How do I Become a Power Dispatcher?

Patrick Roland

In order to become a power dispatcher, you must be able to route electricity to the proper places on a grid. You also must be able to read and understand all of the charts and data to avoid or fix emergency outages. Dispatchers come from a variety of educational backgrounds but tend to be experts in the functioning of power plants. If you are strong in decision making, science and personnel direction, you could become a power dispatcher.

Power managers must be able reroute electricity during periods where one or more power plants may be experiencing an emergency.
Power managers must be able reroute electricity during periods where one or more power plants may be experiencing an emergency.

You will have a vast array of daily responsibilities if you choose to become a power dispatcher. You must fully understand all of the equipment that controls the flow of electricity to customers. This normally is a complex computer program that can take many years to learn because of the constantly fluctuating data. A dispatcher must take orders on where power is needed to be routed but also must make crucial decisions about areas of service that need more power than others. Routine checks of all of the systems also are a major part of the job because they prevent larger problems in the future.

A power dispatcher needs to know how to handle all problems with power lines.
A power dispatcher needs to know how to handle all problems with power lines.

No matter if you work in a nuclear power plant or a plant that creates electricity from hydroelectric steam or from coal burning, you will need to be an expert in dealing with emergencies to become a power dispatcher. Power lines fall down and causing blackouts, immediate maintenance must be made to lines, and many other problems can occur on any given day at a power company. You must know how to handle these unexpected detours and ensure that your customers have the electricity they demand.

Power dispatchers must send out workers to maintain and repair damaged power lines.
Power dispatchers must send out workers to maintain and repair damaged power lines.

The only way to be prepared, not only for emergencies but for the daily demands when you become a power dispatcher, is by being educated. There are no schools for power dispatchers, and a college degree is rarely required, but an education in the sciences or even electrical engineering, can be helpful. Many dispatchers prepare by working their way up at an electrical company, from a line worker to an internal manager and many other positions. This gives the dispatchers a full understanding of how a power grid works and prepares their critical-thinking skills and problem-solving skills. Many companies also help employees attend seminars and classes to further their understanding in order to be promoted to dispatchers.

If you want to become a power dispatcher you must understand how an electrical company works from the source of its power to the individual outlets in a home. You must know how to route electricity to the proper places and solve emergencies. This can only be done by many years of experience from on-the-job training and education.

A power dispatcher may have previously worked for a utility company, fixing downed power cables.
A power dispatcher may have previously worked for a utility company, fixing downed power cables.

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