System Operator

Date: May 13, 2023

Location: CA

Company: Independent Electricity System Operator


Requisition ID:  18524
Location:  Mississauga, ON 
Status:    Regular
Business Unit:  Markets & Reliability

Why join us? 

You’ve got great skills. And you want to use them in an organization where you know what you do every day matters. We get that.
We also know that ensuring Ontarians have access to affordable and reliable power doesn’t happen by accident. So we give you the tools, flexibility and support you need to achieve your goals, and development opportunities to help you grow. You’ll thrive in a collaborative, team-based environment that values your unique skills and experiences – and recognizes that when you do better, we become even better too.  

Who we are 

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) works at the centre of the province’s power system, ensuring Ontarians have access to reliable and cost-effective electricity when and where they need it. We operate the province’s electricity grid 24/7, design, run and oversee the wholesale electricity markets, and plan and prepare to meet Ontario’s electricity needs – now and into the future.


The opportunity

The System Operator works collaboratively with other Operations Team members to execute the minute-to-minute administration of the IESO Controlled Grid (“ICG”) and the IESO Administered Market (“IAM”) to ensure a reliable, competitively priced and sustainable electricity supply for the province and help fulfill the IESO’s roles of Reliability Coordinator, Transmission Operator and Balancing Authority for the province of Ontario.

The System Operator:

  • monitors/identifies potential compliance issues and surveillance activities within the IESO;
  • maintains the daily log ensuring all relevant information is documented and correct;
  • performs other duties comparable in scope and complexity to the Key Responsibilities listed here as required; and
  • executes specific duties and responsibilities related to the following functions:
  • IESO Administered Markets;
  • IESO Controlled Grid;
  • System for Markets;
  • Contingency Operation and System Restoration;
  • Outage Plan;
  • Tool Set;
  • Coaching, Mentoring and Training; and
  • Off-Shift Assignments.


This position is part of a Promotion-in-Place (PIP) plan.  The duties of the Assistant System Operator are similar to those of the Operations System Operator, but the expectations of the Assistant System Operator are reduced as it is an entry-level position.  The Assistant System Operator is expected to gain experience and to use their abilities to solve problems under the guidance of more experienced staff.

IESO Administered Markets (“IAM”/”Markets”)
  • Immediately direct generation or shed load to mitigate critical conditions and preserve the integrity and reliability of the Bulk Electrical System (BES)
  • Coordinate the IAM as per market rules, NPCC criteria and NERC standards
  • Manage the inputs to the Dispatch Scheduling and Optimization engine (“DSO”), review the solution (both real-time (multi-interval optimization (“MIO”)) and pre-dispatch) to ensure accuracy, prepare to manually intervene in the solution if required, and provide final approval of the IAM 5-minute dispatch to maintain the balance of load and generation
  • Monitor/identify/investigate/resolve problems in the real-time and pre-dispatch schedules
  • Monitor/assess/recommend/implement/reconcile ancillary services contracts (e.g. voltage support, regulation) to meet market rule requirements and recommend further actions if the contract requirements are not being met
  • Implement interchange transactions between the IESO and its interconnected neighbours.  This includes verifying the accuracy of NERC E-Tags, curtailing tags as required and providing final approval or denial of E-tags and transactions
  • Liaise with neighboring Reliability Coordinators (“RC”) and Balancing Authorities (“BA”) to ensure all interchange schedules are correct and agreed to.  This includes working to resolve disagreements in schedules and arriving at an agreed to solution
  • Monitor/assess/implement the required control actions to maintain inadvertent interchange as low as possible as per procedures
  • Provide final approval for all planned generation outages, and implement connection and disconnection of generators from the ICG into the market tools
  • Implement demand response programs (e.g. OPA DR3 program) as per procedures and direct participants accordingly
  • Implement time error corrections and control actions as directed
  • Reconcile daily reports such as inadvertent, market reports, etc.


IESO Controlled Grid (“ICG”/”System”)

  • Immediately direct generation, reconfigure transmission or shed load to mitigate critical conditions and preserve the integrity and reliability of the BES
  • Coordinate the operation of the ICG as per market rules, NPCC criteria, NERC standards and Operating Agreements
  • Monitor/assess/validate/update Operating Security Limits (“OSLs”) used to maintain system reliability throughout the day
  • Monitor/assess/implement/direct the operation of the ICG to maintain all equipment within the ratings provided by market participants, including day-to-day voltage control and power quality
  • Monitor/assess/implement/direct items to provide Area supply, provide ancillary services, maintain pre- and post- contingency voltage, respect thermal and stability limits, implement control actions, and respect transmission capacity and tie-line capacity between the IESO and its interconnected neighbors
  • Implement industry-based processes and procedures as required (e.g. Intertie Distribution Calculator (“IDC”), Transmission Loading Relief (“TLR”), etc.)
  • Recognize deficiencies/errors in displays and drawings and recommend and request revision
  • Run system studies to determine the effect of different generation and transmission configurations upon the ICG.  Provide recommendations to the Senior Operations Officer


System for Markets (“SFM”)

  • Create/check for accuracy/publish System Status Reports (“SSR”) for current day and next day to notify the market place of the status of the ICG and IAM
  • Manage the inputs required for the Energy Management System (“EMS”) and DSO to ensure an accurate, consistent and economical solution
  • Monitor/assess/recommend/implement hourly changes to items such as Operating Reserve, Area Supply, OSLs, loop flows, post-contingency conditions, transmission capacity and inter-tie capacity to ensure an accurate, consistent and economical solution
  • Ensure the accuracy of the OSL activation plan 
  • Manage and create OSL limits as directed for unplanned outages and out-of-scope conditions
  • Monitor/assess/approve/deny the submission of offers and bids into the IAM as per Market Rules
  • Submit offers on behalf of market participants in the event of market participant tool failures
  • Run reports and produce the daily energy summary report for the Shift Superintendent used in the Morning Report
  • Select re-preparation actions as directed and required


Contingency Operation and System Restoration

  • Have knowledge and implement contingency plans in preparation for the loss of a generator or transmission system element to maintain the reliability of supply throughout the ICG and protect the integrity of the Eastern Interconnection. This includes actions that are not documented and require staff to develop and implement plans based on good operating practice, operating agreements and equipment ratings with the cooperation of affected market participants
  • Implement demand limits as directed for out-of-scope conditions
  • Recommend plans and direct market participants to remove equipment from service
  • Plan/coordinate/supervise/direct the actions of internal (Ontario) and external (outside Ontario) entities for system restoration following a major system disturbance or energy emergency. This may include operation that is beyond the scope of past practice and may require execution of undocumented actions
  • Implement actions as directed to manage the IAM and ICG following a full or partial loss of the EMS and/or MIS systems


Outage Plan

  • Assess/coordinate/revise the outage plan accordingly as real-time approaches to accommodate any changes required.
  • Assess any short notice and forced outages that may affect the outage plan for the day and change the outage plan accordingly.
  • Work with market participants to review switching plans to determine if they meet system requirements.
  • Work with market participants to ensure the accuracy of outage data.  This includes start/end times, correct equipment isolated and that all information is kept up-to-date.
  • Enter forced/planned outages on behalf of market participants when required and provide an electronic response.
  • Have an understanding of the impact of generation and transmission outages and the way they are processed in the EMS and DSO systems to ensure a proper outcome.
  • Notify Operations Planning staff (i.e. those IESO staff that prepare and deliver the daily Operating Plan) of all critical forced outages and extensions that affect their time-frame.
  • Provide Final Approval for all planned generation and transmission outages.


Tool Set

  • Have an understanding of the DSO and EMS systems - how they are different and how inputs such as OSL’s and outage slips are handled differently.
  • Have an understanding of how all the individual programs work on both the EMS and MIS systems and how to manipulate the inputs to achieve the required results.
  • Perform general performance checks each shift to ensure the results produced are correct. 
  • Identify performance issues to the appropriate support staff for repair.
  • Perform a detailed assessment of the performance of the EMS and MIS systems following Network Model Builds and software releases.


Coaching, Mentoring and Training

  • Contribute to the “training” program to ensure that department staffing is adequate as it relates to the certification and technical requirements of the operations functions. This includes coaching/mentoring junior staff, exercising periodic/limited supervision over designated Control Room staff mainly directed to work assignment, checking work and giving instruction. 
  • Obtain and continually train to complete the required CEH hours to maintain NERC certification as per NERC standards.  Keep up-to-date on advancements or changing technology, government policy, programs, NPCC criteria and NERC standards pertinent to the field of system operations.
  • Conduct special studies/analyses of market and/or system operations as required. 


Off-Shift Assignments

Undertake “off-shift” assignments to gain necessary experience in departments that support system operations. Lead/support working groups’ preparation or review of operational analysis, instruction or tool development. As examples: 

  • Prepare reports such as System Control Reports and Incident Reports. Provide further input to support staff related to system events.
  • Review and recommend changes to operating documentation and procedures acting as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) while advocating for the interests of the control room.
  • Perform user acceptance testing of new software and tools.
  • Participate in committees and internal audits collecting and presenting information on operational issues.
  • Prepare and present training material for both internal and external parties.
  • Identify user requirements for tools used for system operations.
  • Liaise with market participants and interconnected companies to assist in administrative or technical projects/programs or emergency issues.
  • Collaborate with other segments of the IESO in the study, planning, development, preparation, testing and implementation of programs/projects with an impact upon system operations.


What you need to succeed:


  • Requires a strong knowledge of electrical theory, power system design, operation and control, associated mathematics and computer applications to undertake system control and management of the IESO-controlled grid
  • Requires analytical and marketing skills, knowledge of technical writing to prepare reports, and oral and written fluency for effective communication
  • This knowledge is considered to be normally acquired through post-graduate education beyond secondary school plus further extensive theoretical study of subjects pertinent to the electrical discipline and the specialty area of the work function
  • The job also requires being NERC-certified



  • Requires full training to acquire understanding of the Interconnected Power System Operations, of NERC, and NPCC guidelines; of Agreements; of Market Participant equipment capabilities, and technical Directives; of the Market Rules; of Market Participants; of the Facilities Description Documents, of Market Manuals and Market Procedures; of pertinent Station Data, and of all EMS-related software programs.  
  • Requires experience with analytical studies and the application of PC operations including program management and organization of files and directories and various software.  
  • A period of over 6 years and up to and including 8 years is considered necessary to gain this experience. 


What’s in it for you

  • A comprehensive total rewards program, including best-in-class benefits and a flexible workplace 
  • A challenging, fast-paced and collaborative team environment, where your perspectives and experiences matter 
  • Leaders who support your growth and success through regular feedback and coaching
  • The opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in the industry

For future reference, please ensure to save a copy of the job description as it will no longer be available once the posting closes.

At the IESO, we know that achieving great results depends on embracing diversity by attracting, developing and retaining people from a wide variety of backgrounds. We do this by ensuring our recruitment and advancement policies are fair and equitable, and by creating an accessible and inclusive environment – one that values every team member’s unique skills and experiences and ensures they have the support they need to achieve their potential. If you require accommodation during the recruitment process, please let us know. 

We thank you for your interest in a career at the IESO, but we will only contact those candidates selected for an interview. 

Note: The successful candidate must be eligible to work in Canada and will be subject to a background check.

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