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Notice from Black Hills Energy: The safety and well-being of our employees and candidates is a top priority. For the foreseeable future, candidates who are selected for an interview will be able to participate virtually via video or phone.

Distribution Engineer I (Distribution Planning)

Location: Rapid City, SD, United States
Job ID: 32937-1A
Date Posted: Jun 25, 2020
Salary: $57750 to $86650 anually

Job Description

Job Specifications

This position requires relocation to Rapid City, South Dakota.  See relocation assistance details below.

Responsible for short- and long-range planning studies; updating, validating, correcting and developing the distribution planning models; and supporting the local Operations team with field or engineering related questions.  

SALARY RANGE:     $57,750 - $86,650 (Determined by the knowledge, skills and abilities of the applicant.)

REPORTING RELATIONSHIP:   Supervisor of Distribution Planning 

LOCATION:   Rapid City, South Dakota:

  • To learn more about our locations, please visit the location page on our career website.
  • Relocation assistance is available for this position!  Package is based on distance/complexity of the move, and individual circumstances.  Contents of our relocation program are subject to change and may vary based on position.


  • Perform engineering studies for Black Hills Energy’s (BHE) electric distribution system.  Evaluate system performance and recommend engineering solutions to address system risks, reliability and load growth over a one, five, and ten-year planning horizon.
    • Provide initial engineering plans and budgets for new projects.  Support the Project Origination process.  
  • Maintain and utilize an electric distribution system model to complete coordination studies, fault current studies and load flow analyses.  Maintain the distribution model accuracy by working with internal stakeholders and updating the model’s equipment databases as needed.
  • Complete circuit breaker, recloser and fuse coordination studies to support other technical and operations groups.
  • Compile and analyze historical distribution load data and forecasts.
  • Assist operations departments with capital and reliability project planning.
  • Assist internal operations and business teams on load growth/capacity, analysis of the system.   
  • Partner with internal stakeholders to answer various questions in regards to system setup, possible contingency options, protection and work as assigned.  
  • Perform tasks of limited and specific scope under the direction of experienced personnel.
  • Apply standard engineering practices and techniques, utilizing prescribed methods in carrying out a sequence of engineering tasks.  As needed, apply best practices for engineering related questions. 
  • Learn to anticipate problems. Solve a range of problems and analyze possible solutions using standard procedures. 
    • Examples would be load balancing, voltage support, power factor correction, contingency planning, power quality support, others as directed.  
  • Provide engineering support for internal BHE customer representatives.  
    • Partake in discussions with customer’s as requested by BHE customer representatives.  
  • Support internal legal and regulatory groups as a subject matter expert for PUC hearings, comment sessions, tariff creations or edits, or related.    
  • Actively contribute to department/project work.  Begin to learn project management skills.  Support and/or lead projects as assigned.
  • Be a technical lead for the department; primary point of contact for others to ask technical questions and respond or assist with determining an answer.  
    • Includes answering questions on standards or reviewing and providing recommendations on standards.  
  • Support various business initiatives; distributive energy resource (DER) requests and interconnections, hosting capacity maps, along with others as directed.  
  • Comply with industry regulations. 


  • Provide project management and administrative support for assigned work.
  • Support safety, diversity, and social responsibility goals of the department and company.
  • Learn to prioritize workflow, establish schedule and monitor accomplishments. 
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state, NERC and FERC regulations.
  • Participate in formal training programs for the improvement of job knowledge and technical skills when made available.
  • Provide after-hours support to other BHE departments during outages and emergencies as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.  


  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering required.
  • Electrical engineering degree preferred. 
  • Power systems emphasis preferred. 
  • Experience with Milsoft Windmil/LightTable, CYME, Synergi Electric, PSS SINCAL or similar software preferred.
  • Electric utility or electrical consultant experience preferred.   
  • Relevant experience through Black Hills Energy or other electric utility or electric consultant internships preferred.


  • Good working knowledge of utility electrical system design philosophy and equipment operation.
  • Understanding of electrical circuits, drawings and engineering analysis. 
  • Familiarity with the National Electrical Safety Code and electric utility industry safety work practices. 
  • Working knowledge of applicable technical and regulatory compliance standards.
  • Ability to work independently as well as in cross-functional teams.
  • Detail-oriented with a focus on documentation and organization.  
  • Self-motivated with ability to drive projects to completion.  
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills with the ability to effectively communicate with staff at all levels within the organization.  Be able to convey technical information to non-technical personnel.   
  • Strong computer skills, including proficiency in Milsoft Windmil/LightTable (or similar modeling software) and Microsoft Office. 
  • Ability to learn and maintain proficiency with use, programming and automation of new systems and software as technology evolves.
  • Strong project management skills, ability to prioritize and complete multiple tasks in a timely manner with minimal supervision and accurately record time spent on projects.
  • Proficiency in reading electrical one-lines, control drawings and schematics.
  • Learn and apply basic fundamental concepts, practices and procedures of electrical engineering.
  • Requires travel within the utility service territory and for support of corporate subsidiaries.
  • Perform engineering analysis in close proximity to energized electrical facilities as needed.  

The mental and physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Mental Requirements:  Ability to understand, remember, apply oral and/or written instructions or other information, and communicate routine factual information. Ability to apply common sense in performing job functions, usually within a set of rules or guidelines. 

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is continuously (67% or more) required to: use fingers and hands, communicate, and have close visual acuity. Employee is frequently (34-66%) required to: ascend/descend stairs, position self to access lower items, and move about the office. The employee may occasionally (less than 33%) be required to: push, pull and reach. Employee must be able to operate routine office equipment including computers and similar equipment. Must be able to routinely perform this work for an average of 6-8 hours per day and occasional extended hours as necessary. Must be capable of regular, reliable, and timely attendance.

Specific lifting abilities required by this job include:  Sedentary work. Exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally and/or negligible amount of force frequently or continuously to lift, carry, push, pull or sitting most of the time. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required only occasionally and all other sedentary criteria are met.

Work environment:  Must be able to routinely perform work indoors in climate-controlled shared work area with moderate noise level, and occasionally outdoors in sometimes inclement weather. Worker may be subject to hazards including variety of physical conditions, such as proximity to moving mechanical parts, moving vehicles, electrical current, working in places of height, or close quarters.  Must be capable of up to 10% travel (e.g. 2 days/month) by automobile (as driver and passenger), commercial airlines, rental vehicles and public transportation and be able to lodge in public facilities. Travel will be necessary to conduct the duties of this job, and the employee must have the ability to drive and have proper licensing.

This description is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of responsibilities, duties, and requirements for employees in this position. Job descriptions may and do change periodically. Where positions are covered by a collective bargaining unit agreement, the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining unit agreement will apply.

About our Company: We are a customer focused, growth-oriented utility company that is devoted to our communities. We have a mission to improve life with energy and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. Our diverse culture sparks unique perspectives, opening doors to new ideas and possibilities. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, we have over 2900 employees and serve 1.2 million natural gas and electric utility customers across eight states (South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Arkansas).

Enjoy our Comprehensive Benefits Package: annual incentive program, 401(k) (6% company match and up to 9% company retirement contribution), tuition reimbursement, paid time off, additional Veteran PTO, military leave differential pay, paid holidays and annual floating holidays, company paid short term and long term disability, paid maternity and paternity benefits, health and wellness program, and competitive medical, dental and vision insurance.

Candidates must successfully pass a pre-employment drug screen and background check. 

Black Hills Energy does not sponsor applicants for work visas. All applicants must be legally authorized to work in the US.

EOE disability/veteran.

#midwest, #rapid+ #northwest

Wage: 57750 to 86650
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Rapid City, South Dakota
You'll find that it is the ideal community to live, work and do business in. With hiking trails, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park in your backyard, there are endless opportunities to enjoy nature.

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