1+ months

Principal Distribution Design Engineer

Sacramento, California 95817 Work Remotely
  • Job Type
  • Job Status
    Full Time


In pursuit of its Clean Energy Vision of zero carbon emissions by 2030, SMUD is leading the way to transform our utility and grid in a way that enables our customers to be part of the solution.  As such, we are seeking an individual that will work in partnership with our Distribution Planning & Operations organization to lead SMUD’s strategy to support the reliability and transformation of our grid in the face of an increasingly distributed future in achieving our zero carbon goals.  This grid strategist will define and coordinate strategy for SMUD’s distribution system to support strategic priorities such as reliability and resilience, zero carbon, inclusion and affordability, as well as provide leadership to advance the analytical tools and planning for integration of DERs and operation of SMUD’s distribution system under zero carbon and very high levels of intermittent renewable energy.  This work will include: 

  • Leading the development of SMUD’s Integrated Distribution Resource Plan (iDRP)
  • Coordinating data, studies and analytical needs between Integrated Distribution Resource Planning (iDRP), Integrated Resources Planning (IRP), Distribution Planning, and Grid Operations Planning;
  • Helping ensure that Zero Carbon solutions, requirements and opportunities are reflected in distribution planning studies; and
  • Developing analytical tools and approaches capable of realistically capturing a zero-carbon operations and planning environment.
This position sits within the Enterprise Strategy organization at SMUD, and will engage with departments throughout the company to ensure an integrated path forward.



Directs and leads projects of a significant and complex nature where an expert level of technical knowledge and expertise is required to design distribution and transmission facilities including the development of design standards, work methods and procedures, training programs, and the development and revision of SMUD policy, rates, rules, regulations, and programs to ensure compliance with SMUD and all other relevant safety and engineering codes, laws, and regulations.

Nature & Scope:
Serves as a technical or functional expert or consultant providing expertise and/or direction in one or more areas of a professional discipline and assumes responsibility for resolving complex problems and overseeing complex projects. May also serve in a Lead role and assist in planning, coordinating, prioritizing, monitoring, and evaluating the work results in assigned area and in selecting, training, motivating, evaluating, and developing lower-level personnel.

Position Type

Regular - Full Time

No. of Openings


Pay Scale Group


Base Salary Annual Low


Base Salary Annual High


Selection Process

Initial Review, Qualifications Interview, Follow-Up Interview, Reference Check, Background Check

Major Duties & Responsibilities


  • Addresses and resolves issues with significant ramifications to distribution services and SMUD; directs and leads utility system projects such as power generation projects, substation projects, transmission, and distribution projects of a very large, complex, difficult, standard, or non-standard nature by planning, directing, coordinating, and overseeing project design, analysis, study, construction, and equipment installation; by directing, preparing, and/or overseeing the preparation of standards, layout, and construction drawings, equipment specifications, and design procedures; by preparing, or directing, overseeing, and reporting the results of load forecasts and analyses, system expansion studies, and other power system studies, analyses, and calculations; and by reviewing and/or developing project schedules and budgets.
  • Contributes to the establishment of general operating procedures, guidelines, and operating manuals for system facilities including substations, transmission and distribution, and power generation by formulating, preparing, or overseeing the preparation of those procedures and documents and making recommendations to appropriate SMUD authority; ensures that operating procedures, guidelines, and operating manuals are current and effective relative to the operation and maintenance of system facilities and equipment.
  • Ensures that SMUD is represented in technical discussions with city, county, state, and federal regulatory agencies and in professional organizations developing industry guidelines and standards for electrical safety, distribution design, and/or materials manufacture and application; maintains contact with and represents SMUD to internal and external groups and committees; provides technical representation and guidance to various civil regulatory agencies in matters affecting SMUD policies, programs, and practices related to distribution and transmission design; prepares or directs and oversees the preparation of necessary reports to regulatory agencies; provides information and expertise for the development of industry guidelines and design and application standards to technical and professional engineering committees such as ANSI, IEEE, and regulatory commissions.
  • Contributes to safe construction and operation of SMUD facilities; reviews SMUD safety practices and history and recommends changes to facility design and construction; ensures adherence to applicable codes and regulations.
  • Performs technical and economic analysis of projected revisions to SMUD rates, rules, regulations, and billing practices.
  • Develops equipment specifications and related costs for special facilities agreements for large and critical customers with unique service requirements.
  • Reviews contracted and in-house designs for reliability, stability, utility, quality, safety, cost effectiveness, operability, and maintainability.
  • Presents work progress reports, unique design proposals, and significant change proposals to SMUD executives and the Board of Directors.
  • Audits completed sub-station design work and customer satisfaction with it.
  • Provides leadership and participates in assigned tasks of a work unit in order to meet defined unit goals and schedules and comply with SMUD schedule, quality, quantity, safety, and performance standards; plans, coordinates, prioritizes, monitors, and guides work activities with work-unit employees to meet established task objectives and deadlines by following established policies and precedents; communicates with team members and incorporates their input into processes and techniques; provides staff training; promotes staff safety and a safe work environment; assists in selecting and orienting new personnel; assists in evaluating work performance results; participates as a team member in accomplishing objectives; refers problems to supervisory staff when solutions are not readily achievable.
* As well as other duties as outlined in the full official description available here


Minimum Qualifications

Education: A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Electrical Engineering or related field. Registration as a Professional Electrical Engineer (PE) with the State of California may be substituted for the degree requirement.

Experience: 7 to l0 years of progressively responsible relevant work experience in the planning, design, and operation of electrical utility distribution systems/facilities including distribution and transmission sub-stations.

Knowledge Of: Principles, procedures, and practices related to distribution overhead and underground line design including statics, strength of materials, sag and tension, pulling tensions, and related items; specialized equipment including distribution line and transmission/distribution sub-station equipment and materials; principles, procedures, and practices related to the design basis for distribution line, distribution and transmission sub-station design elements, components, and hardware; principles, procedures, and practices related to electrical power engineering including circuit analysis, electrical equipment design, short circuit calculations, grounding, protective relaying, and power system analysis; federal, state, and local laws, codes, and regulations governing safety standards, codes, and utility practices utilized in the design of distribution system lines including transmission sub-stations; principles, procedures, and practices related to the manufacturing processes of electrical equipment and components including welding, rubber/fiberglass/plastic extruding, metal fabrication, and assembly; applicable industry standards such as ANSI, IEEE, NEMA, ICEA, ASTM, ISO 9000, ISO 9001 and ISO 9002

Skill To: Develop new and revised policies and procedures to provide for the effective operation of the unit; interact with others to influence and motivate; interpret SMUD policies, procedures, applicable MOUs and/or other special agreements; oversee adherence to safety policies and procedures; plan, oversee, and review the work of others; provide input to performance evaluations for the work of others; compile and prepare technical, statistical, and/or analytical reports and presentations; develop and conduct oral presentations to internal/external audiences; reconcile significant and/or controversial differences to bring interested parties to consensus; evaluate and resolve complex technical or management issues; monitor and manage projects; negotiate with internal and external management on projects; plan, organize, prioritize, and schedule projects; analyze complex issues and develop/implement resolution alternatives; analyze situations, documents, and data for conformance to established policy and procedures; apply applicable laws, codes, and regulations; appraise situations and people accurately and adopt an effective course of action; develop approaches for implementing an idea; develop creative ways to solve a problem; develop general rules or conclusions based on problems and logically substantiate recommendations and/or explanations; evaluate and resolve complex technical issues; gather data from appropriate sources and identify relevant factors; generate a number of viable alternatives to problems; identify significant organizational issues, concerns, and needs and develop strategies for rectifying them; identify the key elements that must be modified to achieve a goal; interpret, analyze, and apply pertinent policies, procedures, regulations, and requirements; interpret, clarify, understand, and analyze verbal/written information and ideas; organize highly complex and conflicting data in a readily understandable manner for various audiences; prepare a business case to weigh the relative costs and benefits of a potential action; research, analyze, and provide recommendations to achieve department objectives

Desirable Qualifications


  • Innovative thinker with a drive to learn and implement new technologies
  • Registration as a Professional Electrical Engineer (PE)
  • Related experience associated with:
    • Technologies, tools, and systems supporting grid modernization and grid modernization planning
    • Integrated distribution resource planning (iDRP) and analysis
    • Strategy development and execution
    • Project management principles, financial models and analytical methods
    • Leading multifunctional teams
  • Active involvement in Utility industry thought leadership and policy forums


Physical Requirements

Applicants must be able to perform the essential job functions with or without a reasonable accommodation.

The health and wellbeing of our employees and our community is our top priority.  SMUD follows CDC guidance and adheres to all local, county and state orders. To this end, if you are scheduled to come on a SMUD campus, you will need to monitor your health (ensuring your temperature is below 100.4° and you’re free of COVID-19 symptoms), and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Job Code


Additional Posting Info for Candidate

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) - Who We Are

As the nation's sixth-largest community-owned electric service provider, we're proud of our reputation as one of the best places to work in Sacramento. Our employees tell us in our engagement surveys they're "Happy, satisfied and engaged" which helps create a workplace that best serves our customers.

Sacramento was named as the 2nd happiest place to work in America by Forbes Magazine. Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and the world-renowned Napa Valley are within easy driving distance of our locations.

California Equal Pay Act

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) are a part of who we are and how we do things. Supporting efforts that promote pay equality is part of that. Salary placement for the selected candidate will be determined in alignment with the California Equal Pay Act or the applicable MOU. Determination for salary placement of internal candidates will be made without respect to current classification or compensation, and will be based upon the candidate's qualifications as compared to those performing substantially similar work. In the event there is a guaranteed pay progression outlined in an applicable MOU, the MOU takes precedence.   

Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

SMUD respects, values and celebrates the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. Diversity and inclusion are guiding principles to deliver a culture that reflects the broader values of the community and our customers. Our Board's policy for Employee Relation sets our commitment to developing and maintaining a high quality, inclusive workplace that engages and inspires employees to commit to SMUD's purpose, vision and values.

Why Sacramento, California?

The capitol of California, Sacramento is the state's sixth-largest city, and the 35th largest in the U.S. Local universities include California State University, University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law, and the University of California, Davis and several competitive community colleges. The UC Davis Medical Center, a world-renowned research hospital, is one of more than a dozen hospitals and shared services centers in the Sacramento region. Part of the agriculturally-rich Central Valley, Sacramento is at the forefront of the farm-to-fork food movement. Northern California is home to some of the country's top technology companies, including Google and LinkedIn, and a multitude of startups in many industries. Sacramento is home to the NBA Kings, the River Cats (AAA baseball), the Republic FC (soccer) and the San Francisco Giants, NBA Warriors and NFL 49er's aren't far away. Sacramento offers an affluent liberal arts community with Broadway, Mondavi Center, Crocker Museum and summer musical theater to name a few.

Remote Work

This position may be eligible for SMUD's remote work employee benefit, the schedule of which will be determined by the successful candidate and the Hiring Manager. SMUD takes pride in powering the Sacramento region community where we live and work. We value the strong working relationships we develop with our colleagues. Our approach to remote work will continue to evolve. Please be aware that should SMUD’s business needs change, emergencies occur, or various other reasons arise, you may be required to report onsite on a part-time or full-time basis 

To apply, please visit: smud.org/careers

Job Expires



Posted: 2022-09-23 Expires: 2022-12-22

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Principal Distribution Design Engineer

Sacramento, California 95817

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