Hard hats, heights and heroes: 9 facts you might not know about lineworkers

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  • April 18 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day – a celebration of the men and women who power the lives of millions of people across the U.S.

  • Duke Energy line technicians play a key role in modernizing the grid, lighting the path for a clean energy future.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When severe weather rolls in or the lights go out, lineworkers mobilize. Their jobs are unlike any other – chasing storms, climbing poles, understanding the intricacies of the energy grid – and being prepared no matter the circumstances.

On April 18, Duke Energy celebrates National Lineworker Appreciation Day and the work these men and women do every day to keep the power flowing to millions of customers in communities across the country.

Line technicians are essential to providing and maintaining reliable electric service every day. They’re also lighting the way on our path to a clean energy future.

“Whether power is impacted by winter storms, hurricanes, traffic accidents or any other cause, lineworkers are our first line of defense and they stand ready to respond when our customers need us most,” said Scott Batson, senior vice president and chief distribution officer at Duke Energy. “Powering communities is the heart of our business. Lineworkers are heroes who come to work never knowing what they’ll face in a given day – and I’m proud of their steadfast commitment to serving our customers.”

In celebration of National Lineworker Appreciation Day, here are 9 facts you might not know about lineworkers:

  1. They wrestle wild weather. All lineworkers are trained to respond to major outages. Working in the aftermath of extreme weather such as severe storms, hurricanes and ice comes with the territory.  

  2. Vital infrastructure is in their hands. Besides working to power homes, lineworkers are responsible for keeping energy flowing to hospitals, schools, water treatment facilities, businesses and industries.

  3. Clothes matter. While on the job, line technicians wear specific safety gear known as personal protection equipment (PPE). PPE can include hard hats, rubber sleeves and gloves (made to protect 30,000 volts of electricity), steel-toed boots, climbers for scaling poles, and climbing belts that can weigh up to 30 pounds each.

  4. It’s natural to aim high. Lineworkers frequently work perched on a 40-foot pole, sky high in an elevated bucket truck or on transmission towers at heights of up to 120 feet – often in challenging or hazardous conditions such as rain, winter weather or sweltering heat. But no matter how extreme the situation – strict safety procedures are always in place.

  5. Technology is part of the toolkit. Lineworkers install self-healing smart technology that automatically detects power outages and quickly reroutes power when outages occur – which can help reduce the number of outages and the duration of an outage.

  6. Slang is standard. Have a knuckle-buster handy? What about a lobster claw, kettle or booger wire? Lineworkers frequently use lingo for tools and tasks – it’s passed down from one generation of lineworkers to the next.

  7. Animals come with the job.  A common cause of power outages is animal interference – especially squirrels and snakes.

  8. The tally is tremendous. More than 7,800 Duke Energy and contract lineworkers make up the team. They are responsible for constructing, operating and maintaining equipment and more than 300,000 miles of power lines in Duke Energy's service territories – enough to wrap around the Earth 12 times.

  9. They’re shaping the grid of the future. Lineworkers are building a stronger, better protected and smarter electric infrastructure, improving reliability and resiliency, and preparing the grid for cleaner energy options and a lower carbon future.

Bright days ahead for the lineworking field

As Duke Energy modernizes the grid and integrates new technologies to better serve customers, the need for a skilled workforce is rapidly growing. Lineworkers play an integral role in a more efficient, more reliable digital grid.

“People remain our most important asset, and we can’t move forward with our progressive smart grid plans without our lineworkers,” said Batson. “Electric utility work is a rewarding career path that also provides a valuable service to our communities.”

Graduates of lineworker training programs at local community colleges are ideal candidates for roles at Duke Energy. These new professionals possess a desirable skill set and knowledge to set them up for success in their new career. While the program costs may vary from school to school, many programs offer state or local funding to cover some or all tuition costs.

Individuals interested in a career as an electric Lineworker with Duke Energy should contact community colleges directly for more information on their specific lineworker training programs, including available funding for tuition.

Aglow with appreciation

The week of April 18, Duke Energy will be sharing special stories in appreciation of lineworkers. Make sure to follow @DukeEnergy and visit facebook.com/DukeEnergy.

Those who wish to honor lineworkers and their families for National Lineworker Appreciation Day are encouraged to use the hashtag #ThankALineworker on social media. 

Lineworker b-roll and photography

B-roll video of storm prep and winter storm power restoration efforts

High-resolution photos of winter storm power restoration work

Lineworker soundbites


Duke Energy

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Media contact: Logan Kureczka