Automation Technician


This position and ultimately group, provides direct support to Grid Automation engineering personnel, projects, and initiatives. This group will focus on installation, commissioning, investigations, audits, maintenance, monitoring, security, de-commissioning, field-level record keeping, and all other support as required for Grid Automation Equipment. This includes (but is not limited to) Distribution Controls and Communicating Distribution Equipment as well as Power Quality devices. The position will spend significant time in-the-field. Distribution is defined as equipment operating at voltages below 69kV and at times, will consist of Distribution assets within a substation.

Principal Accountabilities

Commission controls and Grid Automation Equipment
Install and verify settings in Grid Automation Equipment, Controls and Communications (GAE)

  • In-field troubleshooting of GAE issues supporting remote engineering interrogation.
  • Complete in-field repairs for GAE and associated assets. This includes (but is not limited to) general distribution equipment, such as switching, establishing clearances and grounds, replacing fuses, arresters, switches or similar items.
  • Coordinate field work with other groups to ensure appropriate resources are planned and available for productive in-field work.
  • Respond to non-emergency alarms from GAE. (First responders for lights-out or other emergency situation remains with DSO.) May be called upon to assist DSO or C&M in emergency situations.
  • Maintain utility owned DER field assets' controls, software, and firmware.
  • Perform Alarm/Data-Driven GAE maintenance - directed and prioritized by supervision and/or Grid Automation Engineering.
    Perform Alarm/Data-Driven GAE Maintenance - self-directed. Run appropriate or assigned equipment condition reports and complete maintenance under priority schemes established by supervision.
  • Pair-up as necessary to comply with appropriate safety rules.
  • Perform Routine or Time-Based Maintenance on GAE
    • Battery replacements
    • Radio Upgrades
    • Hardware Upgrades
  • Remote and Local Firmware or Software Upgrades
    • Complete and/or update appropriate GAE paperwork or electronic forms or electronic databases/systems as directed.
    • De-Commission GAE equipment.
    • Gather field conditions and data under the direction of supervision, Grid Automation Engineering, other Engineering resources or management.
    • Assist with R&D activities.
    • Participate in system restoration events (SERP, Storms, emergency situations, apparent equipment malfunctions)
    • Assist Grid Automation Engineers with lab-type testing of GAE equipment and schemes.
    • Assist Grid Automation Engineers or other groups with preparation or delivery of Automation Training materials.
    • Appropriate decision making with supervisory guidance.
    • Follow all appropriate safety, clearance, and lock-out/tag-out procedures and policies.
    • Provide miscellaneous support to Grid Automation Engineers as directed.

This position will interact frequently with the following personnel: Grid Automation Engineers, Other personnel in engineering; System Protection Engineering; the Instrument/Relay Group; DSO/TSO; IT; Real Time Systems; C&M; Field Operations; Radio Shop; Equipment suppliers; GAE Communications suppliers; contractors; management.

Equipment Scope

The types equipment controls, devices and communications at or below 69 kV to be considered for this group to specialize upon include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • Capacitors Controllers
  • Switching Equipment Controllers
    • Reclosers (in conjunction with C&M, Field Operations, &/or Instrument/Relay)
    • Pad Mounted Automated Switchgear (in conjunction with UG C&M)
    • Solid Dielectric Underground Switches (in conjunction with UG C&M)
    • High-bay auto transfer switching equipment
    • Other automated switching equipment
      • Line Regulators Controllers
      • Communicating or Automated Faulted Circuit Indicators or other line monitors
      • Voltage Monitors (TVM, etc)
      • Intelligent Electronic Device (IED) Radios and Communications (Cellnet/L+G, Sensus Cellular, Cellular Modems, Radio networks, etc)
      • Company-owned automation communications equipment (in conjunction with Field Communication)
      • Underground Network Automation (in conjunction with U.G. C&M)
      • Power Quality Monitors
      • Other existing or future GAE equipment similar to the above listed items

Primary Duties

Under general supervision, installs, programs, maintains, and upgrades automation related hardware, software, and operating systems in an industrial control system environment. This position involves varying working environments from datacenter and office to field work (primary). Candidate must be able to resolve highly complex problems associated with trouble calls, installations, and general maintenance. In addition, this position requires the ability to explore and implement new projects and initiatives. This job is to be performed with limited supervision.

Must have working knowledge of capacitors, regulators, reclosers, transformers, and various line sensors and their associated controllers and communication mediums.

Sklls/Experience/Education Required

1-3 years' experience and knowledge of distribution field controls and how they work, are configured, and programmed.

1-3 years' experience and knowledge of communication practices, configuration and support.

1-3 years' experience and knowledge of Power Engineering practices and theory.

Job requires post-secondary education in computer, generator, automation, electronics/electronics technology, or field relay maintenance or 3 years of equivalent experience. The applicant must also pass a prequalification test, complete interview and be selected as company's best candidate to assure the Company and himself/herself that they are capable of performing the duties of the Field Grid Automation Technician.

Successful candidate must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of industrial control network environments, including; but not limited to OS Command Line, SEL / Beckwith / Siemens / Eaton / Etc…, LDAP / AD, and others. In addition, position requires understanding and experience on communication protocols, including but not limited to DNP3, OPC, Modbus, ICCP, SEL, and others. Understanding of cyber security practices and application is a plus.

Demonstrable work experience in distribution automation and technology maintenance and installation field is required. The individual must also have experience with a current version of Unix, Linux, or Windows network operating systems, networking, and installation and support of various TCP/IP and serial network protocols.

The position needs to have investigative skills and a questioning attitude when performing field work. Attention to detail, proper documentation and following prescribed procedures are key for commissioning and operating equipment as well as performing equipment trouble shooting and field investigations. Run appropriate or assigned equipment condition reports and complete maintenance under priority schemes established by supervision.

Candidates will have a significant understanding of the Electrical Transmission, Substation & Distribution Systems and automation components, with the aptitude to timely move towards an advanced understanding and application.

Aptitude to learn and understand complex automation schemes, equipment, communications devices, and Power Quality monitoring devices. Strong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate verbally with internal personnel and external entities to achieve win-win outcomes while resolving customer and technical issues.

Ability to test, install, monitor, and remove automation and Power Quality devices. Understands the distribution equipment with ability to identify and analyze reliability problems. Ability to perform well in a team as well as individually. Proficient in intermediate computer skills and possess aptitude to learn more complex analysis tools, software and web applications.

Candidates must either possess detailed knowledge of company's Grid Automation Equipment and schemes or the aptitude to learn and understand them thoroughly in short time period. Experience testing or applying monitoring equipment on the distribution system is preferred. Ability to methodically troubleshoot problems with equipment to identify root causes, document findings and make repairs, both independently or with others.

Any experience in NERC-CIP regulations, industrial control system cyber security, and effect on electric distribution facilities is highly preferred.

Candidate will follow all company's safety rules and guidelines plus ensure peers and observers are conducting themselves in an approved manner. Ability to climb a ladder and utilize aerial lift equipment. Ability to enter and work within confined spaces, including (but not limited to) manholes and vaults, and hot work qualified. Understanding and implementation of safe work practices around minimal approach distances.

A valid driver's license (including a CDL) and the ability to drive light truck/van and/or an aerial lift truck is required. The ability to sit, stand and/or walk for several hours at a time are required.

Working Conditions

Conditions will vary from office, substation, and field environments. In addition to normal office work conditions, candidate must have the ability to perform the physical activities of the job. (Includes but not limited to awkward positions, balancing, lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling up to 60 pounds, climbing, crawling, crouching, feeling, keying, handling, hearing, holding, reaching three feet, seeing, sitting, standing, stooping, talking, turning, twisting, walking, writing, outside work, and must be prepared to work in all types of weather conditions, etc.) Additionally, must be able to handle multiple priorities, make decisions with limited data, and operate within short time frames. Candidate must be willing to provide required technical support to the business unit demands that are 24x7 in nature. Must have a satisfactory work record including good attendance.

Additional Information

Position is not a remote position. Candidate will be required to be on-site Monday through Friday. This is 40-hour work week between the hours of 7:00a - 5:00p. Manager is flexible on start time (OT is likely not required).

Position will require candidate to drive a company vehicle. Will be making visits to the company's locations as well as customer visits. No overnight travel is required. Must have valid state driver's license with clean driving history. MVR will be required on background. Safety is top priority for position, candidate must be able to adhere to company safety standards.

Salary Range
$39,000.00 - 67,000.00
per Year
Salary range estimated by
Topeka, KS 66652, US
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