CHARLOTTE – When severe weather rolls in or the lights go out, lineworkers mobilize.
Their jobs are unlike any other – chasing storms, climbing poles, understanding the intricacies of the energy grid – and being prepared no matter the circumstances.
On April 18, Duke Energy celebrates National Lineworker Appreciation Day and the work these men and women do every day to keep the power flowing to millions of customers in communities across the country.
Line technicians are essential to providing and maintaining reliable electric service every day.
“Whether power is impacted by winter storms, hurricanes, traffic accidents or any other cause, lineworkers are our first line of defense and they stand ready to respond when our customers need us most,” said Scott Batson, senior vice president and chief distribution officer at Duke Energy. “Powering communities is the heart of our business. Lineworkers are heroes who come to work never knowing what they’ll face in a given day – and I’m proud of their steadfast commitment to serving our customers.”
In celebration of National Lineworker Appreciation Day, Duke Energy offers nine facts you might not know about lineworkers:
1. They wrestle wild weather. All lineworkers are trained to respond to major outages. Working in the aftermath of extreme weather such as severe storms, hurricanes and ice comes with the territory.
2. Vital infrastructure is in their hands. Besides working to power homes, lineworkers are responsible for keeping energy flowing to hospitals, schools, water treatment facilities, businesses and industries.
3. Clothes matter. While on the job, line technicians wear specific safety gear known as personal protection equipment (PPE). PPE can include hard hats, rubber sleeves and gloves (made to protect 30,000 volts of electricity), steel-toed boots, climbers for scaling poles, and climbing belts that can weigh up to 30 pounds each.
4. It’s natural to aim high. Lineworkers frequently work perched on a 40-foot pole, sky high in an elevated bucket truck or on transmission towers at heights of up to 120 feet – often in challenging or hazardous conditions such as rain, winter weather or sweltering heat. But no matter how extreme the situation – strict safety procedures are always in place.
5. Technology is part of the toolkit. Lineworkers install self-healing smart technology that automatically detects power outages and quickly reroutes power when outages occur – which can help reduce the number of outages and the duration of an outage.
6. Slang is standard. Have a knuckle-buster handy? What about a lobster claw, kettle or booger wire? Lineworkers frequently use lingo for tools and tasks – it’s passed down from one generation of lineworkers to the next.
7. Animals come with the job. A common cause of power outages is animal interference – especially squirrels and snakes.
8. The tally is tremendous. More than 7,800 Duke Energy and contract lineworkers make up the team. They are responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining equipment and more than 300,000 miles of power lines in Duke Energy’s service territories – enough to wrap around the Earth 12 times.
9. They’re shaping the grid of the future. Lineworkers are building a stronger, better protected and smarter electric infrastructure, improving reliability and resiliency, and preparing the grid for cleaner energy options and a lower carbon future.