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Protection & Communication Engineer


Akron, OH, US, 44308

Job Function:  Engineering
Employee Type:  Reg Full Time (FT)
Requisition ID:  31664

FirstEnergy at a Glance

We are a forward-thinking electric utility powered by a diverse team of employees committed to making customers’ lives brighter, the environment better and our communities stronger.

FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, FirstEnergy includes one of the nation's largest investor-owned electric systems, more than 24,500 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, and a regulated generating fleet with a total capacity of 3,780 megawatts.

About the Opportunity

This is an open position with FirstEnergy Service Co., a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp. [FEU]


A Transmission Protection & Communication Engineer is responsible for performing relay protection functions across FirstEnergy's (FE) transmission and sub-transmission systems with particular emphasis on the inter-substation pilot communication systems and the intra-substation digital communication networks and protocols employed for system protection applications. 

For this opening, which exists in our Akron, OH office, the engineer would support the selection and management of pilot communication schemes employed across the entire FE footprint, while also contributing to system protection departmental needs.  In addition, the engineer would be engaged in the evaluation, application, and implementation of new digital substation protection technologies to improve system dependability and reliability.


Responsibilities include:

  • Selecting and coordinating all power line carrier transceiver frequencies, ensuring adequate margins are maintained to prevent interference between carrier signals employed by FE and neighboring utilities.  This includes managing FirstEnergy (FE)’s participation in the notification activities as specified by the Utilities Telecommunication Council (UTC). 
  • Serving as a subject matter expert on the specification and application of power line carrier equipment including all types of carrier transmitter/receivers, hybrids, line tuners, line traps protective gaps, and power line carrier monitoring devices and schemes.
  • Developing expertise in the design and equipment configurations of FirstEnergy’s existing synchronous optical networking (SONET) installations used for pilot relay protection.  The purpose being to support future deployments and ongoing system operational and equipment upgrade needs. 
  • Supporting new protective relay and relay telecommunication equipment evaluations at FirstEnergy’s Center for Advanced Engineering Technologies (CAET) facility.  This includes both projects sponsored by Transmission Protection, as well as those by other FirstEnergy engineering groups that impact FE’s telecommunication designs.  Support will include assistance in the development of test plans and acceptance criteria and the evaluation of test results to ensure performance criteria is met. Participating in equipment testing is also expected as well as the development and presentation of results and recommendations to FEU management.   
  • Assisting in the development of protective relay design specifications for transmission line and substation projects for use by Design Engineers in developing construction implementation packages.  This involves verifying OPGW short circuit ratings and specifying the pilot communication and direct transfer trip equipment employed, including details on equipment models and communication architecture.
  • Developing communication equipment configuration settings for new and existing protection schemes. 
  • Participating in the peer review, electronic issuance, as-left verification and retention of intelligent electronic device (IED) configuration settings through the use of the company’s PowerBase setting management system .
  • On a limited basis, supporting development of relay settings for new and existing protection schemes.  This involves performing relay setting coordination studies through the use of “time-current coordination” curves, “resistance-reactance” (R-X) diagrams, and step-distance diagrams, as well as the utilization of the short circuit, one-line, coordination graphics, relay checking and system simulator modules of the CAPE (Computer Assisted Protection Engineering) software program.
  • Providing technical support to other FE engineers engaged in the analysis of protection system misoperations caused by pilot communication component degradation or failure. This includes supporting the development of corrective action plans to prevent recurrence. 
  • Performing transmission protection and pilot communication activities with the FE operating companies (distribution), other utilities, nonutility generation, the Regional Transmission Organization, and Reliability Councils
  • Following established procedures and retain evidence to support compliance with the various NERC Protection and Control (PRC) Reliability Standards
  • Providing staff assistance to management and higher levels of professionals, as needed
  • Conducting technical research.  Compiling and analyzing moderately complex data.  Solving practical problems
  • Demonstrating a solid commitment to all aspects of safety
  • Meeting customer needs by providing sound service and responsiveness
  • Exercising sound decision making by developing alternatives and recommendations to technical work processes
  • Supporting FE storm restoration processes including performing assigned field storm roles during significant system disturbances
  • Actively seeking formal and informal learning opportunities to better understand departmental procedures
  • In field supporting complex misoperation investigations and end-to-end testing activities on a very limited basis
  • Building relationships and credibility across organization.


Qualifications include:

  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering or Telecommunication Engineering from an ABET accredited school.  In lieu of a degree, a Professional Engineer’s (PE) License is required.
  • A Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Certificate is preferred
  • Minimum of three (3) years' of Engineering experience is required
  • Knowledge of Analog Communication Fundamentals (modulation, forward/reflected power, dB basics, SNR, etc.) and how this applies to pilot communications over electric power lines including hardware employed (Line Tuners, CCVTs, Wave Traps, Transceivers, Hybrids, etc.)    
  • Understanding of basic networking concepts including architecture, major hardware (switches, routers and gateways) and physical media (fiber, copper and media converters)
  • Knowledge of communication systems and protocols used in the utility transmission substation environment (DNP, Modbus, SEL Communication Protocol, Goose Messaging, IEC 61850, TCP/IP) is desired
  • Experience with the following software - Schweitzer Engineering Laboratory AcSELerator QuickSet(SEL-5030), Doble PowerBase, Ruggedcom Crossbow, Softstuf Wavewin and Sun-Net iTOA considered a plus
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Business applications including Outlook, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Word, SharePoint, OneNote and Teams
  • Demonstrated effective analytical and reasoning capabilities, refined oral and written communication skills, including ability to effectively structure and confidently present information to peers and leadership
  • Ability to work both independently and in teams on assignments that may be broad in nature involving the compilation, preparation, and analysis of various statistical/analytical data, reports, statements, studies, or projects
  • Basic research skills required
  • Ability to read and effectively interpret electrical single lines, three lines, schematics, wiring diagrams, relay functional diagrams, etc. from a variety of sources
  • Desire to continue to learn and grow, work across FirstEnergy, and deliver accurate results within established guidelines
  • Self-motivated and a self-starter, customer focused, and results oriented
  • Travel, as required.  Travel is typically less than 5% of time and seldom involves an overnight stay
  • Living within 60 minutes of the downtown Akron is preferred. Consideration for those living beyond this commute will be considered with understanding that job duties will often entail working at CAET facility in Akron for multiple consecutive days


Benefits, Compensation & Workforce Diversity

At FirstEnergy, employees are key to our success. We depend on their talents to meet the challenges of our changing business environment. We are committed to rewarding individual and team efforts through our total rewards philosophy which includes competitive pay plus incentive compensation, a company-sponsored pension plan, 401(k) savings plan with matching employer contribution, a choice of medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, and life insurance programs, as well as skills development training with tuition reimbursement. Please visit our website at to learn more about all of our employee rewards programs. FirstEnergy proudly supports workforce diversity. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with a disability. No recruiters or agencies without a previously signed contract. Unable to sponsor or transfer H-1B visas at this time.


Safety is a core value for FirstEnergy and is essential to all of our business activities. We ensure employees have the tools, information, and processes to perform their duties in a manner that assures safety for themselves, their co-workers, our customers and the public. Our goals are to provide a safe work environment, to maintain an accident-free, injury-free workplace, and to promote and maintain public safety. To meet these goals, we dedicate ourselves to achieving world-class safety standards.

Position Classification



FirstEnergy Human Resources Team

Nearest Major Market: Akron
Nearest Secondary Market: Cleveland

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