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What does a Power Dispatcher do?

Cassie L. Damewood
Cassie L. Damewood

A power dispatcher, also commonly referred to as a power distributor, directs the course of electricity to plants that dispense it to residential and commercial customers. The electrical energy may be either water or nuclear powered. The dispatcher commonly works for a privately operated firm or one under the direction of a government agency.

The main function of his job is to ensure all households and companies receive the appropriate amount of energy for their needs. He assesses these energy requirements by watching the readings on a variety of regulating and distribution equipment. Based on his analysis, he commonly makes adjustments in the electrical feeds.

A power dispatcher directs the flow of electricity away from power plants and into the grid.
A power dispatcher directs the flow of electricity away from power plants and into the grid.

His informational equipment and tools typically include circuit breakers, current converters and voltage regulators and transformers. As these tools provide readings, a power dispatcher ordinarily records the information on a pilot board. This board is crucial to his job as it depicts the entire grid system, including the plants and substations. His notes on the board indicate which circuits are strong or intermittent and which areas of transmission are steady or wavering. This information is crucial for energy needs assessment and planning.

In addition to observing energy patterns, a power dispatcher is normally required to predict changes in energy needs. These predictions customarily estimate load and equipment requirements. The forecasts are typically based on the dispatcher’s experience and expertise as well as fluctuating weather patterns. Extremes in heat and cold frequently have significant effects on energy usage and needs.

To ensure no customers experience brown outs, a term commonly used for intermittently ebbing energy, he frequently works with control room operators. These employees regulate generators and boilers to evenly distribute power to the entire region. Along with the power dispatcher, they maneuver switchboard toggles to regulate electrical currents in and out of power substations. Voltage regulators are also commonly used by these workers to evenly distribute power.

Equipment maintenance is ordinarily the responsibility of a power dispatcher. Regular equipment upkeep and testing are imperative to guarantee the accuracy of his daily readings and the proper distribution of energy to the region for which he works. Power plant equipment is frequently tested for accuracy on a prescribed schedule by regulating agencies.

Requirements for this position typically include a high school diploma or equivalent. A significant number of employers prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in physical science or engineering as well. Subsequent to being hired, power dispatchers are normally required to complete extensive classroom and field training.

Discussion Comments


Power Dispatchers are very much needed. The workforce is aging and it does take experience to become a well rounded dispatcher. You won't really feel comfortable until you have about five years under your belt. As for pay, I make $55.65 and hour plus overtime, which is paid at double time. So yearly I make about $150K. Not bad for not having a college degree.


@sunnySkys - Yeah, the power dispatcher's job does sound kind of complicated. At least they make a decent salary though. I read recently that most power dispatchers make around $69,000 per year. Obviously that's no comparison to what the mega-rich people in this country make. But it's a decent salary you could live on!

I'm pretty sure I also saw that there are a decent number of jobs in this field. There's isn't an extremely high demand for power dispatchers, but there are definitely jobs available.


I can see why power dispatchers need a lot of on the job training. I don't think a degree in engineering would actually prepare you to do this kind of work right away. I feel like knowing how much power to direct where probably comes with experience.

Anyway, this sounds like a pretty essential job. And it's one that I'd never heard of before! Like most people, I guess I just use electricity and don't think too much about where it comes from!

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    • A power dispatcher directs the flow of electricity away from power plants and into the grid.
      By: Martin Capek
      A power dispatcher directs the flow of electricity away from power plants and into the grid.