People who want to become power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers are expected to encounter keen competition for these relatively high-paying jobs. While demand for electricity will increase, the slow pace of construction of new plants will limit opportunities for these workers. In addition, the increasing use of automatic controls and more computerized equipment should boost productivity and decrease the demand for operators. As a result, individuals with training in computers and automated equipment will have the best job prospects. Some job opportunities will arise from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation. However, cost considerations may restrict the number of workers who are replaced, with the job duties instead being given to other workers.
A decline in employment of power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers is projected through the year 2014, as the utilities industry continues to restructure in response to deregulation and increasing competition. Independent producers are now allowed to sell power directly to industrial and other wholesale customers. Consequently, some utilities that historically operated as regulated local monopolies have restructured their operations in order to reduce costs and compete effectively. While much of this restructuring is complete, the focus on reducing costs persists. This new focus is present in regulated utilities, as well as those that have been deregulated. As a result, the number of jobs is expected to decline.