Electrical and electronics technicians who work for power companies are sometimes called relay technicians or powerhouse electricians. While some workers in this occupation are trained on the job and need no further education than a high school diploma, some receive training in electrical repair by attending vocational schools or through military service.
National Average Pay
As of 2012, powerhouse electricians and relay technicians earned an average wage of $32.40 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These workers reported an average annual salary of $67,380. Half of power company technicians reported hourly wages ranging from $28.29 to $37.08 and an annual salary of between $58,850 and $77,120. The highest-paid 10 percent made $42.69 or more per hour and $88,790 or more per year.
Pay by State
Average salaries for power company technicians varied substantially throughout the country in 2012, with the highest average pay located in the northwest and the lowest average pay occurring in the southeast and southwest. Washington reported the highest average salary, $83,580 per year, followed by Montana at $83,080, North Dakota at $80,560 and Nevada at $80,460. Florida reported the lowest average salary in the country, $55,460 per year.
Power Company Pay vs. Other Employers
As of 2012, private power companies employed more than two-thirds of all powerhouse electricians and relay technicians, who earned an average salary of $68,330 per year. Government power-station technicians earned comparable wages, averaging $68,530 at the local level and $68,070 at the federal level. Those employed by power equipment maintenance-and-repair companies averaged $60,990 per year. The natural gas distribution industry was the only industry sector to report noticeably higher wages than private power companies, an average of $71,200 a year. In general, average pay for power plant and relay technicians is similar across employment sectors.
The BLS expects jobs for power company technicians to grow at a rate of 5 percent through 2020, creating an estimated 1,100 new jobs. This is relatively slow job growth is due largely to privatization of the power industry, which is eliminating jobs in efforts to improve efficiency. The job growth is expected to come primarily in "green" energy industries. Applicants with an associate's degree are expected to have the best employment prospects.