Electricity Distribution Worker
Electricity distribution workers maintain and repair electricity generating systems. They specialise in working on substation equipment, underground cables or overhead power lines.
Electricity distribution workers maintain the local electricity generating systems that supply homes and industry with heat, light and power. There are three types of job within this area.
Electrical fitters install, repair and maintain all types of generating equipment within substations, such as transformers, switchgears or other types of equipment that are used to control and monitor the flow of energy. Work takes place both indoors and outside.
Cable jointers work on underground distribution cables, making connections to overhead lines or other parts of the generating system. They install and join together the lengths of power cable. They find faults, which may have developed through damage, weather or age. They also repair cables. A lot of their work takes place in trenches.
Overhead lineworkers build overhead electricity distribution lines, which are carried on wooden poles and steel pylons. They also maintain equipment and carry out repairs as necessary. They also test lines and circuits, and install electricity meters. They work from ladders and safety harnesses in order to reach the lines.
Electricity distribution workers look at technical diagrams to work out what needs to be done. They work with other engineers, taking instructions and referring back to them with any questions or problems.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As an electricity distribution worker, you need:
- To be able to follow safety procedures and work very carefully; electricity supply plants can be highly dangerous.
- Strong manual and mechanical skills.
- Problem-solving skills.
- To pay attention to detail.
- Good practical skills for handling tools and instruments.
- A responsible and flexible attitude to work.
- To enjoy working on your own and as part of a team.
- A good level of fitness, as the work involves lifting, bending and carrying.
Your colour vision may be tested. A driving licence may be required for this type of work.
Overhead lineworkers must have a head for heights and their work may involve travelling to respond to emergencies. Jointers, who often work in trenches, must not mind working in cramped and dirty conditions, in all types of weather.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Electricity distribution workers earn in the range of £14,000 - £18,000, rising to £24,500 - £29,000, with experience. Senior positions can earn salaries higher than £35,000 a year.
Hours of work
Electricity distribution workers usually work a basic 40-hour week. They are usually required to work weekends and be available for standby duty. Overtime is usually available.
What's happening in this work area?
Over the next decade the total number of people employed in the electricity industry is expected to remain stable.
Many older power stations (fuelled by gas, coal and nuclear) are coming towards the end of their operational lives and new facilities will be built to replace them. The UK also needs to increase its electricity output in order to meet the future demands of the UK as a whole. As a result, the employment prospects within the industry are bright.
Where could I work?
Employers are regional electricity companies and transmission companies.
Opportunities for electricity distribution workers occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, trade industry publications, at Jobcentre Plus and on the Universal Jobmatch website.
Vacancies can also be found through internet job boards and websites of energy organisations.
Entry Routes and Training
An Intermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start.
An apprenticeship in the electricity industry involves work experience with an employer and time spent at college, working towards qualifications such as Technical Certificates.
Training involves working towards a relevant level 3 qualification.
City & Guilds offer level 2 and 3 qualifications in Electrical Power Engineering.
Safety is very important in this job so you are also likely to receive ongoing health and safety training.
Electricity distribution workers can progress to team leader/supervisor positions after further training and experience.
To get onto anIntermediate or Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need five GCSEs at grade C or above, possibly including English and Maths.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Numerous local colleges or training providers offer evening or weekend courses in relevant subjects.
An increasing number of employers take on adults and train them because of a shortage of school leavers entering training. Training is usually to work-based qualifications.
There is a Crediting Electrotechnical Competence scheme, which assesses adult electricians and leads to work-based qualifications. This meets the requirements of the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS Card), developed by JIB.
Contact local/regional electricity companies.
Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far
National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)
Tel: 0800 015 0400
Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 9178000
Skills for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies
Address: 14 Upton Road, Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JT
Tel: 0845 6439001
City & Guilds
Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2468
Address: National Administration Centre, Unit 3H1, Third Floor, Redwither Tower, Redwither Business Park, Wrexham L13 9XT
Tel: 0800 0852308
Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT)
Address: The Walled Garden, Bush Estate, Midlothian EH26 0SE
Tel: 0131 4455659
Scottish Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry (SJIB)
Address: The Walled Garden, Bush Estate, Midlothian EH26 0SB
Tel: 0131 4459216
Publisher: Faversham House
Energy & Utility Skills
Skills for the gas, power, waste management and water industries
Address: Friars Gate, 1011 Stratford Road, Shirley, Solihull B90 4BN
Tel: 0845 0779922
Energy Networks Association (ENA)
Address: 6th Floor, Dean Bradley House, 52 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2AF
Tel: 020 7706 5100