Title:  Principal Distribution System Engineer

Department:  Customer & Grid Strategy

Sacramento, CA, US, 95817-1899

Category:  Engineering/Technical

Minimum Pay Rate: $142,188.00 

Maximum Pay Rate: $188,323.00

Civil Service Status: Civil Service

Posting Type: Open


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 to lead SMUD's strategy in the transformation of our grid in the face of an increasingly distributed future in achieving our zero carbon goals. This position will report directly to the Director of Customer & Grid Strategy, and will focus on building and evaluating strategies that address some of the most critical opportunities facing our industry today. This grid strategist will define and coordinate the implementation of 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, which works cross-functionally to develop and execute strategies to support SMUD's industry-leading work in achieving our Clean Energy Vision.


Note: This position is posted until is a sufficient number of qualified applications are received and may close any time after September 22, 2023. For immediate consideration, applicants are encouraged to apply early.


Performs and leads specialized professional technical and analytical functions in analyzing the performance of an assigned distribution system area and identifying corrective actions needed to ensure that the distribution system is configured to meet SMUD short, medium and long-range needs in an efficient, cost-effective and safe manner and is in compliance with SMUD guidelines and applicable laws and regulations.

Nature and 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.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • 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 to 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.
  • Ensures a safe, reliable, and economic power service to customers and to meet SMUD power needs; leads and performs complex distribution system planning and design including to monitor system planning and design; develops the philosophy, methodology, criteria, and standards for system analysis and design; develops, maintains, and revises related policies, rules, regulations, and programs; develops and oversees planning and analysis performance measures, work methods, procedures, and training programs.
  • Ensures that SMUD distribution system is configured and operated to provide the maximum output and the maximum operating flexibility within contractual, emissions and other limits; conducts complex analyses of system performance and projected systems demands by forecasting electrical load growth, modeling and analyzing system impacts, identifying system deficiencies, recommending cost-effective corrective actions, performing work justification studies, producing annual work plans for capital and OandM expenditures, assisting in accident/incident investigations and reviews, evaluating new technologies, and reviewing safety trends to identify areas for improvement
  • Provides inter-utility and intra-utility coordination and ensures the implementation of SMUD strategic business objectives; ensures that SMUD is represented in technical discussions with city, county, state, and federal regulatory agencies and in professional organizations developing industry technical standards and guidelines for electrical safety and distribution system planning by providing high level expertise and guidance; investigates and provides conceptual service design and performance documentation for special facilities agreements with very large and critical customers; prepares and presents program and policy initiatives and change proposals to SMUD executives and the Board of Directors; specifies distribution system modeling requirements and procedures; develops service requirements for customers that may generate and/or operate in parallel with SMUD distribution service; reviews relevant SMUD programs, projects, reports, and proposals to evaluate system impact; participates in the development of SMUD strategic plan; represents SMUD on technical and professional engineering committees such as ANSI, IEEE and regulatory commissions; serves as an expert witness in the area of distribution system planning.
  • Assists in administering the department budget; participates in planning, monitoring, and revising schedules, work plans, expenditures, and assignments to support the achievement of unit objectives in a fiscally responsible manner.
  • Ensures assigned work activities successfully contribute to the overall completion of department projects; plans, coordinates, prioritizes, monitors, guides, reviews, and conducts work activities associated with department internal/external projects in accordance with established task objectives and schedules as outlined in the project plan/contract.
  • Performs related duties as required.

Required Education

A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with major course work in Electrical Engineering or related field.

Required Experience Qualifications

7 or more (7+) years of progressively responsible experience in the planning, design, and operation of electric utility distribution systems.

Required Licenses/Certificates

Valid California Drivers License.

Knowledge Of

SMUD policies, procedures, applicable MOUs, and other special agreements; methods and techniques for planning, organizing, and overseeing work activities; methods and techniques for training staff; techniques and concepts related to teamwork; techniques for exercising leadership and authority; methods and techniques for report preparation and writing; techniques and practices for negotiating; principles and practices of economic analyses of projects and programs; techniques and practices for resolving complex technical issues; complex computer systems and resources; electronic records; database administration; interrelationships between SMUD operations and relevant external entities; principles, practices, and procedures related to power distribution systems; concepts and systems related to distribution construction, planning, operation, and maintenance; concepts and systems related to engineering analyses of reliability, power quality, root cause, and economic and systems data; computer-aided modeling and analysis; methods and equipment related to distribution system monitoring; theories and practices related to electric power system design; theories and practices related electric distribution system planning; load data analysis and forecasting methodologies; policies, practices, and procedures related to distribution system maintenance; performance management techniques related to project management; principles and practices for contract management; procedures and practices for cost control and project scheduling; procedures and practices for monitoring and managing projects; safety policies, practices, and procedures; standard operating procedures for modern office equipment including a computer and applicable software; English grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary standards.

Skills To

Identify and assess training needs for staff; 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; analyze complex issues and develop/implement alternative resolutions; analyze procedures/systems and develop/implement operational improvements; 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; determine the potential long-term outcomes of a change in operations; develop an estimation of how a system should work under ideal conditions; evaluate and resolve complex technical issues; interpret, analyze, and apply pertinent policies, procedures, regulations, and requirements; 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; serve as reference person for other employees; serve as an expert witness in court; monitor and manage projects; perform complex technical engineering analysis and forecasting; use complex computer-aided modeling and analysis toots; write technical documents; assist in budget preparation and administration; utilize a personal computer and/or computer terminal, systems, and software relevant to the job; communicate effectively orally and in writing internally/externally; establish and maintain effective working relationships internally/externally.

Desirable Qualifications

  • Innovative thinker with a drive to learn and implement new technologies
  • Strategic thinker equipped to navigate the evolving electric utility landscape
  • Strategy development and execution
  • Technologies, tools, and systems supporting grid modernization and grid modernization planning
  • Integrated distribution resource planning (iDRP) and analysis
  • Project management principles, financial models and analytical methods
  • Leading multifunctional teams
  • Active involvement in Utility industry thought leadership and policy forums

Desirable Licenses/Certificates

  • California Professional Registration as an Electrical Engineer (PE)

Physical Requirements

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

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.


Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

SMUD celebrates diversity, and inspires an inclusive culture based on trust and respect to create belonging and connection among our employees, customers, and communities. By working together, we are powering positive, equitable opportunities for all. We aspire to be a workplace where you can be yourself, achieve your best, and thrive together. 

An example of our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is when SMUD signed the California Equal Pay Pledge in 2020. This requires equal pay for employees who perform “substantially similar work,” when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility at the time those employees started within that classification.  As such, initial hiring salary range is not subject to negotiation and salaries will vary over time based on performance.

SMUD is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, veteran status, or any other applicable legally protected characteristic. All employment decisions are made on the basis of individual qualifications, merit, and business needs and interests.


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.


Hybrid Work

This position may be eligible for SMUD's hybrid (office/home) 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 hybrid 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.

SMUD provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws. SMUD complies with applicable state and local laws governing non-discrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

SMUD expressly prohibits any form of unlawful employee harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of SMUD employees to perform their expected job duties is absolutely not tolerated.

Req ID:  675