The term electric company is used in two senses. It is sometimes used to refer to contractors who install electrical equipment and wiring. These contractors may work on residential or commercial properties. They lay wires, install cables and secure panels, both indoors and outdoors. They may also install and repair important appliances such as heaters.
However, the more common use is to refer to the company that provides power. These companies may be part of a utility company that also supplies water, sewage and natural gas. They may own the generating plant or only handle the actual distribution of power.
As technology changes, so do power plants. Solar and other renewable sources are slowly taking over from older fossil fuel plants. Environmental concerns are also fueling a change in energy creation methods. A solar plant requires a different set of skills to operate than a coal-fired one.
Electricity and utility companies require energy workers to handle the physical aspects of distribution. One major issue faced is storms bringing down power lines. Customers who are left without power need to be reconnected as quickly as possible. Transformers change the voltage of power from the very high levels used for transmission to those suitable for end uses. These require skilled technicians to maintain them.
Billing is also important. Electricity companies may be required to set rates within certain ranges. Local governments are often keen to ensure residents get cheap power. Traditionally, a meter reader would visit a property at intervals and check on power usage. However, more and more companies use automated meter reading systems, which require no site visits. The billing department also needs to handle situations where a customer is generating their own power.
Electricity is vital to the modern world, but how it is generated and even who is generating it is changing rapidly.