Principal Electric Utility Engineer

  • City of Santa Clara, CA
  • Santa Clara, California
  • Dec 17, 2023
Full Time Engineering Planning and Development Utilities
  • Salary: $198,092.16 - $256,351.32 Annually USD

Job Description


The Department

Silicon Valley Power (SVP) is a not-for-profit electric municipal utility of Santa Clara, CA, serving residents and businesses for over 120 years. SVP provides power to nearly 55,000 customers, at rates 25 to 48 percent below neighboring communities. SVP is the only full service, vertically integrated publicly owned utility in Silicon Valley owning generation, transmission and distribution assets. As a Public Electric Utility, Santa Clara’s Silicon Valley Power is not driven by profits, as reflected in its significant lower utility rates when compared to other private sector utilities. Silicon Valley Power is community and policy driven, which is reflected in the many green policies that it promotes, reduced rates and its strategic plan. Silicon Valley Power is one of few public electric utilities in California with an upward trajectory of growth. In 2017, Silicon Valley Power also achieved 36% renewable and 72% HGH free energy and, since January 2018, Silicon Valley Power has been delivering GHG-free energy to all residential customers. All this was accomplished while maintaining the lowest electricity rates in Santa Clara County.

The Position

Silicon Valley Power (SVP) is seeking a dynamic, engaging, and highly qualified professional for one (1) management position of Principal Electric Utility Engineer in our Utility Operations Division.

The position in Utility Operations will be responsible for managing and performing work related to Protection Engineering, Communications Engineering, and Operations Support Engineering (Fault and Outage analysis) along with supporting operations, maintenance and regulatory compliance of electric utility transmission, distribution and generation facilities. This position manages the team responsible for Communications Engineering, Protection Engineering and Operations Support Engineering.

A successful candidate will have at least five years of experience related to the electric utility engineering field and be able to demonstrate the ability to work well with management, industry professionals, administrative support, and our customers. This is an exciting opportunity to lead positive change for our residents of the City of Santa Clara

As a member of the City's unclassified service, this is an "at-will" position, and the incumbent serves at the discretion of the City Manager. An incumbent in this classification demonstrates strong ethical, professional, and service-oriented leadership and interpersonal skills; sets a good example; and correctly applies the tenets of the City's Code of Ethics and values.

Meeting the minimum qualifications does not guarantee admittance into the examination process. Only the most qualified candidates who demonstrate the best combination of qualifications in relation to the requirements and duties of the position will be invited to participate.


Typical Duties

Duties include, but are not limited to the following:

Under general direction:
  • Plan, develop, coordinate, perform, and direct activities of assigned work area relating to planning, engineering, design construction, operations, maintenance and regulatory compliance of electric utility transmission, distribution and generation facilities
  • Provide recommendations on a broad spectrum of related issues
  • Manage assigned staff, provide technical instructions and assistance as necessary
  • Develop, perform and manage the implementation of utility plans based upon applicable State and Federal laws
  • May be responsible for directing the activities of consultants and contractors
  • Act as a mentor to staff and provide them with leadership, training, direction and support
  • Attend meetings and work with engineers, contractors, specialists and City staff to ensure that City guidelines are met in the determination of requirements of projects
  • Represent the City at industry meetings, management groups, professional organizations, and other meetings
  • Make periodic and special reports, which describe the current activities and prepare reports, including findings and recommendations, as required
  • Direct or conduct studies and analysis related to the reliability of the electric system to ensure compliance with appropriate Federal Energy Regulatory Commission/North American Electric Reliability Corporation (FERC/NERC) and industry reliability standards
  • Prepare or direct the preparation of purchase specifications required to implement Electric Utility Department purchases in connection with system expansion and improvements
  • Conduct evaluation of new equipment, methods and materials pertinent to the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the electric system, and make recommendations to appropriate Managers
  • Confer with and assist in the development of long-range plans, goals and objectives, and budgets
  • Manage, schedule and evaluate the work assigned staff, and develop processes designed to support a continuous learning environment
  • Analyze assigned work area to determine the most efficient and effective assignment of staff
  • Make specialized technical studies and/or investigations
  • Prepare complete and comprehensive oral and written reports and make recommendations on engineering and related issues
  • Prepare the budget, recommend allocation funds within guidelines; monitor expenditures to ensure adherence to the approved budget, manage contractual services
  • Administer and assist in the staffing, administrative and financial matters of the department
  • May act as the Assistant Director of Electric Utility in his/her absence
  • Perform other related duties as assigned

Minimum Qualifications

  • Education and experience equivalent to graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor's Degree in electrical, mechanical, civil or other related field of engineering
  • Five (5) years of increasingly responsible experience in electric utility engineering work
  • Candidates from a non-accredited college or university must demonstrate educational equivalency by registration as a professional electrical, mechanical or civil engineer in the State of California
Possible Substitutions :
  • A Master's Degree in electrical, mechanical or civil engineering, or business or public administration from an accredited college may be substituted for one year of experience
  • Possession of a certificate of registration as a Professional Engineer in the State of California is required
  • Possession of a valid California Class C driver's license is required at the time of appointment and for duration of employment
  • Must be able to perform all of the essential functions of the job assignment
  • May be required to work unusual hours in emergency situations
  • Required to pass initial and periodic comprehensive background checks, which may include fingerprinting, to meet Federal, State, and /or industry security requirements

Incumbents in this position are required to file a Conflict of Interest statement upon assuming office, annually and upon leaving office, in accordance with City Manager Directive 100.

Federal law requires all employees to provide verification of their eligibility to work in this country. The City will not sponsor, represent or sign any documents related to visa applications/transfers for H1-B or any other type of visa which requires an employer application.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge of:
  • Principles of electrical utility planning and engineering involved in the development, construction, production, operational methods in interconnected utility areas, principles of program evaluation, forecasting and planning, probability and energy analysis and formulation; customer service; telecommunications and controls; and information technology
  • Principles of engineering economics, statistical analysis and forecasting
  • Principles of management, supervision, personnel administration, training and performance evaluation
  • Principles of organization and management, effective leadership and municipal budgeting and administration
  • Regulatory laws, standards and requirements including FERC/NERC Reliability Standards
  • Research methods and statistical analysis
  • Problem solving and conflict resolution practices and techniques
  • Complex spreadsheets and database applications
  • Preparation and administration of contracts and fiscal planning
  • Project and workload planning
  • Environmental and safety practices, procedures and standards

Ability to:
  • Analyze complex data; resolve applicable problems; evaluate alternatives and recommend an appropriate course of action
  • Effectively negotiate contracts and customer business relations
  • Manage contractor activities
  • Manage project development and operations management
  • Identify, research and gather relevant information from a variety of sources
  • Exercise sound and independent judgment, conduct independent analyses and make recommendations on difficult and sensitive issues
  • Anticipate potential problems, develop contingency plans when needed and solve concurrent problems
  • Provide leadership and management through coaching, empowering and facilitating employees working in a team environment
  • Create a culture that is conducive to change and one that is able to select, recruit, retain, develop and motivate a skilled and talented workforce where everyone knows their mission, role and job expectations
  • Create a culture that is conducive to change and one that is able to select, recruit, retain, develop and motivate a skilled and talented workforce where everyone knows their mission, role and job expectations
  • Establish clear goals and objectives in order to create an organization that delivers excellent customer service through ethical leadership standards, and establishes an atmosphere of respect for employees consistent with the City's Code of Ethics and Values
  • Build constructive relationships by promoting collaborative partnerships with department peers, bargaining units, employees, citizens, and others contacted in the course of work
  • Represent and speak for the department and its work, e.g., presenting, explaining, promoting, defining, and negotiating to those within and outside the department by making clear and convincing oral presentations to individuals and groups, by listening effectively and clarifying information and by facilitating an open exchange of ideas
  • Prepare and present highly technical and complex written and oral reports using multi-media to large groups and City staff
  • Work effectively as a member of the department's management team to achieve common goals and be able to deliver excellent customer service to both internal and external City clients
  • Plan, organize, direct, and coordinate organization activities and effectively manage the assigned work
  • Work effectively and coordinate multiple projects and complex tasks simultaneously in time-sensitive situations and meet deadlines
  • Communicate logically and clearly, both orally and in writing
  • Follow oral and written instructions
  • Understand and carry out highly complex technical tasks
  • Use computer applications to prepare memos and procedural documentation
  • Create, manage and maintain complex filing and record systems
  • Walk or stand for extended periods of time and bend, stoop, crawl, climb, lift or any other physical requirement as necessitated by the position to perform assigned duties

Additional Information:

You must answer all job-specific questions in order to be considered for this vacancy or your application will be deemed incomplete and withheld from further consideration. Applications must be filled out completely (i.e. do not write “see resume or personnel file.”) To receive consideration for the screening process, candidates must submit a 1) Cover Letter and, 2) Resume. Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Application packets may be submitted online through the “Apply Now” feature on the job announcement at . Applications will be reviewed on a weekly basis for consideration to the position. If you are interested in applying you are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, before the position is closed. A first review of applications will be on December 8, 2023.

The City of Santa Clara is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants for all job openings will be considered without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status or any other consideration made unlawful under any federal, state or local laws. The City of Santa Clara is committed to offering reasonable accommodations to job applicants with disabilities. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please contact us at (408) 615-2080 or .

City of Santa Clara Benefit Summary Overview for Bargaining Unit #9
Miscellaneous Unclassified Management

This summary provides a brief overview of the City of Santa Clara’s benefits available to Bargaining Unit #9 employees in 2024. In the event of any conflict between the information in this summary and the applicable official plan documents, City Manager’s Directives (CMDs), Personnel and Salary Resolution, or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the applicable official plan documents, CMDs, Personnel and Salary Resolution, or MOU will prevail over this summary. Benefits are subject to change.

  • Membership in the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS)
    • Classic Employees: 2.7% @ age 55 formula -employee pays 8.00% of gross pay, minus $61 bi-weekly
    • New Employees: 2.0% @ age 62 formula - employee pays 7.00% of gross pay
Medicare and Social Security (FICA)
  • Employee pays 6.20% up to $10,397.40(Social Security) and 1.45% (Medicare) of gross pay
Health Insurance:
  • City contribution up to $2042.82/month, based on enrollment in a CalPERS health plan
  • Employees electing health coverage with premiums above the City health contribution will pay additional premium costs from salary on a pre-tax basis
  • Coverage is effective as early asthe first day of the monthafter date of hire
  • If an employee enrolls in a plan with a premium that is less than $946.86/month, they will be paid the difference in cash
  • Employees hired on or after 1/1/2023who opt-out of City-offered health insurance and provide annual attestation and acceptableproof of alternative required coverage for themselves and their tax family, if applicable, are eligible for a cash-in-lieu amount of $250/month. Contact Human Resources for more details
Dental Insurance:
  • Choice of two Delta Dental plans; enrollment is mandatory
  • City pays lowest cost employee only plan; additional cost is paid by employee
  • Coverage is effective as early asthe first day of the monthafter date of hire
Vision Insurance:
  • Choice of two VSP plans
  • City pays lowest cost employee only plan; additional cost is paid by employee
  • Coverage is effective as early asthe first day of the monthafter date of hire
Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA):
  • City contributes $50.00 a month toward employee’s VEBA account
  • Account funds may be used to pay for qualified medical expenses after separation from the City and after age 50 (pre-tax)
Life Insurance:
  • City pays for $50,000 of Basic Life Insurance coverage
  • Coverage is effective the first of the month after one calendar month of employment
  • Additional optional insurance may be purchased by the employee for the employee, spouse, domestic partner, and/or dependent children
State Disability Insurance (SDI):
  • Employee pays 1.1% of gross pay (includes Paid Family Leave)
  • 7 day waiting period. Weekly paid leave for absences due to non-work related injuries/illnesses. Benefit is based on past earnings. Refer to for more information
Paid Family Leave (PFL):
  • Up to 8 weeks of benefits within a 12-month period to care for a family member or to bond with a new child
  • No waiting period. Weekly paid leave benefit. Benefit is based on past earnings. Refer to for more information

Long Term Disability (LTD) Insurance:
  • Benefit is 60% of basic wage up to $13,333; max $8,000/month
  • City paid benefit. City pays $.207/$100 of insured earnings
  • 60 calendar day waiting period
  • Coverage is effective the first of the month after one calendar month of employment
Deferred Compensation:
  • Voluntary plan through Nationwide Retirement Solutions
  • Employee may contribute up to the lesser of the IRS maximum or100% of gross compensation into a pre-tax 457(b) account or a post-tax Roth 457(b) account (or a combination of the two accounts) subject to IRS rules
Flexible Spending Account (IRS Section 125 Plan):
  • Employee may contribute up to $3,200per year in pre-tax dollars to a health care spending account
  • Employee may contribute up to $5,000 per year in pre-tax dollars to a dependent care spending account
  • Employee may contribute up to $315per month in pre-tax dollars to a commuter benefit plan
  • Vacation is accrued bi-weekly, cannot use vacation during first 6 months of City service
    • For 1 -4 years of service: 10 days (80 hours)/year
    • For 5 -9 years of service: 15 days (120 hours)/year
    • For 10 - 15 years of service: 21 days (168 hours)/year
    • For 16 - 20 years of service: 22 days (176 hours)/year
    • For 21+ years of service: 24 days (192 hours)/year
Maximum accrual is 480 hours Once per year, employees can elect to convert up to 80 hours of accrued vacation to cash to be paid out in up to two cash-outs the following calendar yearSick Leave:
  • Sick leave is accrued bi-weekly for equivalent of 96 hours per calendar year with no maximum accrual
    • Up to 48 hours/year of accumulated sick leave may be used for family illness
    • Up to 32 hours/year of accumulated sick leave may be used for personal leave
Employee may convert sick leave to vacation once per calendar year (annual maximum conversion is 96 hours sick to 48 hours vacation) Partial sick leave payoff provision on retirement depending on years of serviceManagement Leave:
  • 120 hours of management leave credited to employees each January 1st
    • New employees hired between January 1st and June 30th receive 120 hours of management leave their first year
    • New employees hired between July 1st and December 31st receive 60 hours of management leave their first year
Unused management leave may be carried over from one calendar year to the next; however, an employee may never have more than 240 hours (calendar years 2021 through 2024) of “banked” management leaveHolidays:
  • Seventeen paid eight-hour holidays per year (13 & 4 holidays between 12/25 to 1/1 of following year)
Mobile Communication Device Allowance:
  • $80/month in lieu of carrying a City-issued cell phone
Auto Allowance (an alternative to mileage reimbursement or use of a City vehicle):
  • Department Heads receive $320/month (up to $520, with City Manager approval). Assistant Department Heads and Division Managers can receive $200/month (Up to $500 with City Manager approval)

Tuition Reimbursement Program:
  • Up to $2,000 per fiscal year for tuition reimbursement
Employee Assistance Program:
  • Confidential counseling to employees and dependents. Up to maximum of five (5) consultations per family member per incident per year
  • City paid benefit
Retiree Medical Reimbursement Program:
  • Employees who retire from the City with at least ten (10) years of service shall receive reimbursement to help cover retiree single health insurance premiums. The reimbursement maximum includes the PEMHCA minimum.
  • Up to age 65, retirees are eligible for reimbursement up to$416/month in 2024(amount adjusted annually)
  • After age 65, retirees are eligible for reimbursement up to $249/month in 2024(amount adjusted annually)
Alternate Work Schedule:
  • An employee shall be eligible to work a 9/80 alternate work schedule according to the conditions, criteria, and requirements set forth in City Manager's Directive 71. Requests to work a 9/80 schedule shall be made through or by the Department Head to the City Manager. The City Manager must approve the schedule and the City Manager or Department Head (for employees other than Department Heads) may terminate the schedule at anytime.

Closing Date/Time: Continuous

Job Address

Santa Clara, California United States View Map