Challenging. Exciting. Rewarding. Fulfilling.
Just a few words that come to mind when power line technicians at NS Power talk about their trade.
They are passionate about their jobs, focused on safety and driven by the desire to help people.
With more than 31, 800 kilometers of power lines making up our electricity grid in Nova Scotia, there is no shortage of work. The call can come at any time of the day, during any type of weather.
On National Line Worker Appreciation Day (July 10), we introduce you to a few of the members of our dedicated team.
Women in the Trade
Bethany Locke, Power Line Technician Apprentice, Dartmouth
Growing up in a mining town in Labrador City, Bethany always knew she wanted to be in the trades.
She started out in another trade but it wasn’t everything she wanted. That’s when her mother told her about the line trade. A trade her mom described as allowing you to be physically active outdoors and giving you the feeling of accomplishment when you restore power during a storm.
“So I looked into it and immediately fell in love and ever since then I have my mother to thank for pointing me in the right direction,” says Bethany.
Bethany started her apprenticeship with NS Power last July. Based out of Dartmouth for this apprentice rotation, she has been getting experience building new lines in subdivisions and hooking up services to newly built or renovated houses.
“I love that at the top of every climb there’s a beautiful view and just a sense of accomplishment when you restore power to customers or hook up a new house so the contactor can continue with their work to give somebody their dream home and a roof over their head.”
Bethany is one of four female power line technician apprentices with NS Power. She is passionate about the trade and would like to see more women in it. So what would she say to women who are thinking about it?
“If you want it bad enough just keep pushing through. Some days are harder than others but anybody can overcome it with the right mindset and the right mentors to give you the support you need,” says Bethany. “I’m very grateful people here look at me not as a girl, they see me as a person – just like any other employee.”
If all goes according to plan, Bethany should have her red seal in about two and half years.
The Power of Helping People
Darnell Tolliver, Power Line Technician, Halifax
On the other side of the Halifax harbour Darnell Toliver is just as passionate about his work as a power line technician. Twenty-eight years after joining NS Power you can still hear the excitement in his voice as he talks about his job. Darnell has spent nearly half his time with the company working on the lines. It was his love of electricity and helping people, that drew him into the trade.
“No day is the same. Every day is different.”
He too loves the outdoors and finds the work challenging yet rewarding. He says as soon as the phone rings he is full of energy – ready to go. There are many things he enjoys about the job, especially the warm reception the line workers receive during big events like Dorian.
“When the power comes back on after a storm, it’s rewarding just to see the smile on people’s faces.”
Darnell recognizes the dangers of the job but he says he always has his mind on safety. He recalls the words of an older gentleman he met many years ago.
“When you back that truck in at the end of the day…no one was hurt…you know you had a good day.”
With four and a half years left before retirement, Darnell plans to make the most of it and encourages others to give the trade a try. A fulfilling job, where safety always comes first.
Three Generations of Line Workers
Eric "Charlie" Bowers, Power Line Technician for 29 years, Truro
Not far away in Truro, Eric Bowers, known as Charlie, has spent his entire career as a power line technician.
“I can’t see myself doing anything different, I’ve loved it for 30 years,” says Charlie.
You might say its in his blood. His father Eric was with NS Power for more than 35 years – 25 of them – working on the lines.
“I watched him, I grew up in a lineman’s family.”
And the family ties don’t end there. Charlie’s son Jacob is now in the trade as well. He’s an apprentice based in Amherst and will be the third-generation line worker with NS Power.
Jacob Bowers, Power Line Technician Apprentice, Amherst
“Last year we got to go to a line person rodeo in NB and then we went to Kansas City together last year as the father son kind of duo and that was kind of exciting,” said Charlie.
Aside from the long family history Charlie loves the work itself. “Electricity is becoming more and more essential every day and we get to make sure the conduit is there so people have it,” says Charlie.
A job he has always felt safe doing, even during the many difficult weather conditions they encounter. He is grateful for the appreciation customers show.
“Customers bring you a coffee or do something for you that makes you feel like you’re making a difference.”
And he is. Just like the other 200 power line technicians and apprentices with NS Power who work hard to power our communities every day.
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