Although some processes in the water/wastewater industry rely on gravity, electrical power is required for many aspects of water/wastewater collection, storage, treatment, and distribution. When water or wastewater is pumped from one location to another, when treatment is performed to produce potable water or to clean wastewater, and when administrative activities are performed, electricity is required. In the power industry, electricians are needed to install and maintain critical power generation and transmission equipment. Skilled electricians and electrical workers are necessary to ensure operational reliability for both the construction of new facilities and the operation and maintenance of existing facilities.
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Electricians install, repair, operate, and maintain the electrical and power systems for homes, businesses, factories, and infrastructure within the water and wastewater industry. They are responsible for the wiring and control equipment through which electricity flows and the electrical equipment that it powers.
They read blueprints, solve problems, and enjoy using tools to plan and carry out the operations needed to do their job. In the water, wastewater, and power sectors, electricians may install, operate, and maintain:
Electrical line workers install and maintain the network of power lines that move electricity from generating plants to customers. They routinely work with high-voltage electricity. They also maintain equipment such as transformers, substations, voltage regulators, and switches.
Working knowledge of: Standard terms, practices, procedures, and modern methods common to the electrical trade as practiced in utility plant processes involving high voltage equipment and electronic controls; shop mathematics; the use and operation of measuring and testing devices; hand tools and equipment of the trade; the National Electrical Code and the industry standard electrical safety requirements specified by the National Fire Protection Association; principles of electrical installation, maintenance, operation, and testing.
General knowledge of: The maintenance and operation of hydroelectric and diesel power generating and related equipment; programmable logic controllers and relay ladder logic.
Skill in: Planning, laying out, and executing journey level electrical work in a safe manner; installing, maintaining, trouble-shooting, and repairing a wide variety of electrical and solid state electronic equipment used in power transfer and industrial process control for water treatment, distribution, wastewater treatment, and hydroelectric power plant operation; reading and interpreting wiring diagrams and specifications; making estimates of labor and materials; operating a motor vehicle safely.
Ability to: Keep records and make reports including preparing as built and shop drawings; learn to skillfully maintain, repair, and operate hydroelectric generating equipment; train and direct the work of sub-journey level employees; coordinate the work of assigned team members as required on larger projects; and establish and maintain effective working relationships.
A high school diploma is generally the minimum educational requirement to apply to an electrician apprenticeship, although a two-year associates’ degree is a plus. To become a journey-level electrician or electrical line worker, an apprenticeship is required (typically four to five years), which combines paid, on-the-job training with related classroom instruction. Schools which offer coursework approved by the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards can be found at www.dir.ca.gov/das/listofapprovedschools.html. There are also programs which use guideline standards established by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Apprenticeship. The DOL representative for your State can be found at http://www.doleta.gov/oa/stateoffices.cfm.
Electricians/electrical workers and electrical line workers must be able to use a computer to document completed work and time. Electricians/electrical workers typically must maintain a Class C driver’s license, while electrical line workers must maintain a Class A or B driver’s license.
Apprentice/Trainee $5,100 to $6,200
Journey-level $6,600 to $8,000
Supervisory $8,100 to $9,900
Source: BAYWORK Salary Survey, 2014.