Utilities Face Shortage of Industry-Seasoned Workers

Utilities and other
energy companies are facing a lack of trained workers as they begin developing
the “smart grid” that’s supposed to deliver electricity in more
efficient ways. It’s a challenge they face at all levels of their
organizations, and in all departments, and is being made more pressing by an
expected exodus of expertise as veteran workers retire.

Yes, most of
the jobs involved

include trades that are far removed from IT. But as the smart grid rolls out, technology
will become increasingly important
because consultants and systems integrators, software system providers,
communications system services professionals and contractors will be needed to
develop new systems for power pricing, usage, and storage.

Meantime, utilities
are considering a range of options for leveraging technology to both train new
workers and streamline the work of those already on the job:

companies should examine new technologies that can ease the burden on utility
workers. Most utilities now use centralized automation technology,
incorporating high-speed computers, supervisory control systems, and a variety
of communication systems to ensure the reliable and safe delivery of power to
consumers. As the available technology in the industry evolves, utilities
should broaden their use of maintenance, testing and continuous monitoring
system technology to supplement the loss of retiring maintenance engineers.

— Mark Feffer