Cooperative News

A day in the field

A journeyworker provides insight into a day on the job

With impressive growth occurring in our Liberty Hill District, journeyworker Keith Baty’s crew stays busy. And while PEC service crews are responsible for restoring power during outages, the bulk of their time is actually spent on planned jobs that involve building systems to connect service to new residential and commercial construction.

Journeyworker and lineworkers

On a steamy day in May, Baty’s crew is setting a new pole for residential service in a subdivision near the small town of Jarrell. The crew pulls their trucks up to the site and quickly gets to work drilling holes in the hard, rocky ground for the pole. An apprentice is running the digger.

Journeyworker and lineworkers
Journeyworker Keith Baty helps hoist a transformer up to waiting apprentices Matt Nielsen (left) and Anthony Sanchez (right).

It has been decided that two of the crew’s level 1 apprentices will climb the pole to hang the heavy transformer. Typically, a bucket truck would be used to mount a transformer, but the apprentices will benefit from the practice. There will be times in the future when, due to weather or space restrictions, a bucket truck will not be an option.

Robert Collins, a level 3 apprentice, carefully connects the new line to a live wire 400 feet away from the new pole, always under the careful supervision of at least one journeyworker. Baty and fellow journeyworker Justin Rainwater watch from the ground and provide Collins with instruction that helps keep him safe.

A big part of Baty’s job is to mentor and supervise the apprentices. “A lot of places, you wouldn’t be able to take the time to have these guys do hands-on work that is so important to their development,” he said.

A steer stands next to a PEC crew in an open field
Lineworkers never know what they may encounter, but they can appreciate a friendly audience.

The type and quality of on-the-job training PEC lineworkers have by the time they become journeyworkers keeps things running safely and smoothly in the field, and our members benefit from that every day. Despite our expansive, diverse, and rapidly growing service area, PEC ranks highly among Texas electric utilities for reliability, and we have our dedicated crews to thank for that.

While journeyworker is the highest level a lineworker can achieve, training is never finished. Lineworkers of all levels train year round, constantly improving and updating their skills to make PEC a safer, more reliable cooperative. Learn more about what it takes to become a journeyworker.