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Power company lineman are employed by power companies such as Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison, and by public utility districts across the United States. Linemen typically deal with issues related to electricity coverage, including laying power line, addressing electrical issues due to inclement weather and conducting general repairs. To be eligible for employment as a power company lineman, applicants must possess certain skills.
To be a power company lineman, eligible applicants must have solid math skills, because the study of electricity involves both basic and complicated mathematics. Necessary mathematics skills include geometry, trigonometry, basic industrial math and algebra involving linear equations, quadratic equations and determinants. Power company linemen must also have a thorough understanding of practical measurements, including fluid measurements, linear and distance measurements, and energy, force and power measurements.
Safety and Equipment Knowledge
Power company linemen routinely work in potentially dangerous situations involving equipment that could be hazardous if not handled properly. As a result, power company linemen must have a good grasp of safety procedures and electric equipment. Potential lineman should have an understanding of tools and equipment, principles of AC circuits and DC machines, rotating machinery, analog circuits and rigging technology, which includes education about basic rigging tools and techniques.
Linemen who are employed to do outside work must be skilled in climbing. Many linemen construct and repair transmission lines, which are the electric cords carried through towns, cities and countrysides via wooden poles. According to the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee, many linemen are not provided bucket trucks to do their work, so they instead must climb these wooden poles to repair electric problems at the tops. In these situations, linemen must climb carrying tools, even in bad weather, when electric power is imperative for homes and hospitals.
A solid grasp of electricity and its principles is required to be a power company lineman. This includes understanding electrical energy distribution, circuit analysis and Ohm's law, understanding capacitors and inductors, alternating circuits, and magnetism and electromagnetism. Usually in linemen training programs, students will be tested on their electrical knowledge by way of a virtual electronics lab that simulates currents and circuits, and allows students to assess situations without real danger.
Crystal Vogt has been an editor and freelance writer since 2005 and has had her work mentioned on MediaBistro, Yahoo! Finance and MSN Money, among other outlets. She received her M.S. in journalism from Boston University and holds a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara.