four levels of SAIT’s gas process operations; a number of other certification courses related to safety and environmental concerns.

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