Electricity distribution worker

Electricity distribution workers

Description

Electricity distribution workers construct and maintain electric power transmission and distribution systems. They maintain and repair powerlines, compliant with safety regulations.

Electricity distribution workers typically do the following:

  • keep equipment in good working order
  • install and dismantle equipment like transmission cables
  • assemble or remove components
  • adjust and configure electrical systems
  • find and diagnose faults
  • inspect and test cables and other equipment

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to electricity distribution worker:

linesman
lineworker
electricity power line worker
electricity transmission worker
powerline worker
electric powerline worker
linewoman
lineman
lineswoman
power lines construction worker
electricity distribution technician
electric powerline technician

Working conditions

Electricity distribution workers can work in remote rural areas. Their working environment may be outdoors in all weathers, at height and physically demanding. They may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Minimum qualifications

Job applicants must have high school diplomas or the equivalent. Some vocational and technical schools, working with local power companies, offer one-year certificate programs that emphasize hands-on fieldwork. Two-year associate degree programs, where available, include courses in electricity, electronics, fiber optics, and microwave transmission. Graduates of these programs get special consideration from employers.

Power companies train most of their employees on the job, with experienced workers teaching beginners. Classroom instruction may be provided for new workers and for workers seeking advancement. The classes cover the fundamental laws of electricity, safety rules, and how to read blueprints.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Electricity distribution worker is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Electricity distribution worker career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to electricity distribution worker.

cable jointer
overhead line worker
street lighting electrician
wind turbine technician
solar energy technician

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of electricity distribution worker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of electricity distribution worker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

electrical power distributor
electrical transmission system operator
power lines supervisor
hydroelectric plant operator
geothermal power plant operator

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of electricity distribution worker.

  • Transmission towers: Types of tall structures which are used in the transmission and distribution of electrical energy, and which support overhead power lines, such as high voltage AC and high voltage DC transmission towers. The different types of tower designs and materials used for its construction, and the types of currents.
  • Electrical discharge: The qualities and applications of electrical discharge, including voltage and electrodes.
  • Electric current: Flow of electric charge, carried by electrons or ions in a medium such as an electrolyte or a plasma.
  • Electrical power safety regulations: The compliance with safety measures which need to be taken during the installation, operation, and maintenance of constructions and equipment which function in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical power, such as the appropriate safety gear, equipment handling procedures, and preventive actions.
  • Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of electricity distribution worker.

  • Install power lines: Install cables and networks for electricity distribution on the street, in the fields and in buildings, and put them into operation.
  • Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
  • Inspect overhead power lines: Inspect the structures used in the transmission and distribution of electrical energy, such as the conductors, towers, and poles, to identify damage and need for repairs, and ensure routine maintenance is performed.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear: Wear relevant and necessary protective gear, such as protective goggles or other eye protection, hard hats, safety gloves.
  • Inspect underground power cables: Inspect the underground power cables during installation or repair activities in order to identify faults and assess the extent of damage or need for repairs, and to ensure they are correctly installed and maintained.
  • Repair underground power cables: Identify damage and perform the required repairs, as well as perform routine maintenance, to underground power cables used in the transmission and distribution of electrical energy.
  • Repair overhead power lines: Identify damage and perform the required repairs, as well as perform routine maintenance, to overhead power lines and transmission towers used in the transmission and distribution of electrical energy.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of electricity distribution worker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Electricity consumption: The different factors which are involved in the calculation and estimation of electricity consumption in a residence or facility, and methods in which electricity consumption can be lowered or made more efficient.
  • Power engineering: Subdiscipline of energy and electrical engineering which specialises in the generation, transmission, distribution, and usage of electrical power through the connection of electrical devices to motors, generators, and transformers, such as an AC-DC power adapter.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of electricity distribution worker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Test procedures in electricity transmission: Perform tests on powerlines and cables, as well as other equipment used for the transmission of electrical power, in order to ensure the cables are well insulated, the voltage can be controlled well, and the equipment is compliant with regulations.
  • Ensure safety in electrical power operations: Monitor and control operations on an electrical power transmission and distribution system in order to ensure that major risks are controlled and prevented, such as electrocution risks, damage to property and equipment, and instability of transmission or distribution.
  • Advise on safety improvements: Provide relevant recommendations following the conclusion of an investigation; ensure that recommendations are duly considered and where appropriate acted upon.
  • Maintain electrical equipment: Test electrical equipment for malfunctions. Take safety measures, company guidelines, and legislation concerning electrical equipment into account. Clean, repair and replace parts and connections as required.
  • Transport construction supplies: Bring construction materials, tools and equipment to the construction site and store them properly taking various aspects into account such as the workers’ safety and protection from deterioration.
  • Inspect construction supplies: Check construction supplies for damage, moisture, loss or other problems before using the material.
  • Calculate needs for construction supplies: Take measurements on site and estimate the amount of materials required for the construction or restoration project.
  • Respond to electrical power contingencies: Set in motion the strategies created for responding to emergency situations, as well as respond to unforeseen problems, in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical power, such as power outages, in order to rapidly solve the problem and return to normal operations.
  • Ensure compliance with electricity distribution schedule: Monitor the operations of an electrical energy distribution facility and electricity distribution systems in order to ensure that the distribution goals and the electricity supply demands are met.
  • Assess areas for power line installation: Assess areas in order to identify whether it would be suitable for the installation of underground or overhead power lines and cables, and to assess the energy needs of the area and how it could be better connected to the grid.
  • Enforce safety procedures when working at heights: Plan and prepare all documentation and equipment related to working at heights and its hazards in order to inform the workers under your supervision and instruct them how to work safely.
  • Read electricity meter: Interpret the measuring instruments which measure the consumption and reception of electricity in a facility or residence, record the results in a correct manner.
  • Follow safety procedures when working at heights: Take necessary precautions and follow a set of measures that assess, prevent and tackle risks when working at a high distance from the ground. Prevent endangering people working under these structures and avoid falls from ladders, mobile scaffolding, fixed working bridges, single person lifts etc. since they may cause fatalities or major injuries.

ISCO group and title

7413 – Electrical line installers and repairers


References
  1. Electricity distribution worker – ESCO
  2. Electricity distribution worker | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Worker Job Description – StateUniversity.com
  4. Featured image: Photo by Chris F from Pexels
Last updated on October 11, 2022

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