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Is Electric Utilities Central a Good Career Path?

Last updated 03/15/2024 by

Benjamin Locke

Edited by

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The electric utilities central industry refers to the core sector of the electric power industry, which generates and distributes power across the grid and into homes and businesses. As there is demand for electricity throughout the globe, a wealth of jobs are available for people with various skill sets. If you are looking for a reliable future career path, you might consider working with cutting-edge technologies, such as power generation via nuclear fusion and power distribution via wireless electricity.
Believe it or not, the idea of wireless electricity has been around since Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison battled over which type of current would become the norm. Tesla’s alternate current (AC) won the battle. But what many people don’t know is that at the time, Tesla was also working on a machine that would distribute electricity wirelessly, using the Earth’s natural oscillation. The invention never worked, but scientists are now revisiting the concept of wireless electricity. It’s just one of many new career paths now available in the electric utilities industry, a crucial industry with many in-demand and well-paying jobs.

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What is the electric utilities central industry?

The electric utilities central industry deals with the generation and dispersion of electricity throughout the power grid. Is working in this industry a good career path, though? And what type of career could you have? For simplicity, we will break down the industry into six subcategories in which people can find electric utilities central careers: generation, transmission, distribution, retail, regulation, and cutting-edge technologies. As you’ll see below, many of these jobs require advanced degrees but offer good salaries in a constantly evolving industry.


Electricity generation is how electricity is created. It is typically created by either fossil fuels (natural gas, oil, coal) or renewable and nuclear sources.


Once electricity is generated, it must be transported over long distances. The transmission of large blocks of electricity allows distribution centers to distribute power.


Electricity must then be transmitted throughout the power grid. Distribution revolves around getting the electricity from the distribution center to the homes and businesses where it’s needed.


Retail providers purchase electricity from the generator and send it to an end customer. Their main goal is to make a profit.


Government bodies regulate the generation, distribution, and sale of electricity.

Cutting-edge technology

The cutting edge of the electric utility industry covers both the generation and transmission of electricity. Nuclear fusion and wireless electricity are two parts of the industry that are on the cutting edge.

Careers in electricity generation

Power plant engineer

Average salary: $88,000-$107,000
Preferred degree: Mechanical, electrical, or chemical engineering
Some of the best-paying jobs for an electric utilities central career will require an engineering background. A power plant engineer is responsible for designing and maintaining an operational power plant. In the case of most power, they will be dealing with a generator that consumes oil, natural gas, or coal. A power plant engineer working with renewable energy must understand the intricacies of how to derive and distribute power from renewable sources such as solar, wind, or water.

Natural resources procurement manager

Average salary: $88,000-$107,000
Preferred degree: Finance, economics, business
A natural resource sourcing manager is responsible for ensuring there is an adequate supply of a resource to generate power. This career aligns itself with power plants that generate electricity by using oil, gas, or coal. If you want a quick rundown into how fossil fuels produce electricity and the role they play our lives, you can read our piece on jobs in the energy industry.

Careers in electricity transmission

Electric CAD engineer

Average salary: $71,000-$120,000
Preferred degree: Computer science, electrical engineering
If you’ve ever heard the term CAD (computer-aided design) before, it was probably associated with architecture. Just as CAD helps architects design buildings and various other structures, it can assist an electrical engineer in planning a transmission system. As electricity needs to be transmitted long distances from the generator with various types of electrical equipment, good design skills and the ability to use CAD masterfully will help a company build an efficient and productive transmission network.

Careers in electricity distribution

Electrical service technician

Average salary: $55,000-$95,000
Preferred degree: N/A
An electrical service technician is a good career path for those who are looking for a job in the electrical utilities industry but don’t have a college degree. Effectively, your job is to fix problems that occur as electricity is distributed throughout the power grid and into people’s homes. In many cases, this career path will require people skills, as you will be dealing directly with the customers who consume electricity.

Electrical systems engineer

Average salary: $90,000-$120,000
Preferred degree: Electrical engineering
An electrical systems engineer’s job is what it sounds like; they are responsible for making sure the distribution system is sound. This means that they must ensure that the distribution system reliably delivers power into people’s homes and workplaces and understand the intricacies of distributing power in peak times vs. non-peak times. A systems engineer will also need to know about how power stations and substations work along the electric grid.

Key role: Damage prevention

Positions that deal with safety are also important, according to Benjamin Dierker, the executive director of Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure. “A lesser-known job that exists at every utility is in ‘damage prevention,’ he notes. “This role looks out for workers and protects the utility lines and other facilities that may be buried. Increasingly, utilities are putting their lines (pipes, cables, and wires) underfoot rather than overhead like traditional electrical transmission and distribution lines, in a process called undergrounding. This is the case for almost all telecom lines as well as water, electric, cable, and other utilities. Jobs in the damage prevention role will always be needed — especially going into the future when more undergrounding takes place — but many do not think about this role.”
Dierker says that every year in the United States, around half a million buried utility lines are damaged in excavation projects resulting in over $30 billion in economic harm. “The utility professionals tasked with damage prevention for their own utilities/facilities are critical to mitigate this.”

Careers in retail electricity

Financial analyst

Average salary: $92,000-$260,000
Preferred degree: Accounting, finance
As with any other industry in which the goal is to make a profit, financial analysts are important in the electric utilities central industry. First, a financial analyst will need to understand how income relates to cost in the business. For instance, if the price of natural gas rises, then this obviously affects the price of a major input for power plants that use fossil fuels or natural resources. Therefore, the company must stomach the cost with the hope it goes down or pass it on to the clients. A good financial analyst will analyze the current market as well as project what might happen in the future and plan accordingly.
Some of these jobs require advanced degrees. If you are thinking about going back to school, check out your options for private student loans.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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Careers in regulation

Regulatory affairs strategy manager

Average salary: $45,000-$105,000
Preferred degree: Political science, government affairs
A regulatory affairs strategy manager is a position that requires a college degree, but not in engineering like so many other jobs in the electric utilities industry. Instead, this type of manager works for retail electricity companies and deals with government regulations. This means not only understanding what regulation exists and what might be in the works but also, in many cases, actively lobbying the government. Electricity is a government-regulated utility, and thus policy changes can profoundly affect the industry. As long as we have governments regulating electricity, this job should have solid job security.

FERA compliance officer

Average salary: $55,000-$85,000
Preferred degree: Law, government affairs
FERA stands for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and it is the main body regulating electricity on a national level in the United States. It regulates the interstate transmission of electricity as well as regulates hydropower projects, natural gas terminals, and alternative renewable energy sources such as wind farms. A FERA compliance officer is usually a policy wonk who needs to ensure that regulations are followed. Without regulation, we might not get the proper amount of electricity at the times we need it.

Careers in cutting-edge technology

Nuclear physicist/nuclear fusion energy

Average salary: $111,000-$175,000
Preferred degree: Nuclear physics
Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of clean and unlimited power and electricity. The nuclear process replicates the sun’s process, in which atoms fuse together, creating exponential amounts of energy. At the very end of 2022, a huge breakthrough occurred in the world of nuclear fusion. For the first time, scientists recorded a net GAIN of energy when accounting for energy input vs. output. This breakthrough turned heads all over the world, and now nuclear physicists who specialize in fusion are in high demand.

Electrical engineer: Wireless electricity

Average salary: $80,000-$150,000
Preferred degree: Various engineering degrees, physics
Nikola Tesla’s wireless electricity never got off the ground, but that doesn’t mean the idea of wireless electricity is dead; far from it. In 2020, New Zealand announced plans to build the world’s first wireless electric transportation system, enabling the transmission of electricity long distances without the need for line transmission. A startup company called Emrod is behind this incredible invention, and in 2022, they partnered with Airbus and the European Space Agency to start contemplating the wireless transmission of energy via satellites in space.
Is this truly the next frontier, unlimited clean energy derived from nuclear fusion being beamed down from satellites in space? As recent history with computing and AI has taught us, this future is often much nearer than any of us can contemplate.


How many members does EEI have?

The Edison Electric Institute, or EEI, is an association that represents U.S. investor-owned electric companies in the United States. They currently have 70 domestic and international affiliate members and more than 250 associate members that work with supply chains and businesses related to electricity generation.

What is the role of electric utilities?

The role of electric utilities is to provide safe and reliable power over the electric grid at all hours of the day. This power can be derived from different sources, but the end goal is the same.

What is the largest utility company in the United States?

Exelon is the largest utility company in the United States, serving approximately 10 million customers.

What are the 6 sources of electricity?

The U.S. Department of Energy defines the six electricity sources as natural gas, nuclear energy, coal, wind energy, hydropower, and solar energy. However, it really can be grouped into three sources; renewable (wind/hydro/solar), fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, coal), and nuclear.

Key takeaways

  • The electric utilities central industry refers to the core sector of the electric power industry, which generates and distributes power across the grid.
  • Five subsets of the electric utilities central industry are generation, transmission, distribution, retail, and regulation. There is another subset revolving around the cutting edge of electricity generation.
  • There are various career paths for engineers, as well as financial analysts, compliance officers, and service technicians.
  • If you’re looking for a high-demand career path in electrical generation and distribution, you might consider working with wireless electricity beamed down from space or nuclear fusion.

SuperMoney may receive compensation from some or all of the companies featured, and the order of results are influenced by advertising bids, with exception for mortgage and home lending related products. Learn more

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