What are public utilities?
An organization that offers products or services to the general public is known as a public utility. Common carriers and businesses that offer electric, gas, water, heat, and cable television systems are examples of public utilities. In certain circumstances, the phrase “public utility” may be restricted to private companies who offer certain products or services.
The word “public utility” covers a wide range of businesses, including, among others, transportation, cable television, oil, natural gas, and telecommunications (as well as water and wastewater treatment, solid waste collection, and disposal). These sectors have significant distribution networks of lines, pipes, or roads that need to use public rights of way, frequently with strong physical connections between component pieces. This is known as a “network” structure.
Public utility refers to the variety of distinct services offered by institutions and organizations, both public and private, that make up the public services sector. The broadest definition of the services has long been based on the fundamental functions they carry out.
Electrical energy, natural gas, water, sanitation, waste disposal, recycling, communications, public rail and bus transportation, as well as specific types of storage facilities, such as public warehouses and grain elevators, are among the goods and services offered by the public utility sector. In a nutshell, they are the organizations and institutions responsible for creating and maintaining the key infrastructure of the country as well as the basic services required for contemporary civilization.
Regardless of their ownership structure, organizations that serve as public utilities are those that have a direct impact on the public interest. Public utilities offer fundamental services that each person and any institution in a community needs. Making sure that their services are accessible when and when the public needs them is the responsibility of the organizations working within the various sectors of this industry. The collection of services is referred to as a society’s social capital collectively.
Public Utility Characteristics
The following are the characteristics of public utilities;
Provision of basic goods and services
Public utilities create and provide essential goods and services for human life. If these services were not offered, society would suffer greatly. Goods and services that are necessary for human life are provided by public utilities. They offer products and services for water and sewage, energy, transportation, gas supply, and other things.
Government-controlled monopolies make up public utilities. To meet the basic demands of the consumer population, they offer necessary products and services. Any service shortfall would result in significant socioeconomic issues.
For instance, if the water provided is polluted, it may cause illnesses or even an epidemic; if the electricity supply is unstable, it may cause industries to stop producing; and if the gas cylinders supplied have leaks, it may result in human casualties.
Public utilities are highly regulated in regards to their quality, pricing charged, services offered, etc. because of this factor.
A franchise could be thought of as a legal agreement between the government organization and the public utility. A set amount of time is allocated for the franchise. The franchise enables the public utility to install cables and run wires in public areas like streets and government buildings.
Public Utilities’ Rights
The rights of public utilities are as follows:
- The right to appropriate fees for services rendered. A price that generates a reasonable return on investment and covers running costs can be established.
- Public utilities have the ability to repair equipment in public areas, on the streets, and in buildings.
- The ability to set different pricing for various customers based on their elasticity of demand.
Public utilities’ obligations
Public utilities are responsible for the following:
- Obligation to provide services to all customers without bias.
- Obligation to employ all available resources to meet the needs of all customers who require the good or service supplied by the public utility.
- Obligation to deliver prompt, adequate, and safe service.
- Adopt fair pricing policies and avoid overcharging customers.
- Abstain from using blatantly discriminatory pricing strategies.
Is Public Utilities A Good Career Path?
The short answer is yes; a career in public utilities can be financially rewarding and offer job security, above-average pay, benefits, and prospects for growth. Any young or ambitious person who is seeking for a job offer that comes with a wage over the median average whilst also getting other benefits like health insurance and other amenities may consider a career in public utilities. Public utility is a sector where you can get the work fulfillment and stability you want, provided you know what you’re doing.
The public utility industry offers a wide range of employment opportunities in the departments and job titles of engineering, administration, marketing, technicians, and customer service agents. So, the public utility sector offers countless opportunities.
What Makes Public Utilities a Good Career Path?
You will receive benefits as a public utility employee, some of which are unattainable for employees in the private sector. We can also look at these advantages as the reasons why a job in public utilities is a desirable choice. When it comes to how to pick a career, these are the things people look forward to. Let’s examine a few of the advantages listed below.
A high level of job security
This is probably one of the perks that draws many people to careers in public utilities. Public utility employees have a higher certainty of employment than their peers in the private sector. The typical procedure is that folllowing years of employment with a public utility, the employee gains the right to job security given that they initially won the position in a public competition.
The same cannot be true about employees in the private sector, who may be let go even if they haven’t done anything particularly wrong. A public utility employee would have to have been found guilty of gross misconduct if they were fired despite having job security. However, if they have enough reasons to defend themselves, such a person may appeal the dismissal (judgment). Unlike occupations in the private sector, where most companies maintain the right to fire their employees at any time even if they have committed no wrongdoing, public utility jobs frequently come with a fair lot of security.
Little to no industry experience
Young job searchers without any prior industry experience are given a lot of latitude in the public utilities sector, making it easier for them to get employment. The majority of public utilities allow applicants to compete for middle-level and higher-level positions even without any prior experience. Only a small portion of the public utilities sector’s job applicants are required to have specialized training or work experience.
Consolation of Professional Advancement
If rapid and high professional advancement is what you’re after, a position in public utilities can help you get there. The methods of advancement used by public utilities allow their staff to advance in compensation and position, which are frequently based on years of service. Most public utilities follow well-established procedures when assessing employees’ competency and deciding whether they should receive a pay raise or a position promotion, in addition to taking into account their years of service. When working at a public utility for a long time, you can be eligible for a special bonus or pay raise if you participate in professional development activities like earning a degree or taking advanced classes related to your line of work.
Employees of public utilities typically qualify for a number of incentives. Award leave, gratuity, special allowance, paid leave, and special bonuses are a few of the benefits included in this list. For instance, some employees of public utilities are entitled to a certain type of bonus, the amount of which is based on the employees’ duration of service. The incentive takes the form of a percentage of the employee’s income based on their term of service. In this case, a worker with more service time will be eligible for a greater bonus percentage, while a worker with less service time will receive a lower bonus percentage.
Relatively High Wages
Although a number of factors affect an employee’s pay, there is no question that public utility employees are paid more than their counterparts in the private sector. Your degree of education and your job title may be some of the factors that affect your compensation as a public utility employee. An employee with an advanced degree may be entitled to a compensation amount higher than that of a coworker with a basic degree if a certain educational level is strongly demanded for a certain public utility job. Public utility positions that appear to be generally sophisticated may command higher compensation, depending on the nature of the job title.
The key takeaway is that a worker for a public utility is quite likely to make more money than a worker in the private sector for the same job title, amount of education, and level of experience.
No gender-based wage disparity
Another main reason why public utility jobs are desirable for everybody, regardless of gender, is the absence of gender-based compensation discrepancy. While it is possible to make the case that some private-sector employment pay men better than they do women, the same cannot be true for positions with public utilities. When listing good careers for men and women alike, public utilities will surely make it to the top of the list.
The Public Utilities Sector’s Areas or Categories Include:
Let’s quickly look at the sections or categories accessible within the industry that you can fit in before we look at these distinct career types.
Both residences and businesses can be powered by natural gas. Natural gas must travel a significant distance from the source to the customer. However, as a worker for a public utility, you are more worried about how the product is distributed to consumers via networks of pipelines.
You will be in charge of the transmission and distribution system used to power homes, whether it is produced from natural gas or water resources. There are several job prospects in this sector; you might work as an electrical installation engineer, administrative staff member, or customer service agent.
As you are undoubtedly aware, electricity plays a significant role in our daily life. Because we rely on electricity to run our houses and access the internet, you should think about a job in this field.
Another area of public utilities to think about is the availability of drinking water for residences. Employment in the water supply section entails making sure that water is cleaned, tested to be safe to drink, and supplied to various residences or localized places without impediment.
Removal of Sewage
Another area included in the public utility industry is the treatment and removal of sewage. This has to do with environmental safety, sanitation, and hygiene. Not everyone helps with the removal, but some experts design and coordinate health, safety, and sanitation campaigns to inform people about the importance of keeping everything clean at all times.
What companies are in the public utilities field?
- Natural gas companies
- Water companies
- Steam companies
- Telephone companies
- Telecommunication companies
- Electricity companies
How many jobs are available in public utilities?
There are a lot of jobs in public utility sector as it encompasses all services provided to the public. The list is endless but some of them are listed below;
- Water laboratory technician.
- Petroleum pump systems operators
- Power plant manager
- Water plant operator.
- Geothermal power plant operator
- Pipeline Inspectors
- Power distributors and dispatcher
- Natural Gas Distribution Manager
- Energy Auditor
- Renewable energy manager
- Water restoration technician.
- Environmental compliance specialist.
- Nuclear Power reactor operator
- Power plant maintenance supervisor
- Water engineer
- Wind farm manager
- Water treatment specialist.
- Wind Turbine Service technician
- Electric Power Plant manager
- Solar photovoltaic Installer
- Hydroelectric power plant operator
- Electrical Manager
- Hydroelectric Plant technician
- Gas Plant Manage
- Wastewater operator.
- Water maintenance technician.
- Senior water operator.
Best paying jobs in public utilities
“Do public utilities jobs pay?” This is a recurring question from many and the answer is always a yes. Many often wonder if career options in public utility you can pursue are numerous. When we talk about public utility, we talk of a connoisseur of unique jobs that pay well. As long as you know what you are doing and confident in your abilities, there is something for everyone. Below are some of the high paying roles in public utility you might consider going for.
Water Resource Specialist
As a water resource specialist, it is your duty to keep an eye on regional or local water supplies to make sure there are no toxins present and that water conservation efforts are being made. Specialists in water resources work to protect public health by keeping an eye out for any problems that can conceivably arise with a community’s water supply. You write press releases and enlighten the public on matters pertaining to recycling, water safety, and conservation. As a water resource specialist, your salary will range from $61,000-$292,500 annually.
Nuclear Criticality Safety Engineer
To avoid an accident like a nuclear reaction, your duties as a nuclear criticality safety engineer include conducting research and analyzing approaches to transporting, handling, and storing nuclear fuel. You research and examine studies on the properties of nuclear fuel and calculation records, and you analyze nuclear plant-provided fuel transfer and storage plans. Identifying potential risks and areas in a nuclear plant that might be in violation of regulations is one of your other responsibilities. You also need to design new methods of transport or storage, write proposal reports outlining your suggestions, and submit these reports to the government review board. The average salary of a nuclear criticality safety engineer is between $73,500 to $172,000.
Nuclear Licensing Engineer
One of your duties as a nuclear licensing engineer is to support a nuclear energy plant’s licensing and regulatory requirements while making sure all systems and equipment are operating as they should. You work closely with regulatory officials and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to apply new codes and keep the company within regulatory standards. Assuring that all technical requirements are met also entails drafting design and licensing documentation, safety analysis reports, and regulatory assessments. You finish NRC submittals, maintain efficient communication with NRC inspectors, and quickly address new compliance issues. You conduct research on plant design and licensing laws and regulations and transmit that information. In order to perform some jobs, you must be accessible for emergencies within 60 minutes. Salary ranges from $66,500-$145,500 per year. So, this a good career option if you are looking to join public utility.
Utility Manager Salary
Managers of public utilities conduct operations audits to make sure they deliver utilities to people and companies for the least amount of money. A utilities manager is in charge of infrastructure like telecommunications companies, electricity plants, and water treatment facilities that offer essential services to locals in a city, town, or area. You’re responsible for running the power, sewage, or water systems. You inspect facilities, make sure the infrastructure is current, and, if required, place maintenance and repair orders. You must also search for ways to reduce expenses or boost service quality, as well as work with reaction teams in the case of an unscheduled shutdown. The average salary of an utility manager ranges from $63, 000 to $142,000 annually.
Power Plant Engineer
The daily operations of a power plant are maintained by a power plant engineer. Their key responsibilities include performing operational tests, maintaining machinery preventatively, inspecting thermal systems, and collaborating closely with other plant staff. An engineering bachelor’s degree is necessary for this position. Depending on the sector they work in, many engineers obtain a more specialized degree in chemical, electrical, or nuclear engineering. Strong analytical capabilities, teamwork experience, and communication skills are other requirements for a power plant engineer. Range of salaries for a power plant engineer $96,500 to $136,500 annually.
An industrial or commercial facility’s power and utility systems are monitored by power engineers. As a power engineer, your responsibilities include adhering to safe operating practices, executing equipment repairs and maintenance, and following all processes. The facility’s whole electrical system, including the lighting, air conditioning, water purification, and all other power generation systems, is under your control. You collaborate closely with the other engineers in your firm to ensure the efficient running of the boiler systems, electrical systems, and other power transmission systems at your site. Range of salaries for a power engineer ranges from 87,500 to 135,000 annually.
Power System Dispatcher
The distribution of electricity among suppliers and customers, both residential and commercial, is managed by a power system dispatcher. You monitor generator systems as a power system dispatcher to maintain maximum efficiency and estimate how much electricity is required for each day. When there are severe weather conditions, like heat waves or snowstorms, discretion is especially important. Responding to requests for shortages or repairs as well as organizing the dispatch of crews to the issue’s location are other job responsibilities. Range of wages for a power system dispatcher: $48,000 to $125,000 annually.
A radiation engineer’s responsibilities include running experiments to test and assess the effects of radiation in various contexts. They must execute tests in an experimental setting and then provide theoretical analysis based on those results. The functioning of systems, equipment, or networks both before and after radiation exposure is a common area of interest for those in this profession. A radiation engineer may make recommendations for layouts, components, and designs that satisfy specifications for functioning at realistic radiation levels while summarising their findings. Range of salaries for radiation engineers ranges from $73,000 to $123,000 annually.
It’s not a news that public utility sector employs the most people because public utilities are valued for many different reasons. Public utilities not only provide a large number of jobs for the general public, but they also frequently provide their staff with a variety of advantageous benefits, some of which are scarcely available to private sector workers. Choosing a career in public utilities might be worthwhile in light of the fact that the public sector continues to be the largest employer of labor while still providing a variety of advantageous benefits to employees.