I learned about the line trade from my friend, Bryan, who was an apprentice for NV Energy back in 2007. I noticed that he had a nice truck and extra money, while I was in a dead-end job delivering furniture. I was also inspired by my good friend, Kenny. We had a going-away party for him when he was heading to California for line school. I asked him if I could tag along, and I headed out to East Los Angeles to meet him for line school. We both finished school early and took the first job opportunity, which landed us both in Amarillo, Texas. I topped out as a journeyman lineman at Xcel Energy in 2011 and worked for the company for eight years. I then took a job on a crew for NV Energy, and my wife and I moved to Las Vegas to start our family in 2014.
Day in the Life
For the last four years, I have worked as a troubleman for NV Energy. I have always enjoyed helping people. When one of the troublemen retired, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to move into this position.
As a troubleman, you see a lot of off-the-wall things. For example, I have observed electricians checking energized blown 4 kV fuses with a voltmeter and discovered homeless people using energized overhead transformers built onto pads as coffee tables. Getting balloons and kites out of powerlines is a regular occurrence. It’s never fun to go shut someone off for stealing power, and that usually requires a police escort. I’ve also been a first responder to countless car accidents, and the worst part is arriving to a car-pole accident and seeing a car seat. I try to treat every incident delicately as if I’m on the other side, but also get the job done safely and efficiently.
Fourteen troublemen are spread out throughout the Las Vegas Valley, and we respond to dispatch by radio from our homes. Whoever is on duty closest to the call is who dispatch sends. A minimum of two troublemen is on shift at a time. The three shifts consist of mornings, swings and graves for full-time coverage, and we’re all on call 24/7 if extra help is needed. We work solo for the most part except when we need assistance, and then we’ll help each other out. I like the way NV Energy does this and think it works out great. Everyone works together, and if it’s something we can’t restore on our own, we relay via radio to dispatch what is needed, and they refer it to a crew.
I often hear the words, “my mother is on oxygen, please help.” I love being able to show up to the scene and get things under control, make it safe, and get the power turned back on. People are often very thankful to see me show up, and it’s a great feeling to know that I’m the person to bring relief to a stressful situation. When it comes to electricity, most people are afraid, which is understandably so.
Plans for the Future
My plans are to be the best troubleman I can be. I would have to say this is my “dream job,” and I fully intend to retire as a troubleman for NV Energy. It’s a great company to work for. They take great care of their employees in all aspects.
Editor’s Note: T&D World is excited to partner with Milwaukee Tool on a new sponsorship for the linemen profiled in our Lifeline department. To thank the linemen for their dedication to the line trade, Milwaukee will send a special custom tool package to each lineman profiled. If you are interested in being profiled in our monthly Lifeline department or know of a journeyman lineman who would be a good candidate, email T&D World Field Editor Amy Fischbach.