Nelson Nyirongo3

Spotlight on the Line Trade: Nelson Nyirongo of Duquesne Light Company

May 7, 2021
Nelson Nyirongo says the equipment he uses every day helps him to perform his job safely and efficiently for DLC.
  • Born in Africa in Lusaka, Zambia, and has seven siblings.
  • Has two children.
  • Is a first-generation electric utility lineworker and the first person in his family to work in this field.
  • Enjoys traveling. In his spare time, he gets into a lot of “do-it-yourself” work around his house, and he likes tinkering with fast sports cars, like the Chevy Corvette. He also decompresses through meditation.  

Early Years
I used to be a cable worker, which sparked my interest in joining the utility industry. I went to trade school and worked as an electrician for five years before starting at Duquesne Light Company (DLC) six years ago.

Day in the Life
As a journey lineworker, some of my responsibilities include restoring power and maintaining the system. Every day is different, and that’s what I love about my job. Sometimes we work on broken poles from motor vehicle accidents; other times we’re restoring power and performing routine maintenance. Currently, DLC is replacing older poles across our service territory. We’re also converting many of our circuits to be controlled remotely through interrupters.

Challenges and Rewards
The biggest challenges are maintaining a safe environment when working around hot phases and wires and in certain weather conditions. There are also many rewards in this industry. One of the biggest ones for me is financial freedom. It’s fulfilling to do what you love and get paid good money doing it. It’s a great job with so many rewarding benefits.

Safety Lesson
When I was an apprentice, I once saw the phases get together. I’ll never forget what that looked and sounded like. That’s why safety is very important in this line of work. Hazards are always looming because we work with high voltage, broken poles, traffic — all in different types of weather conditions. It’s critical to be trained, vigilant and prepared at all times.

Memorable Storm
My most memorable storm moment was when DLC sent us to help Florida Power & Light Co. after Hurricane Irma impacted their service territory in September 2017. It took us more than two weeks to fully restore power. The working conditions were very challenging because it was a disaster area. There were flooded roads, debris and fallen trees everywhere. I’ve never seen anything like that, and it was a joy restoring power for the residents there. Everyone was so appreciative of our work everywhere we went. At the end of the trip, the locals cooked a big meal for all the crews as a sign of appreciation. We were also featured in a local newspaper.

Future Plans
I can’t say enough about the rewarding work we do in this industry. We power homes, businesses, hospitals, schools — all of it. And it’s even more satisfying to know that I always have the support of my teammates. I work with some incredible people who give it their all every day and always look out for each other. My goal is to keep working for DLC as long as I can. I’m grateful to be part of a company that is so important to the customers and communities we serve.

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 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 at [email protected].

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