During the week of November 7, 2016, sixteen employees from MacLean Power Systems attended lineman school in Denton, Texas. This was Phase II of the training put together by NAAUD (North American Association of Utility Distributors).

Preparing for Phase II
Prior to participating in Phase II, Phase I online course materials and three tests needed to be completed and passed. Phase II was 3-1/2 days on-site with instruction by 2 linemen who have been in the industry for 30+ years combined. During the 3-1/2 days, there was hands-on training, teaching by the linemen and watching instructional videos through the lineman channel.

Phase II – Days One and Two
The week started with a basic tour of the campus and a safety briefing. The team then broke into four groups to start building a distribution line. This included four poles that needed to be constructed based on four different engineering prints. Each pole was a different configuration using components such as distribution insulators, crossarms, and different size bolts and hardware. Once the poles were constructed, later in training day three, teams worked together to learn to string three different sizes of conductor as well as a ground wire. One of the participants commented that he loved seeing the “actual application of products.” The wire was then tied into learning and training on the different methods. See Figure 1.

Another hands-on activity was installing a single-phase transformer to already semi-constructed distribution line. This involved connecting in the transformer through the cutout and arrester (already mounted) and connecting to a doll house. Once connected with the cutout open, a voltage was then applied. To connect the circuit, the cutout was closed and, if completed properly, the light would turn on in the doll house. See Figure 2. 

Included in the program was training and a demonstration on equipment and safety precautions a lineman wears. When working a distribution line, the linemen wear primary gloves. When wearing these gloves, the pointer finger becomes useless and requires creative ways for the lineman to learn to install hardware on components. In addition to primary gloves, full sleeves are required. One of the participants commented that he “learned the difficulty of the job linemen do, especially considering conditions they work in (on a pole, significant PPE, wind, and so on) and MPS can make their job easier with products we produce.”

The day progressed with learning about underground components and enclosures in the field as well as hands-on. In the field, it was a small neighborhood set-up. The team learned how the cable goes underground to different enclosures and eventually to the house. In the classroom, participants learned how to make an elbow connection by stripping a conductor to proper specification and adding the elbow fitting. It was eye opening for the team to understand the number of steps it took to complete this connection.

Phase II – Bucket Truck Ride
At the end of day two, the team was given an added-bonus of riding in a bucket truck. See Figure 3. Everyone who wanted to had the opportunity to go up individually in the bucket truck with full safety gear. It was a good learning experience to understand how much extra movement there is from the ground to 60 feet in the air with a bucket truck.

Phase II – Day Three
Day three included instruction with a scale model on grounding distribution lines for safe working conditions, a climbing demo by the instructors, hands-on trying to open and close a cutout with a stick 40 feet in the air, and a demonstration on power arcing using arc man. See Figures 4 and 5. Those going through the 15-week lineman college experience arc man on their graduation day.

Phase II – Final Day
The final day consisted of a full tour of a local substation off-site from the training facility. During the tour, the team learned how a substation works and the different components that are used in a substation. It was very instructional to learn how power is transformed to get to a proper voltage for a house. The team also constructed a three-phase transformer.

One of the participants mentioned that he learned about the “rotation of motors based on wiring a three-phase transformer.” In the afternoon, the team worked together to build a three-pole transmission line with post insulators. The conductor was then attached and the team added armor rod to the conductor. See Figure 6.

The training concluded with being able to climb a 140-foot transmission tower, for those who wanted to. See Figure 7. A participant mentioned that this was his favorite part of the training.

Everyone came away with a deeper knowledge of a lineman’s daily life. A participant commented, “The training itself was eye-opening with regards to actual products used.” No matter what the team was challenged with learning, from building transformers to climbing a transmission tower, participants learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed their linemen view for the week.

Figure 1. Team attaching a crossarm to a distribution pole.

Figure 2. Closing a cutout.

Figure 3. Team members in two separate bucket trucks.

Figure 4. Instructor demonstrating pole climbing.

Figure 5. Arc man during a power arc demonstration.

Figure 6. Transmission line assembly.

Figure 7. Transmission tower that was climbed.