For lineworkers, weathering the storm is just another day on the job. On April 18, Duke Energy celebrates National Lineworker Appreciation Day – an acknowledgement of the challenging work of utility lineworkers nationwide who are committed to keeping the lights on and readying the grid for a low-carbon future.
Line teams support daily customer needs as well as projects that will help modernize and strengthen the grid to improve reliability and resiliency, enable the connection of more renewables and help protect it from cybersecurity and physical threats.
Lineworkers also perform the work that they’ve become known for – ensuring power flows to vital infrastructure such as hospitals and water treatment facilities and to everyday home conveniences – always keeping safety top of mind. Through hurricanes, lightning, wind, ice, and even extreme heat and cold, they diligently perform hands-on work through high-stress situations and the aftermath to serve customers.
“Our line teams are the calm before, during and after a storm. They maintain our systems and serve our communities in their greatest time of need – going head-to-head with storms and emergencies to deliver safe and reliable service,” said Scott Batson, senior vice president and chief distribution officer at Duke Energy. “Being a lineworker isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly a job that impacts everyone.”
Battling storms, building the future
Ten years after the U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2013 designating April 18 as National Lineworker Appreciation Day, the role of lineworkers is more important than ever before – in maintaining and growing energy infrastructure, protecting public safety and making sure communities have power.
“Our lineworkers continue to do the important work of ‘keeping the lights on’ – whether it’s our transmission techs working on high-voltage transmission lines that carry electricity from power plants or our distribution techs working on the lines that carry power to homes and businesses,” said Harry Sideris, executive vice president of customer experience, solutions and services for Duke Energy. “I’m proud that our line teams prioritize safety and taking care of our customers and of each other.”
When Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida as the fifth-strongest hurricane on record, Duke Energy lineworkers were some of the first to answer the call, working alongside first responders to restore power to nearly 2 million outages in Florida and the Carolinas within 72 hours.
“My job comes with daily challenges and responsibilities for both my crew and me, but I take pride in safely and efficiently delivering power to our customers – so they can go about their lives with the modern conveniences that electricity provides, and that most people depend on,” said Joshua Haithcock, senior journeyman lineworker with the New Bern coastal zone workforce development crew.
The more than 7,700 Duke Energy and contract lineworkers who make up the Duke Energy line team 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 circle the Earth 12 times.
A sky-high career
As Duke Energy continues to launch new grid and infrastructure improvement projects to modernize, harden and technologically advance the power grid, the need for skilled workers – especially entry-level lineworkers – is also on the upswing. Lineworkers play an integral role in a more efficient, more reliable digital grid.
The company’s lineworker hiring strategy is transforming to fast-track and hire more aggressively, collaborate with local community colleges to identify lineworker talent, shorten the new hire onboarding process and deploy new hires more rapidly.
“It’s a great time to be working in energy – and we’re fortunate to be able to source great talent through our community colleges,” said Batson. “Individuals who fill these roles join our other lineworkers as ambassadors for the company when they’re in the field.”
Those interested in a career as an electric lineworker with Duke Energy should contact community colleges directly for more information on their specific lineworker training programs, including available funding for tuition.
Over the past six years, Duke Energy and its Foundation have provided more than $2.8 million in funding to support lineworker programs in states where the company operates.
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