Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Job of a Troubleshooter

During outages, you may hear us say, “a Troubleshooter" (or Trouble Man) has been dispatched.  Troubleshooters are linemen who are first on the scene when there’s an outage. When there aren’t outages, their day-to-day work involves dropping service lines for tree trimmers, checking connections for customers with blinking lights, re-fusing poles after disruption from squirrels, etc.

Basically, whenever there is an electric problem, we send a Trouble Man first. (For the record, we currently do not have any women working as Troubleshooter Linemen.)

We caught up with Trouble Man Billy Dunlap, who has been with MLGW for almost 19 years, to talk about his role in a storm. “Let’s say a whole neighborhood is out. I ride down the streets and look for our primary wires until I locate the problem,” he says. “If a pole is broken at the end of the line, often I can cut a jumper and close the switch and get a percentage of the neighborhood back on.”

So, he restores what he can, often in just a few minutes, and then reports the larger issue so that the proper crew can be assigned. In the case above, replacing the pole would take several hours.

Billy continues, “A lot of times, if the line switch is blown and I don’t find anything wrong, than I can switch it back on. Squirrels, coons, birds, all kinds of things regularly blow the switches.”

He says working storms is hard work, but satisfying. “During a storm you feel like you’re really helping people.” The job does have its dangers – live wires, dogs, etc. “Because you are by yourself, you have to be really aware of your surroundings and make sure you’ve done all the required safety measures.”

All in all, Billy believes being a Trouble Man is the best.  “You do have to be mentally tough when it storms. However, on pretty days it’s a lot easier than being on the line truck working with hot primary wires,” he says.

To learn more about what a Troubleshooter does, watch the latest episode of “Power Up Memphis.” Gale Jones Carson conducts an in-depth interview with another one of our Troubleshooters, Freddie Mendius. Find the show here: 

#MLGW #ServingYouIsWhatWeDo

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