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APS Crews Provide Reliable Service 24/7

Lineworkers, substation electricians and troublemen all play a unique role in providing an essential service for customers 365 days a year. They are among a network of critical employees at APS, including those generating power at our plants, planners ensuring we have the necessary equipment when we need it and care center advisors ready to take customer calls 24 hours a day. It’s challenging work that was recognized by Governor Hobbs when she proclaimed Utility Worker Appreciation Week (Aug. 20-26, 2023) for their commitment to serving customers reliably and ensuring the safety of millions of Arizonans.

 

Many of us seek shelter during a monsoon or winter storm and enjoy staying indoors when temperatures climb well over 100 degrees in the summer. While we head indoors, our APS crews travel out into the field to help support reliable service for our customers.

 

If you’ve ever seen an APS employee climbing electrical poles and towers, working outdoors in extreme conditions, or working in confined spaces such as trenches and manholes, this person is a part of our highly skilled electrical team. 

 

As electrical first responders, they play a vital role in delivering reliable power to customers by troubleshooting to find the best solution, restoring power and fixing damaged equipment.

 

Our APS crews travel across the state to support more than 34,000 square miles of poles, wires, substations and other equipment that deliver power to customers. They are ready to respond 24/7 no matter the circumstance.

 

There are different types of electrical employees who respond during emergencies. Our lineworkers, substation electricians and troublemen all share common knowledge and responsibilities, but each job is uniquely challenging.  

 

Lineworkers

If you love heights, this is the job for you. Lineworkers work on electrical poles and wires sometimes reaching heights of 200 feet (as high as a 20-story building). They not only construct and maintain overhead powerlines, but they work on underground power lines as well. When a storm hits, lineworkers respond and work diligently to restore power safely and quickly.

 

Substation electricians

Substations are located across our system and perform various functions, including shifting the voltage of lines from higher-voltage transmission lines (the big lines that carry large amounts of power from power plants) to lower-voltage distribution lines (the ones that serve homes and businesses). Substation electricians support the construction, operation and maintenance of these locations.  They understand the schematics of a substation and often get called out during storms to repair damage and restore power. 

 

Troublemen

As investigators, troublemen are typically the first to arrive during a loss of power. They quickly head to the location with the reported outage and problem solve to determine the cause. Once a cause is determined, troublemen will report back to the operations center and send responding crews who will assist with repairs. Troublemen also help with preventive maintenance by inspecting lines and equipment. 

Each job requires extensive training, typically consisting of a four-year apprenticeship program that involves both classroom instruction and on-the-job training. Additionally, workers must have certifications in CPR, first aid and forklift operation. A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is also required to operate heavy vehicles such as diggers, bucket trucks and cranes.

“These jobs require physical strength, stamina and dexterity to work with heavy equipment and tools near and around electrical lines,” said Jason Ramsay, supervisor of technical and safety training for APS. “Individuals require excellent problem-solving, troubleshooting, and organizational skills to read and interpret wiring diagrams, locate underground cable faults, install meters, and inspect power lines for possible repair or replacement. Employees must have a high level of safety awareness and adherence to guidelines to prevent accidents and injuries.”

 

Brandon Pritchard started his career with APS in 2011 and now works as a troubleman in the field. “There are a number of challenges inherent to working as a troubleman,” said Pritchard. “A troubleman’s primary job function is to respond to often dangerous circumstances, in the midst of unrelenting inclement weather conditions, and ensure personal and public safety while restoring power to customers. With such considerable challenges comes tremendous rewards as well. Having the ability to provide much-needed services that keep our customers safe and comfortable is by far the most fulfilling of all.”

 

Despite the difficulties and risks involved in their jobs, line workers, substation electricians and troublemen enjoy the satisfaction of providing reliable energy – making every day brighter for Arizona communities. If you’re interested in energizing your future and supporting reliable service, visit our website to learn more about our pre-apprentice programs.

NOTE: This article was originally published on July 24, 2023 and updated on September 6, 2023.

substation electrician

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