Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers

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Also known as:
Electric Powerline Examiner, Electric Utility Lineworker, Electrical High Tension Tester, Electrical Lineworker, Power Lineworker, Underground Conduit Installer

ABOUT ELECTRICAL POWER-LINE INSTALLER OR REPAIRER CAREERS
Video transcript

Imagine arranging wires pulsing with lethal voltages of electrical current. Now imagine doing that at the top of a utility pole, in gusting winds, or during a snowstorm. This is all in a day's work for electrical power line installers and repairers.

On solid ground, these outdoor workers use muscle and power tools to put up towers and other equipment, or dig holes and set up poles for power lines. In urban areas, installers have to crawl down through manholes to position or repair power lines underground. Elsewhere, line installers have to be comfortable stringing and splicing cables 20-40 feet overhead, working from a truck-mounted bucket or climbing poles themselves.

Apprenticeships and training programs sponsored by unions are the best ways to learn the required skills and critical safety procedures for this job. But along with technical knowledge, it requires strength, agility, and, during severe weather, lots of stamina.

Installers and repairers are called out on short notice during or after storms and work long shifts, often traveling far from home for days until power is restored. Experienced installers and repairers achieve relatively high salaries, enhanced by regular overtime pay and the knowledge that a community's energy needs depend on your agility and ability.

SNAPSHOT
Install or repair cables or wires used in electrical power or distribution systems. May erect poles and light or heavy duty transmission towers.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
HIGH
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Lay underground cable directly in trenches, or string it through conduit running through the trenches.

Pull up cable by hand from large reels mounted on trucks.

Clean, tin, and splice corresponding conductors by twisting ends together or by joining ends with metal clamps and soldering connections.

String wire conductors and cables between poles, towers, trenches, pylons, and buildings, setting lines in place and using winches to adjust tension.

Place insulating or fireproofing materials over conductors and joints.

Dig holes, using augers, and set poles, using cranes and power equipment.

Replace or straighten damaged poles.

Attach cross-arms, insulators, and auxiliary equipment to poles prior to installing them.

Identify defective sectionalizing devices, circuit breakers, fuses, voltage regulators, transformers, switches, relays, or wiring, using wiring diagrams and electrical-testing instruments.

Splice or solder cables together or to overhead transmission lines, customer service lines, or street light lines, using hand tools, epoxies, or specialized equipment.

Trim trees that could be hazardous to the functioning of cables or wires.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
TOP SKILLS
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Troubleshooting Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.